What Is Xylitol?

3D-model of Xylitol (src)

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol or polyol.

It is often used as a sugar substitute and is commonly seen in "sugar-free" food products.

Xylitol is almost as sweet as sucrose but has about 33% fewer calories.

Xylitol is naturally found in many fruits and vegetables.

Xylitol, A Substitute For Sugar

Xylitol is a five-carbon sugar alcohol that is obtained through the diet.

It is widely used as a sugar substitute and widely used in so-called sugar-free food products. (source )

Xylitol is often used as a diabetic sweetener because it is almost as sweet as sucrose but has 33% fewer calories.

Where To Find Xylitol

Xylitol is also called birch sugar.

Birch is from which it was originally derived.

Xylitol is naturally found in many fruits, like strawberries, plums, raspberries, and vegetables, like cauliflower. (source )

Nowadays, xylitol is mostly manufactured industrially.

Even though xylitol is found in nature, its concentration in plant material is too low for financial gain. (source )

Xylitol In Plants

Xylitol is a polyol that is naturally occurring in the plant cell wall.

It has been used for hundreds of years as a sweetener and is now being used as a substitute for sugar in many food products.

Xylitol In Nasal Spray

Xylitol is often used in otorhinolaryngology (diseases of the ear, nose, throat, face, head and neck) in the form of an antibacterial nasal spray for treating rhinosinusitis and preventing otitis media.

Rhinosinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus cavities that can be caused by viral, bacterial, or fungal infections.

Otitis media is a common illness that is caused by the accumulation of fluids in the middle ear.

Xylitol has demonstrated antiviral properties against syncytial viruses.

Consuming Xylitol

Xylitol prevents oral bacteria from producing acids that damage the surfaces of teeth.

Therefore, it is common in sugar-free gums, toothpaste, and other oral care products. (source )

Xylitol has few adverse effects.

It is considered safe for us, but when consuming more than 130 g per day may develop stomach upset and diarrhea. (source )

You can read about the benefits and side-effects of consuming xylitol in Xylitol: 2 Research-Backed Benefits & 2 Side-Effects .

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Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

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Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.