Do you feel like your sweet tooth is adversely affecting your health? We all love to sprinkle sugar on our cereals and add a teaspoon or two of it to a cup of tea, but sugar, except for in very small amounts, is anything but good for our health. Plus, even if you don’t add sugar to your meals or beverages, you’ll find unhealthy doses of it in plenty of your favourite snacks and ready meals.
Unfortunately, tasty as it is, sugar can raise your blood pressure and cause tooth decay as well as health conditions ranging from liver and heart disease to diabetes. So, is there any way we can still enjoy the sweetness of sugar without having to add any more of it than necessary to our diets? Xylitol may be the answer.
What Is Xylitol?
Xylitol, a substance that’s characterised as a sugar alcohol, is found in many vegetables and fruits. In fact, our bodies even produce it in small amounts through natural metabolism, which makes it a natural substance. You’ll find xylitol in snacks such as sugar-free chewing gum, mints and candies, and because it’s been linked to improved dental health, it now appears in many oral healthcare products. It’s also a common ingredient in diabetes-friendly foods.
Xylitol contains 40 percent less calories than sugar, yet it tastes almost exactly the same because of how it stimulates the sweet taste receptors on our tongues. While it doesn’t contain vitamins or nutrients and can therefore be considered to contain empty calories, it doesn’t pose any danger to human health. Plus, even though it’s classed as a sugar alcohol, it’s perfectly safe for alcoholics because it has nothing in common with the alcohol brewed for regular consumption as a beverage.
The Health Benefits of Xylitol
We’ve mentioned that xylitol doesn’t contain nutrients or vitamins, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a part of a healthy diet thanks to its many associated health benefits.
Xylitol has been documented to have many medical purposes. It’s been used as an anti-diarrheal, antimicrobial, diuretic, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour. However, it’s most common and historical use has been to treat diabetes because it supports the regulation of insulin and blood sugar.
Xylitol doesn’t cause tooth decay, so if you’re tyring to boost your oral hygiene but don’t want to give up your favourite desserts or sweetened drinks and meals, switching to xylitol is a good idea. This natural sweetener has also been linked to decreased ear infections, better sinus health and improved bone density. Perhaps best of all for most people, xylitol is an excellent ingredient for losing weight.
Sugar-Free Desserts with Xylitol
Xylitol can be used as a substitute for sugar in just about any recipe that doesn’t need sugar to break down into liquid form. Here are some of our favourite sugar-free deserts with xylitol:
- Matcha Pistachio Yogurt
- Strawberry Coconut Moose
- Cookie Dough Bites
- Coconut Tahini Bliss Balls
- Sugar-Free Nutella
- Chocolate Fudge Spread
- Banana Ice-Cream
- Swiss Rolls
- Lemon Cheesecake
In addition to being found in meals, xylitol is available to purchase as a pure ingredient. So, if you want to make a simple change that could work wonders for your diet and health without having to give up the sweet and tasty foods you love, then you should consider replacing sugar with xylitol.