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Things to know about xylitol

Does birch sugar (xylitol) replace sugar in our diet?

Even as children we love sweets. But at the latest at the first dental appointment because of tooth decay, we learn that normal table sugar is harmful to the teeth.

Not only as parents do we want a healthy diet without sugar and here the question often arises: Which sugar substitute should I take: aspartame, acesulfate, cyclamate, honey, agave syrup, coconut blossom sugar or another of the countless sugar alternatives? For example, the artificial sweetener aspartame is a chemical that breaks down in the body like protein. The decomposition products are always suspected of accumulating in the body and the environment. Substances that the body cannot dispose of are harmful to health. At least people with phenylketonuria should avoid aspartame. Even in healthy people, the small amount of 40mg per 1kg body weight should not be exceeded daily. Another controversial sweetener is sucralose. Again, there is evidence that it stimulates the appetite.

Many food manufacturers are pushing the limits of what is legally possible. But health is about nutrition - about the food that we consume. Many foods are also sweetened with combinations of sugar substitutes that are marketed as 'healthy'. But they are not.

Natural sweeteners and their disadvantages

However, natural sugar alternatives such as honey and syrups are only beneficial to our health in moderation: On the one hand, they often have the same calories as industrial sugar and therefore a lot of energy that heats up the metabolism and is stored in the body's fat reserves. On the other hand, their effect on caries bacteria is equivalent to sugar: by metabolizing sugar, certain bacteria in the mouth produce acid. This acid causes tooth enamel to soften and leads to cavities and receding gums: caries and periodontal disease develop. An effect that incurs cost and pain.
Better sugar alternatives would be, for example, erythritol and stevia

Sugar substitute that is already used in many foods and sweetening items. The vegetable sugar substitute stevia can score with an incredible sweetening power (rebausid = approx. 200x sweeter than sugar) - but for many people the taste of stevia is reminiscent of liquorice. The main problem with stevia: Although it comes from a natural source (leaves of the stevia plant), only the extract (highly purified rebaudioside A (Reb A)) is permitted. Stevia is therefore hardly natural and can be dosed very sensitively. Erythritol, on the other hand, has a neutral taste, no calories but lacks some sweetening power. Conclusion: Erythritol and stevia are tooth-friendly because they are calorie-free, but both are not yet the perfect sugar substitute that could replace sugar.


Xylitol is valued as the perfect sugar substitute

The first contact with xylitol also offers the first surprise: Brave testers put half a spoonful of the crystalline powder in their mouth and are amazed: "Excuse me? That's so sweet! That's supposed to be good for your teeth?" .
The study situation on xylitol

Yes, xylitol is good for your teeth.

This has been proven in many independent studies. The most well-known source comes from Finland: sources include Scientific adviser Dr. Eva Soderling, University of Turku, Finland ( Decades ago, research was carried out there with xylitol in chewing gum. Further studies were also carried out in Finland under K. K. Mäkinen. The results were always significant and impressively demonstrated that xylitol protects teeth when used regularly. To date, Finnish manufacturers are very involved in the production of xylitol chewing gum and xylitol-containing foods.

Which name is correct: xylitol, birch sugar or xylitol?

Answer: All. All designations mean the same substance. every term is correct. "Birch sugar" is often used to appear natural and to show the origin of the product. When birch sugar was discovered more than 100 years ago, birch bark wood was the raw material. Today, xylitol is largely made from other raw materials such as corn stalks. These are also bio-available. The term "birch sugar" is used by the manufacturer in any way - regardless of whether it is made from corn or wood. Whatever: our XYLIPUR birch sugar is made of wood.

Xylitol - also called birch sugar - is therefore a real sugar alternative - a natural sugar substitute - in contrast to artificial sugar substitutes. Xylitol and erythritol are hardly metabolized by the body and are easily excreted. They then break down into their harmless components, which is also good for nature.

Who discovered xylitol (birch sugar)?

