Xylitol—Good Or Bad?

I have had recently had a lot of questions about Xylitol, So I have decided to post some information that has come largely from one of my favorite sources which is the Western Price Foundation. Hope you find it helpful.

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, a low-calorie carbohydrate made from birch bark, fibrous vegetables and fruit. Xylitol has no known toxic levels and was approved by the FDA in 1963. Some diarrhea or slight cramping may occur at first if a large amount is consumed all at once. It is recommended that one start small and let the body’s enzymes adjust, which they will do. Xylitol is deadly to dogs even in small amounts. Gums, candies, baked goods, and table scraps containing xylitol must be kept far away from, and inaccessible to dogs, including ladies’ and children’s purses, and the garbage for dogs who are foragers.

Xylitol had been known to the world of organic chemistry since it was first manufactured in 1891 by a German chemist. A natural, intermediate product, xylitol regularly occurs in the glucose metabolism of animals as well as in the metabolism of several plants and micro-organisms. Xylitol is even produced naturally in OUR bodies, up to 15 grams daily during normal metabolism. Because it metabolizes without using insulin, there is no blood sugar spike.

Xylitol’s Dubious Health Claims

Since xylitol is an industrial product, it pays to be dubious about the industry’s health claims for it. First among these is the claim that xylitol prevents cavities. Indeed, many studies can be cited to support such a claim. But not all. The results of a recent two-year trial found no difference in cavities between those who chewed xylitol-containing gum and those who did not.
2. In an earlier study, researchers concluded that “Overall, consumption of xylitol-containing snacks and candy did not reduce S. mutans levels.”
3.As for the claim that xylitol is good for diabetics, the fact that this sweetener is not completely absorbed comes at a cost: bloating, diarrhea and flatulence. In a study performed on 18 diabetic children who consumed a dose of 30 grams of xylitol per day, researchers found a significant elevation of the uric acid concentration.4 And since 80 percent of xylitol is metabolized through the liver, a danger to liver function similar to that of fructose is a distinct possibility.

The Public Relations Story

The official website for xylitol, xylitol.org, states, “In the amounts needed to prevent tooth decay (less than 15 grams per day), xylitol is safe for everyone.” Fifteen grams of xylitol is about 0.5 ounces. What about doses over 15 grams?

In a long term toxicology study on rats researchers found that xylitol caused a significant increase in the incidence of adrenal medullary hyperplasia in male and female rats in all dose levels tested (5%, 10% and 20%).5 That means it caused abnormal cell growth in the adrenal glands. In one higher-dose study in which mice consumed 20 percent of their diet as xylitol, there was a significant increase in the mortality of the males as compared to those consuming sucrose.6 A major study in dogs found an increase in liver weight associated with xylitol use.7

Conclusions About Xylitol

Xylitol’s own promotional material says it is not safe for everyone to use. Since children are smaller and less developed than adults, they will obviously be much more sensitive to xylitol’s effects. There are no safety data or tests to indicate a safe dosage for children. And foods containing xylitol may also contain additional sweeteners that are undeniably harmful, such as aspartame.

As for claims that xylitol can prevent tooth decay, I can only say, “Buyer beware!” Such claims are based on the faulty theory that bacteria cause tooth decay. We know from the work of Weston Price that tooth decay is a problem of nutrient deficiencies—the bacteria are just there cleaning up dead tissue.

Finally, and most importantly, this industrial product is just not necessary. Nature has provided us with many wholesome sweeteners that can be used in moderation without adverse effects in the context of a diet of nutrient-dense traditional foods. Natural Stevia… the real thing is a better choice:

Spoonable Stevia By Stevita

Spoonable Stevia By Stevita:

Spoonable Stevia by Stevita uses only stevia extract with at least 95% pure glycosides (extremely sweet tasting ingredients of the Stevia herb leaves), and a little erythritol, a crystal granulated naturally produced filler found in fruits, vegetables and grains. It is best for baking and sprinkling.
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Sweetleaf Stevia English toffee flavour

ENGLISH TOFFEE STEVIA:

Wisdom Natural, SweetLeaf, Liquid Stevia, English Toffee Sweet Leaf liquid stevia with all natural flavors is convenient and easy to use. As a supplement, add this nutritious stevia to water, tea, coffee, milk, sparkling water, protein shakes, plain yogurt or anything else you can imagine. It comes in many different flavors including lemon but English Toffee flavor is the best by far.

