For more than 30 years, Xylitol sweetener has been used as an all-natural additive to enhance the flavor of popular chewing gum and candies sold worldwide. In recent years, its use as a commercial ingredient has expanded globally.
In addition, demand for the natural sweetener has increased among health-conscious consumers looking for alternatives to traditional sugar and potentially dangerous artificially manufactured sweeteners.
Xylitol sweetener was first discovered by French and German chemists in the late 1800s.
It is classified as a sugar alcohol and naturally occurs in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables, including various berries, corn husks, oats, birch trees and mushrooms.
While the sweetening agent is considered a carbohydrate, it is slowly absorbed from the digestive tract and, as a result, does not cause rapid increases in blood glucose levels.
As a result, Xylitol is considered beneficial for those who need to limit and manage sugar intake. The natural sweetener also helps facilitate weight loss because it has 40 percent fewer calories than sugar.
In addition, research has indicated that the natural sweetening agent supports dental health because sugar alcohol cannot be utilized by bacteria in the mouth to promote tooth decay and oral disease.
It is also said to help reduce plaque and inhibit existing cavities from worsening.
Because of its ability to prevent bacteria growth, the sweetener’s natural properties are also thought to help reduce ear and upper respiratory infections.
Like most sugar alcohols, it can produce a mild laxative effect at high doses; yet, has no known toxicity. Xylitol in powder form can be purchased at health food stores in bulk or packaged in individual servings for convenience.