Categories
Healthcare

Xylitol – sugar substitute, properties and application

Birch sugar, known primarily as xylitol, belongs to the group of sweeteners of natural origin. This sugar substitute has been gaining wider recognition among consumers for several years. 

The use of xylitol was initially recommended to people suffering from diabetes. Currently, birch sugar is often chosen as a substitute for sugar refined also by healthy people who strive to reduce weight and want to avoid developing type II diabetes. Xylitol also has several other interesting pro-health properties. 

__

Here you can find sweeteners – CLICK 

__

Sugar alcohol from the 19th century 

Xylitol belongs to the group of sugar alcohols. In terms of physico-chemical properties and taste values, it is very similar to sucrose. Birch sugar was produced in the 19th century from birch bark, hence the name. Currently, mainly maize is used for the production of xylitol. 

Pros and cons of xylitol use 

Xylitol does not cause a rapid increase in the level of glucose in the blood. The metabolism of birch sugar takes place with insignificant share of insulin. Xylitol contains 37% fewer calories compared to sucrose. 100 g of xylitol contains 243 calories (kcal), while 100 g of sugar contains 387 calories (kcal). Birch sugar is ideal for people suffering from impaired glucose tolerance and those seeking to reduce body weight. Birch sugar has bactericidal properties – it helps in the prevention and treatment of gingivitis and caries. Consumption of xylitol may promote the destruction of dental plaque. Sucrose is converted to acids, so it promotes caries. This type of chemical transformation does not occur in the case of xylitol. According to recent studies, birch sugar promotes the absorption of calcium, and thus indirectly improves bone mineralization. The use of xylitol may be part of the prevention of osteopenia and osteoporosis. In contrast to sucrose, birch sugar is not conducive to the development of fungi and yeasts. 

Although xylitol has many health-promoting properties (more of which you can read further in the article), you can not consume it in unlimited quantities. It is recommended to consume no more than 15 g of birch sugar, which corresponds to about 3 teaspoons. Excessive intake of this product may cause diarrhea. The downside of xylitol is that the body is not used to digesting it – there is no inventory of enzymes that digest birch sugar. He produces them only when needed. Therefore, you should not take the maximum dose immediately, just start with the smallest amounts. One needs only a few days to adapt to digesting xylitol. 

It will help, but it will not solve the problem for you 

Birch sugar does not solve the problem of the need to consume a lot of sweets during the day. The average consumer fond of sweets eats about 80 grams of white sugar (in the form of sucrose and finished processed products). Not immediately, 15 g of xylitol is enough for the body. Therefore, one must prepare for the test of strong will, or gradually reduce the sugar by introducing xylitol in the menu. The disadvantage of xylitol is its higher price than sugar. You can buy it in health food stores, in selected online stores, but also in some retail chains. 

Semi-synthetic – sweetener and ingredient of the product 

According to the EU classification, xylitol belongs to semi-synthetics that can be used in the food industry in the form of sweetener and as a component of products. The birch sugar appears on labels under the designation E967. Xylitol is used to produce articles such as 

– toothpastes 

– sweets with reduced sugar content / no sugar 

– light products (e.g. yoghurts) 

– Chewing Gum 

– medicines 

– products for athletes 

Producers belonging to the food and pharmaceutical industries use xylitol not only because of health-promoting properties but also technological ones. Birch sugar works well as a stabilizer, emulsifier, thickener and a humectant. 

Xylitol has been marketed as a product used directly by consumers as a sweetener for beverages and for baking – it is resistant to high temperatures. 

Production of xylitol – birch or corn sugar? 

Xylitol is found in fruits and vegetables. On an industrial scale, it was initially produced from birch bark subjected to the hydrolysis process. Currently, the traditional way of producing birch sugar is used only by a Finnish producer. The leading producer of xylitol on a global scale remains China. Chinese producers produce xylitol from corn using the work of microorganisms. Corn cobs are subjected to chemical processes to extract xylans from them. In the next stage of xylitol production, xylans are fermented in the presence of yeast or bacteria. 

Glycemic index of xylitol and pro-health properties 

When assessing whether a sugar substitute is better than sucrose, two criteria are usually considered – calorific value and IG. We have already written about calories. In terms of the glycemic index, in turn, only 13, which places it in products with very low GI (the index of sugar is 70, and glucose 100). The use of birch sugar more effectively supports weight loss and fat reduction than the use of other substitutes. 

Xylitol helps in the prevention of caries, for example because it inhibits the growth of bacteria, such as streptococcus mutans, and restores the acid-base balance in the mouth. Birch sugar also stimulates the secretion of saliva, which has bactericidal properties. Xylitol has an inhibitory effect on the growth of microorganisms that cause inflammation of the middle ear. At the same time, it is a prebiotic beneficial to the intestinal microflora. It can be used to treat candidiasis as a natural agent that inhibits yeast growth of Candida albicans. 

