Xylitol

xylitolWhen you are a sweet-tooth, not being allowed sweet treats is a bit of a blow. Unless  you are acquainted with the superman of sweeteners: xylitol , a.k.a. birch sugar.

Birch sugar is a natural product, even though it can also be synthesized. It has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties (hence its use in toothpaste). It has a very low glycemic index and it is not supposed affect insulin levels. The book “The Sweet Miracle of Xylitol” by Fran Gare N.D. packs a lot of information regarding its history, health benefits and use. The book is available in Kindle or print format. I can recommend the website https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/xylitol-101 as well.

Before knowing about xylitol, my family tried stevia, another plant based sweetener (we are all avoiding artificial sweeteners). Some of us found it unpalatable because of its aftertaste. Another disadvantage of stevia is that it doesn’t have a bulk, so it is not as convenient to use for baking cakes either.

Xylitol is available in health-food stores, health-food sections of large grocery stores and on the internet, in small sachets or bulk. It is pricey (compared to regular sugar) but well worth the price. Since discovering it, we have used it to create all manner of deserts and a wide array of fruit preserves replacing sugar with the same amount of xylitol.  Some recipes will follow in future posts. There are two applications though, for which xylitol can not be used: caramel (it doesn’t melt or caramelize like sugar; it burns instead) and yeast risen dough (it is anti-fungal, so yeast doesn’t grow on it and the dough doesn’t rise).

Lastly, a word of caution. The body has to get acquainted to xylitol slowly (similarly to other sugar alcohols) and it is to be consumed in moderate amounts because of possible side effects (bloating, diarrhea). Personally I didn’t experience these, but other people may react differently.

To conclude this post: always do your own research. My role is to point you in a direction that you might have not explored on your own. This is my way and I hope you will find yours too. Good luck to all and keep your glucose levels down!

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