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I am often asked, “What is xylitol?” from my readers. I am about to use it in another recipe; therefore, I wanted to explain more about it prior to publishing the recipe. I enjoy xylitol, as it tastes just like sugar! Plus, it is proven to prevent cavities and even heal teeth. However, if you have corn allergies you’ll need to know which brands to purchase. I hope you find this information useful.
UPDATE / WARNING: Xylitol, even in very tiny amounts, is highly toxic to animals. It is absorbed into their bloodstream within 30 minutes.
What is xylitol?
Xylitol is a natural sugar-free sweetener. Unlike stevia, it is not bitter. And unlike stevia, it is easy to introduce into your diet without severe bloating, etc. All you have to do is introduce into your diet slowly.
Xylitol is found in many different products: gum, toothpaste, mints, jams, crystals, and in powder form (as a substitute for powdered sugar).
Low Glycemic Index
Xylitol it is low on the gylcemic index. The brand I am currently using, Xylo Sweet (switching to a birch derived one soon), only is 7 on the glycemic index (sugar is 85-100), and is not metabolized without insulin.
How to cook with xylitol
You can use it in any baked good, sauce, etc. Heating does not affect it. Though it will not help yeast rise as it does not contain the same properties as sugar, agave syrup, etc. It is also not advised to use in large amounts in cold drinks such as Kool-Aide. What I do is make hot tea, add the xylitol, then add ice. In other uses: coffee, baking, etc., use it just like you would table sugar.
From what is xylitol made?
I just discovered that xylitol is usually derived from corn cobs or from birch trees. As most of you know, I am not big on corn, unless it is in small amounts and it is GMO-free. I have been using one brand, Xlear XyloSweet which they state is “Made of a naturally-occurring substance found in fruits and vegetables like plums, strawberries, and corn.” There’s that “corn” word again. Most corn is GMO (genetically modified organisms). How much, if any, corn they use, is unknown. This brand contains 1/3 of the calories of sugar, with a glycemic index of 7 (anything under 55 is considered low), but contains zero carbohydrates! Table sugar is 65 on the glycemic index and 1 teaspoon contains about 4 grams of carbs.
Brands of xylitol derived from birch
Meanwhile, my search for a xylitol derived from birch began, and I immediately found one, and it was GMO-free! The brand is Smart Sweet. For 1 teaspoon, both brands contain 9.6 calories, and the same amount of carbs. I am assuming the glycemic index is also the same, though they do not note it. I’m sold! Birch xylitol it is! I found it at Global Sweet. You’ll find it at other online stores, as well.
One site stated that their Xyla was derived from birch. I assumed Xyla was a brand and searched for a good price on one, but it is actually another term used for xylitol, all short for xylan. I discovered this by watching the process video on how Xyla by Emerald Forest is made, and discovered it is derived from corn. Watch the below video.
UPDATE: However, there is a brand named Xyla, which is derived from birch.
So, this holiday season or next summer’s bikini season (haven’t worn one of those in decades!), reach for birch dervied xylitol instead of sugar! Using xylitol helped me lose 10 lbs. recently!
Happy upcoming holidays!