Sugar substitutes continue to grow in popularity everywhere. Many people are looking for alternative ways to replace sugar in everything from baking to beverages, as well as companies manufacturing products such as chewing gum or toothpaste.
Stevia has been one of the most popular healthy alternatives choices for sweeteners but Xylitol is not too far behind and has also made an impact on the sugar market.
Xylitol has been used as a sugar substitute for many years. Xylitol is the alcohol form of xylose and has less effect on blood sugar or insulin levels compared with sucrose. A useful sugar substitute for diabetics, xylitol can also inhibit the growth of several types of bacteria, including those that cause tooth decay and ear infections.
Xylitol occurs naturally in straw, corncobs, fruit, vegetables, cereals, mushrooms, and some seaweed. For use in food manufacturing, xylitol is extracted from birch wood chips. Xylitol may be found in many foods labeled as “sugar-free,” including hard candies, cookies, soft drinks, and throat lozenges. Xylitol is recognized as a safe food additive by the U.S. government.
In addition, xylitol has been used in chewing gum products because of its ability to help cleaning up teeth, decreasing tooth decay and dental plaque acid production. Scientific research has showed that regular use of xylitol may reduce dental cavities by as much as 80% and may prevent gingivitis as well. Most of xylitol sugar-free products will help keeping a fresh breath, and it will actually work whitening and protecting your teeth as you chew.
Natural toothpastes have also been utilizing xylitol to promote a cooling and moisturizing effect on a dry mouth, while natural ingredients, such as mint and cinnamon, can add a refreshing flavor.
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