What is xylitol?
Xylitol is a low‑calorie sweetener of natural origin that serves as a substitute for conventional sugar. Xylitol is most commonly obtained by extracting the bark of birch trees (hence the name birch sugar), but it also occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables, and the human body can produce small amounts. The main benefits of xylitol are:
- very low glycaemic index,
- low calorie content (2,4 vs. 4 kcal/g for sugar),
- suitability for diabetics,
- sugar‑like sweetness,
- suitability for reduction diets.
The sweetener xylitol can be used as a direct substitute for conventional sugar when sweetening drinks, cooking or baking (it replaces sugar in recipes in a 1:1 ratio). Due to its positive effect on tooth enamel, it is also often added to chewing gum. When consumed in excess, it can have laxative effects. In reasonable quantities, it is also considered suitable during pregnancy.