14 March 2007

Good news for Sweet Tooths

Well here's a topic to interest everyone. Now, I love sweet things. But we all know the evils of those little white crystals that taste just so good. So this month I'm giving you some information on a natural alternative which is safe and actually good for you rather than bad for you. "Bring on the cake!" I say.

There is a safe substitute to refined sugar, a naturally occurring sweetener called xylitol.Pure xylitol is a white, crystalline, natural substance that looks and tastes like sugar. Its sweetness is equal to sugar, but contains 40% fewer calories and 75% fewer carbohydrates than sugar. Xylitol has been proven in clinical testing to dramatically reduce the incidence of cavities, plaque formation and kills the germs that cause bad breath. The positive effects of xylitol appear to long lasting.

Although xylitol tastes and looks exactly like sugar, that is where the similarities end. While sugar wreaks havoc on the body, xylitol heals and repairs. It also builds immunity, protects against chronic degenerative disease and has anti-aging benefits. Xylitol is considered a five-carbon sugar, which means it is an antimicrobial, preventing the growth of bacteria. While sugar is acid forming, xylitol is alkaline enhancing. All other forms of sugar, including sorbitol, another popular alternative sweetener, are six-carbon sugars which feed dangerous bacteria.

Xylitol is available as crystals and can be used instead of sugar in cooking and baking
Over 1500 scientific studies have found that the more you use xylitol, the more you can eliminate sugar cravings, reduce insulin levels and alkalinise your body. It's a great aid on the way to good health and long life. Alternatives like xylitol will help you free your mind and body from the tyranny of sugar and shake off the exhaustion, mental fogginess, and mood swings that sugar dependence causes.

Xylitol, as a sugar substitute, has the following advantages:

  • Xylitol has a pleasant taste with refreshing cool sensation and no after-taste
  • Xylitol has sweetness equal to that of sucrose.
  • Xylitol is versatile and has good functional properties in many applications
  • Xylitol reduces calorie utilisation by as much as 40% for the same sweetness and function. This helps to keep the overall diet within the guidelines of the expert panel
  • With correct Xylitol dosage, carbohydrate tolerance is increased. This means that carbohydrate cravers are not as likely to go on a Xylitol binge. Xylitol has a very low glycemic index (which rates carbohydrates according to their impact on blood sugar). This means a slow, steady release of energy.
  • Small Xylitol doses stabilize the metabolic situation in unstable diabetics.
  • Xylitol has antiketogenic properties, i.e., it prevents or inhibits the formation of ketone bodies (serum free fatty acid levels).
  • Xylitol is noncariogenic (i.e., prevents tooth decay) as well as anticariogenic (i.e., inhibits tooth decay).
  • Xylitol is natural - our bodies produce up to 15 grams of Xylitol from other food sources using established energy pathways.
  • Xylitol is safe and there are no known harmful effects on the central nervous system, hormones, or neurotransmitters.
  • Xylitol increases the absorption of B-vitamins and calcium
  • Xylitol is good for teeth - diabetes is often associated with higher rates of tooth loss

Studies show that 4 to 12 grams of Xylitol per day are very effective. It is not necessary to use more than 15 grams per day as higher intakes yield diminishing dental benefits. Xylitol needs to be used at least three, and preferably 5 times every day.