X is for Xylitol

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NUTRITION TIP THURSDAY

X | Xylitol


by Lindsey Herr

Xylitol can be a scary word...sounds scientific and has too many letters close to the end of the alphabet!

What is it?

Sugar alcohol. It is called an alcohol because of its chemical structure and its ability to taste sweet like sugar. (It is not the same as the alcohol we drink.) It can be found naturally in fruits and vegetables so it is considered to be a natural product - however, the extraction process is not natural. Since is is so refined, it is an empty calorie. Xylitol is commonly used in dental products and chewing gum.

How does it differ from sugar?

Xylitol has 2.4 calories/gram and sugar has 4 calories/gram, so it has a lower glycemic effect than sugar (how quickly our blood sugar is affected). Xylitol goes almost completely undigested by the body. Because of this it is best not to consume in large amounts as it can lead to digestive problems, like gas and bloating. 

Sugar alcohols are used as a substitute for people watching their sugar intake. Other sugar alcohols include erythritol, sorbitol, and mannitol.  It is lower in calories and does not spike blood sugar like regular table sugar!

Caution:

Dogs should not have xylitol! Be careful where you place your sugar replacement because it could severely harm your little furry pal!


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