The first successful isolation of the substance was achieved in 1891 by the German chemist Emil Fischer (later a Nobel Prize winner) and his French colleague Emil Bertrand. It was only when sugar became scarce in World War II that xylitol came into its own, especially in Scandinavian countries. After the war, conventional sugar became much cheaper to produce. Not least because of this, xylitol was increasingly forgotten before it was 'rediscovered' in this country since Finnish research. Since then, xylitol has become increasingly popular. Xylitol was introduced to the US in 1963 when the FDA officially approved it as a sugar substitute and declared it safe.

How natural is the production of xylitol?

Always a point of discussion. It is clear that a lot of energy is required for the production of xylitol - above all for heating, the evaporation processes, packaging and transport. However, the production of industrial sugar also requires energy. In addition, the production of xylitol is more natural than the synthesis of artificial sweeteners.

While xylitol or birch sugar is isolated from wood fibers either by fermentation or by catalysis, erythritol is obtained exclusively via fermentation. Interesting that xylitol is available from many different plant sources. It is found in fruits, berries, lettuce, and corn on the cob. Traditionally, xylitol was extracted from the xylan of birch trees - better birch bark - (hence the name 'birch sugar'). Industrial production of xylitol began in Finland more than 30 years ago - from birch trees that are available everywhere. However, many manufacturers in countries with a higher proportion of agriculture have switched to biomass such as corn on the cob, coconut shells, etc. The amounts of xylitol produced worldwide are only a fraction of what conventional harmful sugar leaves the factories every year. Also due to the higher technical effort, the xylitol prices are still significantly higher than for conventional sugar.

Why does xylitol have an E number?

Xylitol often appears on packaging, encrypted as 'E967'. This simply means that xylitol has been included in the list of additives and is ranked 967th. Xylitol is approved for humans without any maximum limit. However, animals have no benefit from xylitol. You should definitely not get xylitol as your special metabolism can react negatively.


What is the effect of xylitol (birch sugar) on humans

Chemically, xylitol is one of the sugar alcohols - hence the "ol" ending in xylitol. The sugar alcohol obtained from corn, birch bark or wood chips has amazing properties that we humans should definitely take advantage of in our diet:
1. Xylitol has only 60% calories compared to table sugar.
2. Dental care effect in the mouth:

Health begins in the mouth and anyone who has a lot of problems with inflamed gums (periodontitis) or tooth decay should take a closer look at xylitol. Bacterial infections often spread unnoticed from the teeth to other areas of the body and cause problems that are not related to the teeth at first glance. Due to its similarity to sugar, xylitol is absorbed by acid-producing bacteria in the mouth but is not metabolized. The bacteria cannot multiply and do not produce any acid. The pH value is neutral.
3. Xylitol prevents bad breath.
4. Xylitol stimulates salivation
The enamel is remineralized - .
5. Xylitol, Xylitol is metabolized in humans almost independently of insulin.
This prevents cravings and is a calorie-conscious sugar substitute.
6. Xylitol as a food versus sugar

Xylitol sweetens about 1:1 like sugar.

XYLIPUR birch sugar is as granular as normal table sugar.

7. Xylitol, Xylitol satisfies sweet cravings without fueling the appetite
9. Xylitol Studies in Children
have proven several times that xylitol can particularly care for children's milk teeth. A Xylipur tooth has, for example, about 1.4 grams of pure xylitol and is therefore also suitable for sensitive people, since very little xylitol migrates into the intestinal region.
10. Tolerance of xylitol

Xylitol is classified worldwide as a safe low carbohydrate (2.4 calories per gram) and is considered safe in humans. Humans themselves produce several grams of xylitol every day as an intermediate product of the glucose metabolism. Therefore, xylitol is very well tolerated by humans. Sensitive people should increase the amounts slowly.

Application tips against bad breath:

With regular xylitol use, plaque can be more easily removed by brushing your teeth. Older people in particular are prone to dry mouth. This can also result in heavy dental plaque. Xylitol stimulates saliva production and leads to less dry mouth and bad breath. Slowly suck 2-3 teeth a day. Alternatively suck one or two LolliX.

Finally: In over 40 countries worldwide, xylitol is officially used to prevent tooth decay. The Finnish government started it in 1988, followed by Sweden, Norway and many other countries.

Links about xylitol
Pharmazeutische Zeitung
Nexus Magazin - Xylitol - Die süße Rettung?
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