Xylitol has been around for a long time, has some distinct advantages as a sweetener and is already used in many products, but it is still not well known amongst the general public.
Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweet carbohydrate with all the sweetness of cane or beet sugar but with 40% fewer calories and a GI of only 7, and it has minimal impact on blood sugar and insulin requirements.
However, xylitol is of limited use in baking as it inhibits yeast, and most brands may not be suitable for people with gluten sensitivity because they are derived from corn. However, one brand which is grain-free, being sourced exclusively from hardwood trees, is Smart Sweet. Details at: www.xylitol-brand-comparison.com
Sweetness is not xylitol's only strength. It also inhibits the type of bacteria that causes tooth decay and ear infections and there is already evidence that children who use xylitol chewing gum or syrup may get fewer ear infections.
Additionally, there is a xylitol nasal wash, which is claimed to aid relief of irritation caused by pollutants, allergens and infections of the nasal passages. 'Xlear' (pronounced ‘clear’) is a patented, non-addictive nasal wash that helps to bathe, hydrate and moisturise the nasal passages. For more details, see: http://www.xlear.co.uk/
Xylitol, however, should be kept well away from dogs, as it can cause serious and possibly life-threatening problems in canines.
Gum containing xylitol can be bought in many shops, and xylitol powder is available from super-markets or by mail order from Higher Nature 0800 458 4747 or www.highernature.co.uk.
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First Published in January 2007
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