Last time we started on the topic of sweeteners and discussed the Superhuman benefits and practical uses of stevia. Still at the top section of the Superhuman Food Pyramid, we are going to continue our quest for knowledge and health (and indulge our sweet tooth) by talking about another excellent sugar substitute called xylitol.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, which is to say that its molecular structure resembles both sugar and alcohol. Sugar alcohols in general are the end result of certain extraction and chemical processes. They are found in most fruit and vegetable fibers.
This particular sweetener is more frequently produced from corncobs. But it is possible to derive xylitol from berries, mushrooms, the fibrous remains of sugar cane after it’s been squeezed, and even from a hardwood tree like birch.
There are advantages in replacing ordinary sugar or sucrose with xylitol which can help us achieve Superhuman health. Let’s learn how to use xylitol and look at some of its benefits…
1. Prevents cavities – Dental caries are likely the first things to come to mind about the bad effects of too much sugar. By virtue of its being a non-fermentable sugar alcohol, this sweetener can actually starve out the oral bacteria. This is the reason xylitol chewing gum is often presented as a dental care product.
2. Mitigates ear and nose infections – This is another benefit that xylitol gum offers. The act of chewing helps clear out the earwax and introduces this sugar substitute compound in the Eustachian tubes, the connection between ear and nose. Xylitol can help reduce the growth of bacteria in these areas because its chemical structure prevents certain microorganisms from attaching to the tissues.
3. Safe for diabetics – Compared to sugar, xylitol is low-calorie. It is also a sweetener that is absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream. That means it has little or no effect on blood sugar levels. Those with the condition can enjoy desserts that use this sweetener and not have to worry about hyperglycemia.
Xylitol Practical Uses:
More often than not we’ll encounter this sweetener as an ingredient in a finished product like gum, beverages or oral hygiene products. It is possible however to buy powdered xylitol or its crystalline form in local health stores or supermarkets.
This way we can use it exactly like ordinary sugar in any recipe. It’s just as sweet so there is no need to adjust measurements. 1 tablespoon of xylitol is equivalent to 1 tablespoon of sugar. Take note though that given the way xylitol acts on microorganisms, it might not work for baking yeast-based bread.
There are also non-culinary uses of its powdered form:
Concoct your own xylitol toothpaste – Mix around 2 tablespoons of warmed coconut oil with 3 tablespoons of baking soda until it becomes a paste. Add ½ teaspoon of xylitol and about 10 drops of peppermint oil into the mixture. Stir until smooth and keep in an airtight jar.
Mix up a homemade xylitol nasal spray – Dissolve 1 teaspoon of sea salt and ½ cup of xylitol in 1 cup of warm water. Keep the solution in a reusable nasal spray bottle which is available in most drugstores. Apply it as you typically would nasal spray medications.
In the next post, I’ll tell you how you can use maltitol in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the herbs, spices and sweeteners on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
If you have questions, comments or feedback about how to use xylitol, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on how to use xylitol.