Xylitol is a natural sugarless sweetener that has 40% fewer calories than sugar and 75% fewer carbohydrates. Many users report that it is very hard to tell the difference between Xylitol and sugar, both by the way it looks and the way it tastes. There is no reported “after taste,” which is one of the big selling points of this natural sweetener.
Like most other sugar alternatives, Xylitol doesn’t caramelize when heated. You might want to add approximately 10% more Xylitol when baking or cooking because it is not quite as sweet as sugar. My suggestion is to start out by substituting cup for cup with the sugar in your recipe … taste and adjust.
Xylitol was discovered in Finland during WWII when there were worldwide sugar shortages and no domestic supply of sugar. Xylitol can be extracted from a variety of fruits, vegetables and even trees. In fact, North American manufactured Xylitol is made from a combination of birch, maple and other trees. It can also be manufactured from corn STALKS … not the corn kernels.
Xylitol is a god-send to diabetics because it has a very low glycemic index and it metabolizes in the body without using insulin. Compare Xylitol’s extremely low glycemic index of 7 to the glycemic index for sugar which is 100.
Xylitol is a dentist’s dream. It keeps cavities at bay and has even been proven to reverse the negative effects of sugar on dental health. In various studies in Finland (later confirmed in Canada and other countries) Xylitol was found to interfere with bacterial growth and reproduction — allowing the mouth to re-mineralize damaged teeth. Give your children a stick of Xylitol gum or a hard Xylitol candy to suck on before bed and they will have fewer cavities.
Xylitol and the THM Eating Plan
Xylitol is one of the ingredients in the THM Gentle Sweet™ Blend. The Gentle Sweet™ blend has the closest taste profile to sugar and is great for baking and anything with chocolate. When you purchase most brands of Xylitol it comes in large crystals. These are OK if you are mixing it into liquids, but becomes a problem when using in baked goods. When you make any of the THM sweetener copycat recipes, you need to buzz the ingredients together in a coffee grinder or blender and reduce the crystals to a fine table sugar consistency.
Xylitol is TOXIC to Dogs
Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs. If you have a dog in the house, it is best to avoid using xylitol as a sweetener. Even if you plan on being careful, all you dog has to do is grab that muffin laced with xylitol and game over. There are other sweetener choices that are safer .. erythitrol and stevia being my top two favorites.
Xylitol and Cats
Xylitol is toxic to cats too, but apparently cats won’t touch, let alone eat anything that contains it. Unlike some dogs who will snap up and eat anything in sight, cats sniff their potential food first. According to many experts, the sniff test ensures they won’t touch it. Hmmmmm …. I have a cat and in spite of what the gurus say, I don’t leave sweetened food lying about.
I specifically tried Xylo Sweet because it not only had thousands of happy customers, but loyal customers as well! AND it is a fabulous price. In my local drug stores or grocery stores the price for Xylitol is over $15 for one pound or less. If you purchase 2 x 5-pound packages of Xylosweet it costs less than $5 a pound.
If you prefer packets … click HERE
If you use larger quantities of Xylitol, this is an even better bargain at just over $4.00 a pound.
Note: Xylitol substitutes cup for cup with sugar in most recipes. It does not caramelize during baking. Depending on the brand you purchase, you might want to whir larger crystals in a coffee grinder for 30 seconds to create a baking friendly powder.
Here are some Fabulous Ketogenic Fat Bomb Recipes that use Xylitol for a touch of sweetness.