5 things to know about birch sugar

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We know it as xylitol, but it is also known as birch sugar or wood sugar. It is a natural sweetener with 40% fewer calories than table sugar and a low glycemic index. That is why it is increasingly chosen by those who follow a diet to reduce the thickness or by people with diabetes.

Xylitol: 5 things you should know about birch sugar

Lol xylitol is one of the most present sweeteners on the market today: a worthy substitute for sugar, which simulates sweetness, but with fewer contraindications, is increasingly used in the food industry and beyond. In fact, as well as in food, it is also found in mouth washes and toothpastes, as it has proven to be effective in counteracting dental plaque.

But its very technical name, if we can define it this way, suggests that xylitol is part of that group of chemical sweeteners that should be avoided. In defiance, however, of what one might think, this sweetness is for everything natural and it is mainly extracted from the bark of some types of trees, but also from corn.

It is also found in some fruits, such as strawberries, which suggests how much xylitol actually belongs in the realm of mother nature. In the market we can find it, as well as in the list of ingredients sugar-free sweets and oral hygiene products, also pure in granular and powder versions.

To this day, in fact, there are many people who choose this sweetener instead of ordinary sugar, to sweeten food and drinks. If the ratio of sweetener to sugar is also 1:1, which means that in the recipes they must be replaced in equal quantitiesxylitol calories are 40% less than sucrose and with a lower glycemic index.

What is xylitol and what does it do

Xylitol belongs to the ring of polyols, or polyalcohols, i.e. sugar alcohol, which can be found in nature. In fact, the extraction comes, as mentioned, mostly from the bark of some trees and from the wheat cob, the inner part of the wood of the cob.

The trees from which it is extracted are mainly birch and beech, which is why xylitol is often called wood sugar, or even birch sugar. Its use is increasingly massive in the food industry and above all light sweets, since, as mentioned, it has a lower caloric weight than normal sugar.

His presence in oral hygiene products, as well as in sugar-free chewing gum, is instead justified by the fact that it does not cause tooth decay. On the contrary, according to some studies, xylitol is even responsible for reducing the bacteria in the mouth Streptococcus mutanswhich is responsible for the accumulation of plaque.

But the beneficial effects of xylitol are also other, as we will see below.

Xylitol: beneficial properties for health

Source: Pixabay

Birch sugar, as seen, is a natural sweetener which has the same sweetening power as sucrose but with fewer side effects. In reality, it also provides health benefits, as long as you consume it, like any food, sensibly.

Xylitol and teeth

We said it and we repeat it, xylitol not only does not cause caries dental, but also protects the oral cavity from the action of Streptococcus mutans. The bacterium is responsible for the accumulation of plaque on the teeth, but also for annoying gum disease.

There are medical researches on the action of xylitol against this streptococcus and the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis. Xylitol has been shown to be effective in inhibiting the action of both bacteria, improving oral health.

Xylitol and blood sugar

With a glycemic index equal to 12 or 13, compared to glucose which is instead of 100, xylitol is an excellent natural sweetener for diabetic subjects. The effects on blood sugar are actually moderate and this allows you to keep your blood sugar levels under control, without cutting out the occasional dessert.

Xylitol is not fattening

If taken in a balanced diet as a substitute for sugar, xylitol helps maintain weight and lose weight. Indeed it has a 40% fewer calories compared to table sugar and this makes it suitable for consumption even on a moderate diet.

In fact, the important thing is not to exceed the quantities, since light does not mean zero calories. In fact, white sugar has 4Kcal per gram, xylitol 2.4.

Antioxidant effects

In a 2014 study in rats, xylitol was shown to improve glutathione production, a antioxidant useful to counteract the action of free radicals. But there is still no human research to validate these effects.

Effects on hearing health

That the mouth and ears are connected is no mystery, but it may surprise you to learn that a study of children with recurrent ear infections showed beneficial effects of xylitol on patients. In fact, simply chewing xylitol gum would improve not only the health of the oral cavity, but also that of hearing.

Xylitol and youth

There are also studies on rats that link xylitol to increased production of collagen, the protein found in connective tissues. There loss of collagenphysiological with age, is counteracted by the consumption of food with xylitol.

Not only that, other studies also see him responsible for one reduction of osteoporosis, another problem that arises with advanced years. In mice, administration had bone redensification and remineralization effects. But more studies are needed to confirm these benefits also on humans.

Xylitol: side effects

Xylitol
Source: Pixabay

We are often asked if xylitol hurts or if it is even carcinogenic, but there is no research that can confirm a link between this sweetener and cancer. Conversely, excessive consumption of xylitol can have some side effects.

In fact it should be remembered that it is a sugar that belongs to the category of glycols, or polyalcohols, which the intestines do not assimilate at all. Which means that their excess in the diet can lead to phenomena of abdominal swelling and diarrheain fact the laxative effects of these sweets are quite well known and well known.

But this does not mean to stop the consumption of xylitol, which showed itself anyway safe, in normal doses, even on long-term use. It just needs to be used correctly.

On the other hand, attention should be paid to a significant detail, which concerns the consumption of xylitol by our animal friends. This sweetness, safe for us humans, has shown itself toxic in dogs and this means that, g[alkemm Fido i[ares lejna b’adorazzjoni waqt li nieklu gallettina biz-zokkor tal-betula, ikollna nevitaw li nag[tuha lilu g[al ]a[[a[[a

What foods contain xylitol

In many foodas well as in the aforementioned toothpastes and mouthwashes, birch sugar is present, in particular we find it in:

  • chewing gum and sugar-free gum
  • peanut butter
  • cute
  • breath mints
  • puddings
  • bakery products
  • cough syrup
  • gummy vitamins
  • food supplements

Xylitol, in general, is found in many items labeled “sugar-free,” “low carb,” or “low calorie.”

Where can I find xylitol?

If we want to buy xylitol in powder, tablets to sweeten tea and coffee, or granules, we can go to shops that sell pastry goods. But even in the supermarkets with the best storage it is possible to find it, perhaps together with other sweeteners such as stevia or erythritol.

In case of online shopping, from Amazon to platforms that sell wellness and food items, always remember that check the origin and certifications of selected sweeteners. In fact, it is always preferable to choose items from serious brands that can show a certain rigor in the extraction and processing methods of the product.

And, of course, we prioritize organic birch sugar over non-organic ones. We spend a little more money, but our strength is the winner.

Sources

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