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ORDERING FROM IHERB.COM: If you decide to order any products from Iherb.com, you will automatically receive $5 or $10 off your first order. Their products are the cheapest and best in the world…I use them for everything no matter where I am. Get it sent to you via DHL. It will be with you in three to four working days… iHerb.com ship all over the world very cheaply.

IMPORTANT – Do not be fooled by the artificially made Stevia products such as Truvia and Purevia. These products are not the natural Stevia plant. To learn more read my post here called beware of Truvia.

Some research if you want to look at it

  • Dehmel KH and others. Absorption of xylitol. Int. Symp on metabolism, physiololgy and clinical use of pentoses and pentitols. Hakone, Japan, 1967, 177-181, Ed. Horecker.
  • Int J Paediatr Dent. 2008 May;18(3):170-7.
  • J Am Dental Assoc, 2002;133(4):435-441.
  • Förster, H., Boecker, S. and Walther, A. (1977) Verwendung von Xylitals Zuckeraustauschstoff bei diabetischen Kindern, Fortschr. Med.,95, nr. 2, 99-102.
  • Russfield, A.D. (1981) Two-year feeding study of xylitol, sorbitol and sucrose in Charles River (UK) rats: Adrenal Medulla. Unpublished report.
  • World Health Organization, Summary Of Toxicological Data Of Certain Food Additives and Contaminants, WHO Food Additives Series NO. 13 Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives* Rome, 3-12 April 1978 accessed at: http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jecmono/v13je11.htm.
  • Heywood, R. et al. (1981) Revised report: Xylitol toxicity study in the beagle dog (Report of Huntingdon Research Centre).

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8 Comments

  • Nancy Honey June 28, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    I am researching a book project on senior influential British women and am looking for a contact email address for Leslie Kenton so that I could email her details of the project to see if she is interested.

    I would appreciate your help.
    Sincerely,
    Nancy Honey

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  • Hal_Blake April 5, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Your slam on xylitol lacks basic logic. It happens to be something that certain animals can’t tolerate. That doesn’t make it bad for humans. There is no reason to slam xylitol just to push stevia. I have no problem with either good quality xylitol or stevia. Each one has its particular uses. To push people away from something that might help them is unconscionable. To do it because you have commercial interest in a rival product is even worse.

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  • Leslie Kenton June 27, 2013 at 2:05 am

    Dear Hal… Thanks for your comments. My concerns about xylitol are by no means limited to animal studies. Nor am I interested in, as you say, “pushing stevia.” I recommend stevia because it is safe, useful and in the literally thousands of people whom I have mentored on curaromana.com, unlike xylitol or Pure Via or Truvia, I have never had even one man or woman who has had any problems with stevia. It is the reactions which people have reported to me from using these three products that caused me to write about them as a way of helping to protect people. I suggest that you learn about how xylitol is made, what its properties are and how serious the repercussions are for some people who have used it. You might begin by checking out the following web links. Kind regards… Leslie

    http://www.naturalnews.com/022986_xylitol_health_sugar.html
    http://www.livestrong.com/article/85091-dangers-xylitol/

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  • opusnight July 22, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    I read your article with great interest. I believe it certainly has merit, and xylitol, like any processed sugar substitute, should be viewed with skepticism and be further studied before proclamations of success are shouted from the rooftops. The one thing I’m concerned with is the studies you cite for reference: only two of them are recent. As in, this century. A Japanese study from 1967? An Italian study from 1978? While the nationality certainly is unimportant and largely irrelevant, the dates of the study are not. Scientific advancements in biochemistry and technology have grown by leaps and bounds in the last 15 years, let alone the last 40, making any study from the 1970’s or earlier a foundation on which to base new studies, but certainly not as a reference point for an argument today.

    It makes your reasoning seem specious, even if the logic is sound; it’s as if you’re reaching for conclusions regardless of the science. Only two studies from the last decade? Surely there have been more, no?

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    • Leslie Kenton September 16, 2013 at 11:43 pm

      Dear opusnight…I suggest you comb through reports on the net of people, children and animals who have had trouble with it as well doing a search for troubles and dangers of xylitol should you wish to learn more…Kind regards… Leslie

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  • Cathy Cunningham August 29, 2014 at 8:48 am

    I think you meant the WESTON A. PRICE FOUNDATION…not the ‘Western Price Foundation. Since that is one of your ‘favorite sources’ you might want to correct it. :)

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  • Aaron Kenton September 14, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Dear Cathy,
    You are correct Weston A price. Thanks for the correction. Here is the link to their website.
    http://www.westonaprice.org/

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