Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, a type of carbohydrate that is similar to sugar but has fewer calories. It is naturally occurring in some fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms, but it is also produced commercially from wood pulp or corncobs. Xylitol has a sweet taste that is about 60-70% as sweet as sucrose (table sugar).
Xylitol has a number of health benefits, including:
- Reduces the risk of tooth decay. Xylitol is not fermented by the bacteria that cause tooth decay, so it can help to prevent the formation of cavities.
- May help to improve gut health. Xylitol is a prebiotic, which means that it feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut. This can help to improve digestion and boost the immune system.
- May help to prevent ear infections. Xylitol can help to reduce the growth of bacteria in the middle ear, which can help to prevent ear infections.
- May help to control blood sugar levels. Xylitol is a low-calorie sweetener that does not raise blood sugar levels as much as sugar. This makes it a good choice for people with diabetes or prediabetes.
Xylitol is generally safe for most people to consume, but it can cause some side effects in some people, such as diarrhea and gas. It is important to start with small amounts of xylitol and gradually increase your intake to avoid these side effects.
Please note that xylitol is toxic to dogs and can cause insulin release in humans when consumed in large amounts. Therefore, it’s important to use xylitol in moderation.