Xylitol metabolism

This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  dykask 5 years, 7 months ago.

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  • Hi all

    Anyone here use xylitol (e.g. Total Sweet) as a sugar replacement? In our house it lives in the sugar jar and nobody notices the difference (apart from when buying it, it’s somewhat expensive). It has 40% of the calories of sucrose, is tasteless (not like stevia, ugh) and physically the same as sucrose granules, it’s great. We only use real sugar for baking, where xylitol doesn’t really work properly.

    Anyhow my question was more around the metabolism of xylitol. It clearly has different pathway to typical dietary sugar, and doesn’t elicit the same insulin response. I often have 2-3 cups of tea (usually with xylitol) on my fast days, but never eat my 5-600 calories until after 19:00 when I get back from work, giving me a full 24 hours of fast. Does this have any effect on the perceived benefits of that long-as-possible fasting period, compared to either no sugar or adding standard sucrose?

    Interesting xylitol paper for reference:


    Frankly, I would stay away from ALL non-sugar sweeteners. Totally. They are not good for you. A tiny bit of honey in tea is very nice, even on a Fast Day. go back to sugar, avoid other forms [like high fructose corn syrup], then slowly reduce the sugar you use.

    To put numbers on it, if you drank 2 cups of tea, each with 1/2 tsp sugar, that’s 16 calories. You burn that up just breathing, so it isn’t a big deal-breaker. Think about it.

    Personally I wouldn’t use it but that’s me. As far as eliciting an insulin response, it is quite supressed compared to glucose. 16kcal will take approximately 16 minutes to consume. You burn about 1kcal per minute. Just don’t give it to your dog as it can be fatal. Apparently its OK for humans though. Go figure?

    Sucrose (table sugar) is horribly bad for health as it breaks down quickly in the body and is 50% fructose, it isn’t any better than high fructose corn syrup. The problem with HFCS is that is a very cheap form of sugar and used excessively in processed foods. I don’t see any benefits in consuming “natural” sugar over artificial sweeteners.

    Artificial sweeteners are also likely unhealthy. The advantage is some of them are so sweet that actually very small amounts have to be used. However sugar alcohols like xylitol don’t have that advantage. Personally I see that as the biggest risk, there is more stuff the body has to process.

    When it comes to blood glucose that seems to be highly variable as some artificial sweeteners can be associated with blood glucose spikes in some people. I stopped drinking diet colas for months but not do drink some now. I’ve tested my blood glucose and at least for myself I don’t seem to have any impact on blood glucose from diet colas and also presumably on insulin levels.

    There is so much hate around things like diet cola. However I’ve often noticed some of the most vocal haters often drink beer, wine, etc and sometimes even smoke. Personally I haven’t noticed any negative impacts from my artificial sweetener use. However I mostly only see xylitol used in gum and breath mints. That could just be local to Japan though. Sometimes I do chew xylitol based gum.

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