Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Your Questions Answered... Splenda and Xylitol

This is the question of the week. It seems like everyone wants to know: What about Splenda?

I mentioned Splenda in my post about Natural Sweeteners. Since there is so much controversy on the sweetener, there is an over-abundance of information to wade through. I found the most thorough and supported information on Splenda at Mercola.com. (Keep in mind, while I find a lot of really great information at Mercola.com, I can't support it all!)

It all boils down to the fact that sucralose (Splenda) is a chemical and not a food. It has been shown to reduce healthy bacteria in the digestive tract by 50%. It has also been shown to increase the pH of the body, which in turn leaves room for more harmful bacteria (like Candida) to flourish. In addition, it contributes to an increased body weight... interesting since it is found in so many "diet" foods. I guess 0-calorie isn't all it's hyped up to be.

Other side effects reported by http://www.truthaboutsplenda.com/ are:

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Migraines Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Allergic reactions
  • Blood sugar increases
  • Weight gain

Here is the rest of the story for those interested in more reading. Be sure to check out the other links Mercola lists.

Second Question: What about Xylitol?

For those of you who haven't heard about Xylitol yet, it is a sweetener derived from natural sources, most commonly birch trees. It is also found in raspberries and plums. It tastes as sweet as sugar but has 40% fewer calories. Xylitol it is not absorbed into the bloodstream as other sugar products are. Consequently, it has very little effect on our blood sugar levels. It simply tastes sweet and then passes through our system.

Xylitol has also been shown to be effective in cavity-prevention. It is in our toothpaste and in our favorite children's vitamins. European studies have demonstrated its ability to reduce ear infections as well. This is due to Xylitol's anti-bacterial properties.

Although Xylitol is marketed in health food stores, I have not tried it in my kitchen. It seems to be a bit pricey, as is Stevia. If any of you have used Xylitol in your home, please comment to let us know what you used it in and how you liked it!

6 comments:

Xazmin said...

Interesting information - thanks! I have always been leery of artificial sweeteners. My mom drives me nuts with all her "diet" drinks that she lets my kids drink!

Xazmin

Christian Frugal Mama said...

I am curious. I've heard fantastic things about agave nectar and I have some and adore it in plain yogurt with granola. I'm just wondering if it really is so great, or just more hype by companies. Thanks! I love your site, so glad I found it on UBP!

Martha said...

A friend of mine recently left a comment on my blog about Xylitol and it was the first time I heard that term. It sounded like an antidepressant to me :o) but I hear it's much more healthier than Splenda. I have a HUGE box of Splenda in my kitchen right now and my husband is loyal to that sweetener (a loyalty formed through the Atkins Diet) but I am considering a healthier alternative.

Lately I have been eating much healthier so I haven't found much use for a sweetener, yet. But when I do, I'd like to find other alternatives.

Please let us know what you find out about Xylitol, I am curious to learn more!

Thank you :)
<3 Martha

Martha said...

Howdy!! The same friend that I mentioned in my previous comment was kind enough to answer my question in her blog, please check it out and hopefully it will answer your questions about Xylitol as well :)

http://love2knit.blogspot.com/2009/03/why-i-use-xylitol-por-que-uso-xylitol.html

<3 Martha

busymomof10 said...

Weight gain??? I switched to Splenda, after two decades of avoiding all artifical sweeteners while bearing and nursing ten children, and now you tell me Splenda causes weight gain??? Where did you find that information?? what a shocker! Makes me just want to go back to my sweet tea! :)

Maztergee said...

I've been using Total Sweet Zylitol Birch wood derived. Can take a few days for your body to adjust to it, i.e i bit of gas (unscented of course as bacteria can't ferment it), then all is well it's just a sweetner which passes through the body without a trace.