It would be no surprise to discover many people haven’t heard of this new product on the market. Some of you will know of course this is a relatively new sweetener. But did you know it also has many other uses?

This article will look underneath all of the hype; tell you what it is and where it comes from. We’ll also give you more information to help you decide if you’d like to try it or if you feel unsure about how to use it and when!

So What Is It?

Xylitol actually comes from quite a few different things, though we do produce a little within the body. They include raspberries, corn and birch bark! You may have guessed it’s a sugar alcohol, but it comes with fewer calories than ordinary sugar. More than six to be precise! But the crux is it’s not completely natural in the sense we need to process it in order to produce the sweetener you’ll see in the shopping mall!

Xylitol was discovered by both French and German chemists in the closing years of the 19th century. The Russians used it as a sweetener for diabetics, and in Germany it was used in solutions for intravenous feeding. Its dental significance came to the fore in Finland in the early 1970’s, when scientists at Turku University showed it had positive dental benefits.

Any adult of average size can produce up to 15 grams of xylitol daily during normal metabolism. In its purest form it’s a white crystalline substance that looks and tastes like sugar. The fact it is very slowly absorbed and only part of what you consume is actually used, results in fewer calories being taken in.


Not just a sweetener in it’s own right you can also find this in both toothpaste and chewing gum!

OK So How Is It Made?

This can be a little complicated but basically it’s called Xylan in its natural state. This needs to be broken down into what we call Xylose and acetic acid. This process is called, ‘acid hydrolyzing’ The product we have then needs to go through hydrogenation, which is carried out at high temperatures and pressures from 158 degrees Fahrenheit upwards.

In order to do this we need a catalyst – a powdered nickel-aluminium alloy called Raney Nickel!

At this stage the acetic acid needs to be removed for safety reasons as its very hazardous to skin, eye contact and even inhalation! With us so far? Good. We told you it was a little complicated!

After this the hydrolyzing acid and any residue must be taken away. The mixture is heated and then evaporated. Now we have a syrup type substance which needs to be crystallized through stirring ethanol into it! This mixture is now separated centrifugally from both the remaining ethanol and sorbitol!

We are left with Xylitol!
The fact is however we need various chemicals to create this – not natural? You must make up your own mind! But major experts deemed this safe to use way back in 1983! Most of the processing plants can be found in china!


So Is This A Viable Alternative to Sugar?

Some experts think this can cause both bloating and gas – children could be particularly at risk. The fact it is highly processed cause enough concerns for some people not to use it at all. Some medical professionals would recommend honey as an alternative as it’s completely natural. For some people this works and it doesn’t for others. This comes down in the end to personal choice! Research is still ongoing.

So What Other Uses Does It Have?

We can find this in many makes of toothpaste and its thought it can protect against tooth decay to a certain extent. This is also why we find the product in chewing gum as it also increases saliva in the mouth, which in turn takes away acid and protects the teeth. There is also a nasal spray devised to keep the nasal passages moist. Candy dots are available for children to eat!

If this wasn’t relatively safe then it wouldn’t be on the market but of course used in reasonably small quantities it’s definitely good for the mouth!

It can be bought in health stores and supermarkets and even online but you must remember? It’s toxic to dogs and is sometimes made from corn if you suffer from allergies!

If you’re thinking of using it at any time then your doctor will give you great advice so don’t be afraid to talk to them! New products are coming onto the market every day and in this fast paced modern world we can’t always keep up with everything. This really does all boil down to personal choice!

Michael Donelly

About Michael Donelly

Michael Donelly is Gnet's founder and occasionally posts information. If you'd like to get in touch about anything business related you can contact him on Twitter: @MichaelDonelly2. And if you like what you read here then why not sign up for our newsletter to get regular updates on your interests?

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