Since I have been using Xyla, and recommending it on this blog, I thought I should research it more. You know, so that I’m not suggesting the use of some ghastly chemical (need I say aspartame?) But no, after much research, xylitol is not a chemical.
So let me tell you about Xylitol. Xylitol is a natural occurring sugar in fruits, vegetables and TREES. Yes, Xylitol is derived from trees. In the U.S., mostly birch trees. It is good for your teeth (unlike sugar) because it is a type of sugar that doesn’t ferment, which is what causes cavities in the mouth. It has actually been shown to have dental benefits because it lowers the bacteria in the mouth. It also stabilizes insulin and possesses 40% less food energy. It is absorbed slower than sugar, so it does not cause an insulin reaction. It is also beneficial to hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and people at an increased risk for blood clots. It is absorbed as a complex carbohydrate instead of as sugar. Many people actually use xylitol in homemade toothpaste, because of it’s ability to help promote healthy teeth.
In studies in rats, xylitol has been shown to increase the activity of neutrophils, the white blood cells that fight disease. A recent study shows that xylitol might actually decrease yeast, as opposed to sugar which increases it. The one negative I could find is studies in dogs are conflicting, some showing high dosages to be harmful, others showing no problems. I would say that if you are using xylitol in a recipe, don’t share it with your dog unless it’s a minuscule amount (like a tablespoon in a loaf of bread but not flan). In humans, studies have shown that if a person were to just eat copious amounts the only possible reaction would be as a mild laxative.
After doing the research, I am thrilled to have found xylitol and will continue to buy it and use it. It will also keep me from sharing dessert with my dogs!