In one word, sure! After reading heaps of articles on health, webmd and wikipedia regarding the various sweeteners (artificial and natural), I feel confident to say that Xylitol is one of the best. It is natural and has close to no side effects. It doesn’t affect your blood sugar like most sugars do, and it is low calorie which is absolutely fantastic. You can get it in both liquid and granule form, so it is versatile.
What exactly is Xylitol?
Simply put, xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is derived from the birch tree, and naturally occurs in beets, berries, and corn. It is most commonly used in chewing gum and various dental products, as it aids in the prevention of tooth decay (cool!). Xylitol has a low Glycemic Index and weighs in at 9 calories per teaspoon.
What are the side effects?
If used in excess, like most sugar alcohols, it can cause gas and loose stools. Too much too quickly is usually the cause of the problem. It is suggested to just slowly increase the intake of Xylitol and you shouldn’t have any negative affects.
How does it compare to sugar?
Xylitol compares 1:1 with sugar in recipes, when it comes to sweetness. Sugar is 16 calories per teaspoon, so xylitol will cut your calories by nearly half. There are small differences between xylitol and sugar. One difference, when cooking or baking, be aware that xylitol absorbs moisture like crazy – so you might have to adjust cookie and brownie recipes. The other difference is that xyltiol won’t help recipes like sugar does when trying to get something to raise using yeast.
Where can I buy it?
Most health food stores should carry it, you may even find it at your regular grocery as well. Of course you can also buy it here. This is just one brand of many, but Xyla gets the highest reviews on Amazon.