It is widely known that refined sugar is one of the worst foods you can eat. However, when choosing a healthier sugar alternative, you have to be cautious as many of the options available at the moment labeled ‘natural’ may actually be worse for you than the real thing.
When it comes to healthy sweetener, one of the first things you need to consider is if it fully exists in nature. Xylitol is a natural substance found in fibrous fruit and vegetables, corn cobs and many hardwood trees like birch. Moreover, xylitol is also a natural substance that often occurs in the human glucose metabolism.
It’s been documented since the 1970s, that when used regularly, healthy xylitol sugar can help prevent tooth decay. Recent surveys also confirm the many dental benefits associated with this sugar substitute. It has been reported that in addition to preventing bacterial growth, xylitol also helps to remineralize teeth that already have started to decay. Because xylitol has abilities to induce remineralization of tooth enamel, scientists are also investigating its ability to remineralize bone tissue. Although some studies in animals have shown that xylitol enhances bone density, clinical trials are needed to confirm this potential benefits.
But the benefits of healthy xylitol sugar don’t stop there. Because it is slowly digested and only about 50% of it is absorbed by the body, it has insignificant effects on blood sugar and insulin secretion, hence it benefits those with diabetes and metabolic syndrome. And this healthy sugar substitute can also inhibit the growth of Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae), the main cause of sinusitis and middle ear infections. Due to its unique structure, xylitol also has the ability to interfere with S.pneumoniae’s ability to attach to tissues and develop colonies of bacteria called biofilms, making the germ more vulnerable to treatment.
Although xylitol is usually well tolerated, when consumed in large quantities, it can cause digestive side effects in some people. These side effects include gas, bloating and diarrhea. However, the majority seems to adjust to it very well. The daily recommended dosage of xylitol sugar is no more than 400 grams. This will avoid negative side effects.
In addition, healthy xylitol sugar contains 40% fewer calories than refined sugar and can be used to replace sugar in baking, cooking or as a sweetener for beverages. While sugar can cause many metabolic consequences, xylitol heals and repairs and even builds immunity and protects against chronic degenerative diseases. All these prove that xylitol is definitely a healthy sugar substitute.