Xylitol is one of nature’s best kept secrets (in this country at least).
Xylitol is a natural sugar, refined usually from fruit sugars or birch tree bark.It has approximately half the calories of normal sugar, is excellent for diabetics as it has lower GI rating and, most importantly for us dentists, helps prevent tooth decay. Imagine that a sugar that prevents tooth decay and we are not singing about it from the rafters (probably just as well given my singing ability). Why is there so little said about xylitol in this country? Short answer, I don’t know but it’s probably down to lack of advertising and some adverse press about side effects. Well lets just clear that bit up. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol which means it is not fully absorbed in the gut. This lack of absorption can lead to an increase in incidence of diarrhea when consumed in high doses (80g per day usually). To put that figure in perspective that would mean chewing 80 tablets of Zapp gum per day or having 16 teaspoons of Perfect Sweet per day.There are no known toxic side effects in humans at any dose.
Given its enormous benefits it is not surprising that it is the principle sweetener in Scandinavia (its use was pioneered in Finland) and is becoming very popular in the USA. Nestle is actively researching the use of it across it’s confectionery and drinks range.
If you would like to try some for your self then please ask for some in your drink next time you visit us at the surgery or ask for a complimentary pack of Zapp gum.