Xylitol reduces protein glycation and AGE levels – this is important for diabetics seeking to compensate for diabetes. Birch sugar is gradually transformed into glucose and glycogen, so it works perfectly well as a component that regenerates energy reserves of muscles after exercise. It is worth combining xylitol with green tea and vitamin C – thus increasing the bioavailability of catechins, which are valued antioxidants. 

Substitute not for everyone 

Birch sugar brings many health benefits, but it is not a product for everyone. People who have irritable bowel syndrome should avoid it with a wide arch. Their digestive system does not tolerate short-chain carbohydrates, which include xylitol. Birch sugar should not be given to children under 3 years of age. 

__

You can read also: Sugar – yes or no?

Categories
Healthcare

Xylitol – a healthy alternative to sugar

Healthy nutrition consists of m.in. on making the right choices, replacing poor quality and unhealthy products with their better counterparts. Weakness to sweet taste is the proverbial Achilles heel of many, even very determined people. Often plans aimed at changing the diet, or specifically – reduction of excess body fat, are abandoned, precisely because of difficulties with inhibition of the desire for sweet foods. Xylitol – a sweetener of natural origin, which apart from sweetness has other beneficial properties, may be helpful in this situation. 

__

Here you can find sweeteners – CLICK 

__

What is xylitol? 

Xylitol, also called birch sugar, is a sugar alcohol, a substance naturally occurring in nature (eg in fibrous and woody parts of some plants, including – popular vegetables and fruits). This relationship was discovered at the end of the 19th century. Interest in xylitol is associated with quite interesting properties that make it an excellent alternative to table sugar. 

How is it different from ordinary sugar? 

Although it has a taste and appearance similar to sucrose, one can risk the statement that xylitol is simply devoid of sucrose. Metabolism of birch sugar occurs independently of insulin, which makes it particularly recommended for diabetics and slimming people. An additional advantage is the low energy value, 1g of this compound provides only 2.4 kcal, while the same amount of sucrose is 4 kcal

__

You can read also: Sugar – yes or no?

Categories
Healthcare

What to choose sugar or sweetener?

There is no doubt that the abuse of table sugar and sugared products can quickly lead to problems with health and excessive body weight. For many years, we have been looking for an alternative to popular sucrose, which would have its advantages (sweet taste), and whose consumption would not bring negative consequences. 

__

Here you can find some sweeteners – CLICK

__

For some time now, synthetic and natural substances called circulatory sweeteners have been growing in popularity, the most popular of which are aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sodium saccharin, sucralose, and more recently also xylitol and stevia. Unfortunately, more and more often talk about the potential risks associated with their consumption, which according to selected sources can be even greater than those resulting from the use of sugar.

Countless contradictory data often creates a kind of chaos, and in the informational noise it is difficult to make unambiguous conclusions. Therefore, in this article I will try to answer the question about what drinks are best sweetened, and I will also refer to several popular circulating theories regarding the health consequences of using sugar and other sweeteners.

A lot is said about the fact that sugar is needed for us to function properly, it is mentioned that it adds energy, improves brain function etc. Of course, the nervous system requires constant delivery of certain doses of glucose, but it does not mean that it will work better if we will sweeten more. In fact, the daily demand of the brain for glucose can be fully satisfied by eating a solid bowl of oatmeal with fruit for breakfast, and in the next meals without consuming carbohydrates anymore! And if necessary, the body is able to produce an additional portion of sugar from non-sugar sources in a process called gluconeogenesis. The situation is similar in the case of physical effort. A sweet candy bar can give us energy during a long-lasting effort such as running a marathon, and a walk in the park or a half-hour walk are no indication to consume extra carbohydrate doses, especially in refined form! 

The fact is that refined sugars hidden under the names such as sucrose, glucose-fructose syrup, as well as glucose itself and – considered to be dietetic – fructose are definitely undesirable components of our diet. Their regular consumption may lead to disturbances in insulin-glucose and lipid metabolism and dysregulation of mechanisms responsible for the control of appetite. As a result, we are more hungry, eat more and more often we feel like low-quality products, and also easier to succumb to culinary temptations. The result is not only the increase in body fat leading to overweight and obesity, but also an increased risk of diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, gout or some forms of cancer! 

__

You can read also: Artificial sweeteners are curing cancer?

Categories
Healthcare

Xylitol, a healthy alternative to sugar

Healthy nutrition consists of m.in. on making the right choices, replacing poor quality and unhealthy products with their better counterparts. Weakness to sweet taste is the proverbial Achilles heel of many, even very determined people. Often plans aimed at changing the diet, or specifically – reduction of excess body fat, are abandoned, precisely because of difficulties with inhibition of the desire for sweet foods. Xylitol – a sweetener of natural origin, which apart from sweetness has other beneficial properties, may be helpful in this situation. 

