Due to the changes of our everyday lives because of the speed of technological advancement, we find ourselves pressed for time more often than not. This hugely affects our lifestyles because we look for ways to simplify tasks and activities, unfortunately also including our healthy habits. Now more than ever we may be prone to overindulge in a sugary diet but how damaging is sugar exactly? While it can cause weight-related problems, it is also known to badly affect the whole body and mind.
This is why it is advisable to opt for a sugar alternative and the best one you will find is xylitol. Whether you are already familiar with it or not, the name may lead you to think it is a fully chemical substance, however xylitol is one of the most natural sugar alternatives available out there and can be found in fruits and vegetables. Discovered in the 1890’s and later on synthesized into a pure form in the 1930’s, xylitol was highly used during World War II as a sugar replacement in some countries where sugar was not available. Today xylitol products are easily found in health food shops. They include xylitol icing sugar, xylitol sachets, toothpaste, mouthwash, fluoride treatments, chewing gum and in some medicines. There are so many aspects health-wise that are positively affected by the consumption of this sweetener and here are a few of them.
Studies have revealed that with regular use of xylitol sugar, you can preserve the health of your teeth by preventing tooth decay. Tooth decay happens when bacteria in our mouth consume the sugars of the food we eat. When we eat food that contains too much sugar, it provides the bacteria on our teeth the energy it needs to multiply and begin to make damaging acids for the teeth, a process better known as tooth decay.
Xylitol on the other hand, does not dissolve like sugar, has abilities to keep the pH level in the mouth neutral and protects the teeth. For that reason, many dentists have recently started recommending xylitol sugar for teeth protection. Saliva that contains xylitol is more alkaline, which means the amount of amino acids in saliva and plaque increase and the phosphate and calcium salts present start to move into the weak enamel parts, repairing damaged enamel. This is why it is advisable to have a diet with xylitol sugar for teeth sake.
Based on its abilities to induce remineralisation of tooth enamel, scientists are also now researching xylitol’s ability to remineralise bone tissue. Although there are some studies showing this effect in animals, clinical trials are still needed to confirm this potential benefit.
Gut Bacteria and Yeast
Xylitol is also a prebiotic which means it stimulates good gut flora (i.e. good microorganisms that live in our digestive tract) while sugar and sweeteners (such as aspartame and splenda) enable the growth of bad bacteria and yeast.
With all the health benefits mentioned above, you may be wondering: What are the cons? Well, some individuals may experience gastrointestinal problems. Because xylitol is not totally broken down in our system, with some people it can result in a laxative effect. Others may also experience discomforts such as bloating, cramping and abdominal pain. A great way to adapt to xylitol products is to introduce it very slowly into the diet. Aside from those, there are no other serious side effects associated with the use of xylitol. Including this sugar alternative in your diet will turn out to be the best change you can make for your health in the long run. To make the most of your xylitol experience, look up new recipes and have fun cooking. A word of caution in case you have dogs, make sure you keep them away from the sweetener as it can be very toxic for them.