Birch sugar, as xylitol is sometimes called, was discovered at the end of the 19th century in Finland. It is produced from the bark of Finnish birch trees. Although it looks and tastes nearly identical to regular sugar, the similarity ends there. Xylitol is a so-called sugar alcohol. These compounds not only have a much lower glycemic index (in this case it is only 8) but also almost half the calories (100 g of regular sugar contains about 405 kcal). For this reason, it is recommended for people struggling with excess weight and diabetes.
Sugar for teeth
Paradoxically, xylitol has a beneficial effect on the skeletal system. Its presence in the diet allows increasing the dose of calcium absorbed by the body. It is especially important for people who are at risk of osteoporosis or have already been diagnosed with it. It should also be given to children (but only to those who are at least 3 years old) when their skeletal system is in the early stages of growth.
Conclusions of the study published in the Journal of American Dental Association show that xylitol can protect teeth against caries. It turns out that it not only restores the correct pH of saliva but also inhibits the growth of bacteria that have a direct impact on the occurrence of caries. The ability to fight bacteria is perfect for various types of bacterial diseases or those caused by yeast.
Xylitol for weight loss and diabetics
Its low caloric value and low glycemic index have made xylitol a favorite among people on a diet and those who pay attention to what they eat. By replacing regular sugar with xylitol, they do not lose its sweet taste (it only leaves a slight mint aftertaste), because birch sugar is no different from regular sugar. Such a replacement is recommended for people suffering from diabetes. Although it significantly reduces the share of insulin in the process of decomposition, you should not overdo it. Many researchers believe that sweeteners, even completely natural, should be completely eliminated from the daily diet of a diabetic.
Regardless of which group we belong to, moderation and caution are necessary. The fact that WHO did not set any range regulating safe daily intake is not to be exaggerated. Too high a concentration of xylitol in the body can lead to gas retention in the intestines or diarrhea. Although similar symptoms occur only at the very beginning of xylitol use, even when the body gets used to it, a single consumption of a large amount of birch sugar (i.e. more than 10 flat teaspoons) may act to show laxative-like side effects.