Sugar may be the single most dangerous culprit to the average diet. It's in almost everything we consume. Because of this, people look toward natural alternatives such as xylitol. Xylitol looks and tastes like regular sugar but has fewer calories and doesn't raise the blood sugar levels. There are even documented studies that show that xylitol can improve dental health as well as a host of other health benefits.
Xylitol is a substance that is categorized as a sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols (or “polyols”) are types of sweet carbohydrates. Xylitol is found in small amounts in many fruits and vegetables and is therefore considered natural. Humans even produce small amounts of it via normal metabolism. It is a common ingredient in sugar free chewing gums, candies, mints, diabetes friendly foods and oral care products. Xylitol has a similar sweetness as regular sugar, but contains 40% fewer calories.
Xylitol contains zero fructose and has negligible effects on blood sugar and insulin. The glycemic index (a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar) is only 7, compared to regular sugar, which has a glycemic index of 60-70. It can also be considered a weight loss friendly sweetener, since it contains 40% fewer calories than sugar.
For people with diabetes, pre-diabetes, obesity or other metabolic problems, xylitol is an excellent alternative to sugar.
Many dentists recommend using xylitol-sweetened chewing gum. The reasons are valid. This is because numerous studies show that xylitol has powerful benefits for dental health and prevention of tooth decay.
Since the mouth, nose and ears are all interconnected, bacteria that live in the mouth can end up causing ear infections, which is a common problem in children. It turns out that xylitol can starve some of these bacteria, in the same way as it starves the plaque producing bacteria. In one study in children with recurring ear infections, daily usage of xylitol-sweetened chewing gum reduced the rate of infection by 40%. Xylitol also helps fight the yeast Candida albicans, reducing its ability to stick to a surface and cause infection.
When dogs eat xylitol, their bodies mistakenly think that they’ve ingested glucose and start producing large amounts of insulin.
When this happen, the dog’s cells start taking up glucose from the bloodstream. This can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) and be downright fatal.
Xylitol may also have detrimental effects on liver function in dogs, with high doses causing liver failure. Keep Xylitol away from your dogs. Order yours here.
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