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Natural Sweeteners NATURAL SWEETENER

  • What is xylitol?

    Xylitol is one of a group of sugar substitutes known as polyols. Others in the same group include sorbitol and maltitol, which have 6 carbon structures (and can be metabolised by harmful bacteria). However, xylitol has a unique 5 carbon structure which is metabolised only by friendly bacteria. Xylitol is a sweetener that occurs naturally. It can be found in berries and other fruits, some vegetables and in the woody fibres of birch tree bark and corn cobs. It is even produced by the human body as a part of normal metabolism.

  • Where was xylitol discovered?

    Xylitol was discovered almost simultaneously by German and French chemists in the late 19th century. In the Soviet Union it has been used for decades as a sweetener for diabetics, and in Germany in solutions for intravenous feeding. In China, xylitol has been used for various medical purposes. It is now used in over 40 countries as a safe, natural and healthy alternative sweetener. It has been approved by FDA in the USA for over 25 years.

  • How is xylitol manufactured?

    Xylitol derives its name from xylan, meaning wood, and is manufactured from natural xylan-rich sources (biomass) such as birch tree bark, and corn fibre. Wood sugar (xylose) is extracted from the biomass, and the liquid wood sugar is then converted to pure crystalline xylitol.

  • How is xylitol metabolised in the body?

    Dietary xylitol is easily metabolised by the body. A small portion is slowly absorbed through the small intestine and carried in the portal blood supply to the liver, where it is converted to glucose. Because of the slowness of absorption, the majority of xylitol (approximately ¾ of that consumed) moves down to the lower intestine, there it is metabolised by friendly bacteria to short-chain fatty acids, which are mostly returned to the liver for oxidation, providing energy (2).

  • Is xylitol suitable for diabetics?

    Xylitol has a very low glycemic index of 7. Consumption of xylitol has a negligible to nil effect on blood glucose levels and insulin. It has been used for many years in the USA, former USSR, and Europe in the diabetic diet (2-4).

  • How does xylitol differ from other sweeteners?

    Xylitol is the only natural sugar substitute that has the same sweetening power and delicious taste of sucrose. It differs from other natural sweeteners such as sorbitol, fructose and glucose because the xylitol molecule has five, instead of six, carbon atoms. This means that it cannot be fermented by harmful mouth bacteria that cause tooth decay (1). xylitol differs from intense artificial sweeteners including aspartame, acesulfame-K and sucralose in that it has no adverse effects or bitter aftertaste.

  • Does xylitol have any aftertaste?

    Xylitol has no aftertaste at all. It has a nearly identical taste to sugar.

  • How much xylitol do I use in my tea or coffee?

    Xylitol is spoon for spoon as sweet as sugar in tea or coffee but many of our customers say they use a little less in their hot drinks.

  • What is the caloric value of xylitol?

    Xylitol has been analysed in the United States and Europe as having 2.4 kcal per gram, which is 40% less than table sugar.

  • Is xylitol safe for my pets?

    While xylitol has many health benefits for humans, xylitol is dangerous for your household pets.