__

Here you can find some sweeteners – CLICK 

__

 

What is xylitol? 

Xylitol, also called birch sugar, is a sugar alcohol, a substance naturally occurring in nature (eg in fibrous and woody parts of some plants, including – popular vegetables and fruits). This relationship was discovered at the end of the 19th century. Interest in xylitol is associated with quite interesting properties that make it an excellent alternative to table sugar. 

How is it different from ordinary sugar? 

Although it has a taste and appearance similar to sucrose, one can risk the statement that xylitol is simply devoid of sucrose. Metabolism of birch sugar occurs independently of insulin, which makes it particularly recommended for diabetics and slimming people. An additional advantage is the low energy value, 1g of this compound provides only 2.4 kcal, while the same amount of sucrose is 4 kcal

__

You can read also:

Categories
Health & Beauty Healthcare

Xylitol or Stevia – which sweetener to choose?

Stevia and xylitol are low-calorie sweeteners that are an alternative to sugar. Their use is considered better for health and is less controversial than using aspartame, acesulfame-K or other intense sweeteners. Let’s take a closer look at these two probably the safest sweeteners.

 

Xylitol – sugar is not always birch

Xylitol is a five-carbon sweet polyhydric alcohol (so-called zircon). It is a substance of natural origin with a crystalline structure. It is obtained most often from birch wood or sometimes from maize. In fact, it is possible to obtain it from every plant, because xylitol is formed from xylans, or polysaccharides found in the cell walls of many plants. Xylitol is intended for people who for various reasons can not or should not use sugar, but do not want to give up sweetening. Those who are interested in are certainly weight-loss, athletes, people with diabetes, fungal infections, or people with progressive caries.

Finnish xylitol and Chinese xylitol?

The finished product most often looks like crushed sugar and it does not matter what its origin is. Among the leading countries in the production of xylitol definitely mention Finland and China. It has been assumed that xylitol coming from China will have worse quality, because it is used for the production of maize, often genetically modified. Danisco from Finland, whose “XIVIA” raw material is always made of birchwood, enjoys great appreciation. You can find xylitol with different thicknesses of crystals. It may resemble powdered sugar, but it may also look like coarse sugar. Tastes always like sucrose, and the only difference is the coolness in the mouth. It is 100% safe for health and clearly better than traditional sugar.

 

Thanks to the fact that xylitol produces in the body alkaline reaction is indicated at

tooth decay and gum disease;

dryness in the mouth (stimulates the secretion of saliva);

inflammation of the ear;

preventing the accumulation of putrefactive bacteria;

treatment of oral infections with candida;

in case of upper respiratory tract infections – antibacterial effect

helpful gastric hyperacidity.

 

What is stevia?

Stevia owes its sweetness to the presence of glycosides, which are about 30 to 320 times sweeter than sucrose. In the European Union, the sale of steviol glycosides (E960) was authorized in 2011 (Commission Regulation (EU) No 1131/2011 of November 11, 2011). In Paraguay it was already known more than 1000 years ago as a natural sweetener and healing substance. The presented sweetener is an alternative to sucrose and intense sweeteners. Stevia has all the desirable qualities that intense sweeteners have, but, unlike them, it has a vegetable origin. Stevia rebaudiana, from which sweeteners are obtained, has exceptionally sweet leaves. They are subjected to a drying process followed by extraction. The process then purifies the obtained extract using ion-exchange chromatography.At the end of the process, the purified extract undergoes a recrystallisation process. Due to the complexity of the process, the price of stevia is quite high. Sometimes the stevia form intended for sale contains various types of additives such as maltodextrin or glucose for a loose form.

Which sweetener will be the best?

Stevia, compared to xylitol, is much sweeter and has virtually zero calorific value. Xylitol will provide 2.4 kcal for each gram, which means it will need to be included in caloric calculations. Stevia is characterized by a complete lack of influence on the glycemic index of consumed beverages or meals. Xylitol may slightly increase the level of sugar. Both sweeteners are not sensitive to high temperature and are suitable, for example, for baking or cooking. Both sweeteners are safe for diabetics and do not damage teeth. Xylitol and stevia are obtained from plants. Xylitol can only be obtained in a crystalline form, and in cases of stevia the choice is very wide powder, tablets, crystals, liquid, sachets, dried leaves, leaf powder and even fresh leaves. As for the taste,this xylitol will certainly be more similar to the traditionally used sucrose. Stevia’s sweetness is no longer the same as sugar and some will not accept this taste. There is no doubt, however, that it is much healthier than sucrose.