The best sugar substitute

Personally, I prefer my coffee with a sweetener and I want the best possible taste. And even if a sweetener is the healthiest, if it tastes like a grass, I prefer to consume sugar instead. However, after several tests on various sweeteners, I ended up with the best taste and also a healthy sugar substitute, backed by science.

I am talking about xylitol. Xylitol is used as a natural substitute for sugar and is found in many fruits and vegetables [1]. It contains fewer calories (2.4 per gram) and lower glycemic index (13) than sugar (65). In clinical studies, the group who consumed xylitol supplements lost weight [2], compared to the group that consumed sugar.

Xylitol is tasty. It has almost the same taste as the sugar while leaving a slight touch of dew when you try it pure (not noticeable in beverages though). Also, its texture is the same as sugar, to the point that if you put them side by side, you can not easily distinguish them from the eye.

Close view of Xylitol

Although xylitol’s benefits are already known, since previous studies have shown that xylitol contributes to the prevention of obesity and other metabolic disorders [3], let’s look to some more of its benefits.

A recent study showed that consumption of xylitol supplements reduced sugar and fructosamine levels and improved glucose tolerance, compared to sucrose (sugar), in non-diabetic mice [4].

In a 2014 study, xylitol also distinguished for its anti-diabetic properties, indicating that it is an ideal sugar substitute and supplement for those with blood sugar problems [5, 6], however there are not many studies done to humans on this subject (the above studies were done in mice).

For example, in a study using chewing gum with xylitol, caries decreased [7]. It also acts as a GLP-1 proportional and can therefore have benefits in managing blood sugar [8].

Unlike other sweeteners, which although they have no carbohydrates and no calories, they trigger the body to release insulin, contributing to obesity as a result, xylitol does not have the same effect, so can be used by diabetics [9].

Xylitol increases satiation and reduces the amount of food we eat up to 25% [10, 11], while it also has a positive effect on growth hormone [12].

But is xylitol so good that we can consume large quantities of it without fear? I don’t have the answer on this (although there is not something so far telling that it is dangerous to humans), but I think you should consume it with a measure. Don’t think that because it has no calories, you can eat unlimited amounts.

But xylitol is dangerous for the dogs. Yes, a man’s best friend is in danger if it consumes something containing xylitol, and that’s because the dog’s body increases the secretion of insulin when xylitol enters their blood. This results in hypoglycemia and finally the death of the animal from acute liver failure [13].

At the beginning of the article, I mention xylitol’s taste. Because I tried two products, I’m only referring to them and I can not guarantee that every product will taste good [#1, #2]. Of the two, the first one has a slightly better flavor, although you cannot easily distinguish them. If you are drinking a lot of coffee (or any other beverage) and you are looking for the perfect sugar substitute, try xylitol and you will not want to try anything else. The ratio to sugar is 1:1.


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