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Xylitol - Overview

In 1983, Xylitol was pronounced as a safe sugar free sweetener by World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation. Since then, it became an important supplement and was started being used in gums, cooking, baking, or as a sweetener for beverages. While it contains about 40% lesser calories and 75% fewer carbohydrates than sugar, Xylitol’s sweetening power is the same as that of the sucrose. It looks, tastes and feels exactly like sugar and leaves no repulsive aftertaste.

Xylitol is primarily a natural substance found in gristly fruits and vegetables as well as in corn cobs and various hardwood trees. While sugar can mess up our system, Xylitol rebuilds and restores our bodily systems. Its five carbon sugar property makes it impossible for the bacteria to feed on it. Xylitol is non-fermentable and its long-term use suppresses the most detrimental strains of oral bacteria.



Xylitol was first discovered by German Chemist Emil Fisher and French Chemist M.G. Bertrand, but it became significant in the early 70's when Finnish researchers found that it exhibits Superior Dental Benefits.  Xylitol sweetened chewing gums and mints are great Finnish Inventions.  Industrialized Xylitol manufacturing began in Finland and the first Xylitol chewing gums and mints in the world were produced in Finland.  This invention soon became a daily health habit in every Finn's life.

Xylitol is formed from the Greek words "xylon" meaning hardwood, and "oli" which refers to the terminology of organic chemistry.  From a chemical standpoint, Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, and not actually a sugar.  Unlike other polyol (sugar) sweeteners, Xylitol has a five-carbon structure, which means it is antimicrobial (prevents the growth of bacteria). While sugar is acid-forming, xylitol is alkaline enhancing. This is the key reason why Xylitol has been proven to be the only sweetener that shows both passive and active anti-cavity effects.  

Xylitol is naturally present in many fruits and vegetables, as well as in corncobs and various hardwood trees like birch.  It can be said that Xylitol has been a natural component of mankind's diet throughout the years.  Xylitol is also produced by the human body, from 5 to 15 grams per day as an intermediate in the normal metabolism of glucose.