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20 April 2011

The sweet thing about this sugar

Ever dreamt of a sugar that's low in calories, prevents tooth decay and that has healing properties? Then your luck is in.

Ever dreamt of a sugar that's low in calories, prevents tooth decay and that has healing properties? Then your luck is in.

Discovered by Finnish scientists in the 19th century, xylitol was first derived from birch trees. In Europe, it soon became popular as a safe sweetener for diabetics. The major advantage was that it had no impact on insulin levels.

  • Natural bacteria fighter. When xylitol comes into contact with harmful bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Helicobacter influenzae, the bacteria lose their ability to stick to the teeth and membranes of the nose and throat. Most antibiotics kill the bacteria and leave the non-resistant bacteria behind. However, xylitol completely washes away the harmful bacteria.
  • Oral friendly. With regular use, xylitol helps to thwart tooth decay by inhibiting acid formation by bacteria. It also decreases the level of cavity-causing bacteria and plague formation. It helps to harden weakened teeth and aids in the relief of dry mouth by increasing saliva. It also controls infections such as oral thrush.
  • Prevents ear infection. Chewing gum with xylitol thwarts the growth of the bacteria that causes ear infection. It also prevents the bacteria from sticking to the back of the throat, thereby decreasing their chances of multiplying.
  • Safe for diabetics. Xylitol has a low glycaemic index (GI). The sugar alcohol is absorbed slowly, used only partially by the body and has very little effect on blood sugar levels. This is important for diabetics and hypoglycaemics.
  • Possible solution for osteoporosis. According to a recent study done by Finnish researchers, xylitol could be useful in the fight against osteoporosis. In the study, 24 rats were given xylitol as part of their diet for 20 months. The study concluded that regular consumption of xylitol protected against age-related bone loss. Continuous use also increased bone volume.

 
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