Xylitol Vs. Sugar, Is There Really a Winner?

Xylitol vs. Sugar.  In a face-off, which sweetener wins?  Which would you choose?

Let’s get real.  Everyone likes something sweet from time to time.  When you get ready to satisfy your sweet tooth, finding an option generally does not pose a challenge.  Sugar is fairly easy to find.  Yet, it is not the only option.  There are a long list of sugar substitutes now.  Some are better than others.  One of the more common is xylitol.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol, pronounced, “Zi-li-tall”, is a commonly used sugar substitute.  If you have never tried it, you really are missing out.  It is sweet.  But is not a sugar as we often think about sugar.  Comparing xylitol vs. sugar, there are some ironic similarities.  Initially it may seem there are more similarities than differences.  Observing a bowl of sugar and a bowl of xylitol does not highlight any obvious differences.  However, that is where it ends.

Rather than being a sugar, xylitol is a sugar alcohol.  What appears as only a slight difference in name equals a significant difference in function.  Xylitol may look and taste like sugar in a bowl, but the response in the body is significantly different.  Here’s how;

xylitol vs. sugar

xylitol vs. sugar

Sugar:

  • Promotes dental cavity formation
  • Increases risk of diabetes
  • Reduces immune function

Xylitol:

  • Prevents dental cavity formation (eating this sugar substitute can improve your teeth)
  • Decreases risk of diabetes
  • Reduces symptoms of sinus congestion and pressure.

Xylitol vs. Sugar: Source Matters

In the battle of xylitol vs. sugar, xylitol appears the obvious winner.  Not so fast!  Not all xylitol is the same.  You must know where your xylitol comes from.  If you don’t, just assume you are not getting a good source.  I assume this will leave you asking what is a good source.

As is true too often in the food industry, telling you where a food comes from is often not shared.  Of course, anytime I have the opportunity to identify the source, I will.  What most sources of xylitol don’t want you to know is that they derive it from corn.  More specifically, genetically modified corn.  This is the same corn that contains toxic chemicals used in the farming industry like glyphosate and atrazine.

Don’t worry.  There is a suitable alternative source; hardwood trees.  Hardwood trees are an excellent source of xylitol without the chemicals.  While they are not the most available option, hardwood sources of xylitol are not difficult to find.  Nearly all of the hardwood sources state this on the packaging.  They are proud that their xylitol is not genetically modified.

The NEW (and Definitive) Reason to Consider Xylitol

Of all the information that I have given you about xylitol, here is one clear reason that it wins in the xylitol vs. sugar battle.  Sugar comes from 3 sources.  They are corn, sugar beets and sugar cane.  All 3 sources are heavily sprayed with toxic chemicals.  Therefore, the hands-down number one reason to avoid sugar is the poison you are eating.  All of the negative effects that are often associated with sugar like weight gain and increased body fat are all made worse because of the toxic chemicals.

Is Xylitol Too Good to be True?

Yes, xylitol is too good to be true.  As with nearly all things, if you consume it in excess, it will have a negative effect.  Here are 2 concerns to have when using xylitol.

  • I was at a seminar in Florida in February of 2006 the first time I experienced this.  Clearly it made an impression since I can recall the date so well.  At the back of the room was a pitcher of xylitol sweetened lemonade.  I had never tried it, so I had a glass.  Around mid morning I wanted a snack, so I grabbed a xylitol sweentened bar since it was the only thing available.  When I say I wish I had never eaten that bar, I wish I had thrown it in the trash as soon as I saw it.  By lunch time, I was doubled over in pain with the worst abdominal cramps ever.  What’s the lesson?  Don’t overeat xylitol.  It can cause severe abdominal cramping and diarrhea.
  • I feed my dogs their natural diet just the same as I eat chemical free, natural food.  That means they never eat anything sweet, including xylitol.  Xylitol is toxic to dogs and other animals.  Avoid it.

 

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