By now, I think we are all well aware of the effects of excess sugar in our bodies, not to mention the effects on our skin with the cross linking of Collagen and inflammation that leads to wrinkles and premature ageing.
Xylitol is natures alternative to sugar and is also known as wood or Birch Sugar, it has been used to sweeten food and drinks for many years. The strange name comes from the Greek word “Xyl” which means wood, as in Xylophone, this is because it was first extracted from the bark of Birch trees after the 2nd world war, when sugar was in very short supply.
Xylitol is a 100 % naturally occurring sweet tasting substance, and it looks and tastes exactly like normal sugar, but has various healthy benefits. It is found in other things apart from the Birch tree, including – Raspberries, Plums and Strawberries and even our own bodies make small amounts.
Here are the plus points to switching from sugar to Xylitol!
- Xylitol provides an alkaline environment that helps fight plaque and cavities, this is why it is many chewing gum and oral health products.
- There are 40 % less calories compared with sugar, extra calories will get stored as fat.
- There are 75 % less carbohydrates compared with sugar, so you can add sweetness without adding too many extra carbs!
- Xylitol has the lowest G L (Glycaemic Load) of any sugar alternative.
- Diabetics can enjoy Xylitol with a trace effect on Insulin levels as it releases it’s energy slowly.
- You use exactly the same amounts as you would for sugar.
- You can use it in baking and cooking.
- Xylitol has a G. I (Glycemic Index) of 7, which is 10 times lower than sugar. The Glycaemic Index scores all foods on a scale of 1 – 100 according to how quickly they release glucose into your bloodstream. Foods with a lower G I value releases Glucose into your blood slower and provides steadier energy levels.
I have been a fan of a low Glycaemic Index way of eating, and for me is a sensible, healthy way of enjoying food! Not only that, but by eating low-GL you can reduce your risk of some of the most prevalent diseases of the 21st century – diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Although Xylitol is a far healthier option than sugar, and without the chemicals of artificial sweeteners, just replace your normal sugar intake don’t double the amount just because it has less calories!
Perfect Sweet is a trade name and is made of 100% Xylitol extracted from Birch Wood, you can buy this in selected health food stores.