Xylitol and Diabetes

For many diabetics, finding the right sugar supplement is vital in monitoring and maintaining proper blood glucose levels. Artificial sweeteners for cold drinks, coffee, and pastries can be used in order to allocate the desired effect similar to that of real, natural sugar.

Xylitol, a 100% natural product, is an ideal solution for anyone looking to supplement natural sugar. Though it’s a naturally occurring sweetener, Xylitol is not a sugar. It can be found in berries, fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, lettuce, hardwoods, and corncobs.

Xylitol also occurs in our bodies naturally, up to 15 grams is produced daily in an average adult, occurring naturally and normally in everyday metabolism. The following are reasons why diabetics should consider using xylitol.

Xylitol is Natural

Xylitol is not an artificial chemical like aspartame, sucralose and Splenda®. Deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1986, it has also shown to posses added benefits. Other than being a sugar free sweetener, it also reduces oral acid production, benefiting tooth decay prevention.

Xylitol can also help prevent and cure nasal infections.  In a medical study, using a nasal spray prepared with xylitol helped clear infections in children. Other research in Finland has also found that 8 grams of xylitol taken every day (orally) will prevent up to 40% ear infections in kids.

Xylitol Doesn’t Interfere with Insulin

Yet other than being good for dental health, xylitol is an excellent sugar-free sweetener for diabetics. Having a low glycemic index of 7 which (opposed to regular sugar which has a glycemic index of 100), xylitol is a low glycemic sweetener that is slowly absorbed by the body and, considering it does not use the insulin pathway, it is metabolized independently of insulin.

Controlling blood glucose, lipids and weight are some of the primary goals of diabetics. Xylitol won’t cause dramatic increase in blood sugar levels or serum insulin responses, and contains low calories per gram (2.4), helping with controlling weight.

Though excessive consumption of xylitol may cause diarrhea, there are little to no known side effects, however, it has the highest digestive tolerance of all sugar alcohols. Xylitol can be bought in sugar form and can be purchased as chewing products, such as gum or mints. One such brand of xylitol is Xyless in a sweetener form.