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January 2011 | Newsletter archives

Sweet on Xylitol
By Samantha Grant, CN

Xylitol is a naturally occurring carbohydrate found in fibrous vegetables and fruit. It also occurs naturally in our bodies – in fact, an average size adult manufactures up to 15 grams of Xylitol daily during normal metabolism. Pure Xylitol is a white crystalline substance that looks and tastes like sugar, and has been used in foods since the 1960s. It has 2.4 calories per gram, and it's great for cooking and baking.

The 411

Xylitol is slowly absorbed and partially used by the body so it reduces your daily caloric intake. In fact, the body doesn't require insulin to metabolize Xylitol, making it a good sweetener for a diabetic diet.

With its reduced calorie count, it's also good for your waistline. It won't raise your blood sugar like regular sugar. It also won't break down with heat making it the perfect choice for just about any recipe that calls for sugar.

Combating the sugar epidemic
Each year, an individual consumes approximately 68.5 pounds of sugar. Sugars and refined carbohydrates can pose real dangers in your diet, with excessive amounts causing hypoglycemia, weight gain, obesity and diabetes. It can raise blood pressure, triglycerides and elevate bad cholesterol levels, all of which increase the risk of heart disease. It has also been well-documented that children who consume too much sugar can have learning difficulties as well as problems concentrating.

Medical benefits
In addition to tasting good and acting as an ideal supplement to sugar, Xyitol also helps build your immunity system, protect against chronic disease and even has been known to have anti-aging benefits. In addition, it can help clear nasal passages, reducing germs, pollutants and irritants. It may even prevent ear infections, and be a potent topical solution in lowering intraocular pressure, thus helping decrease incidents of glaucoma.

Xylitol also prevents bacteria from sticking to teeth, protecting against tooth decay and leading to healthier teeth.

All of which leads to an inescapable conclusion: if you're concerned about your health, you should be sweet on Xylitol.