…… IS XYLITOL ARTIFICIAL OR NATURAL
Where is Xylitol Found?
Xylitol is a natural substance found in many fruits and vegetables. A few of these substances include mushrooms, oats, cornhusks, cornstalks, corncobs, sugar cane bagasse, berries, and birch tree bark. Xylitol is even found in the human body during the normal metabolic process.
Is Xylitol Man-Made?
The simple answer is no. As you’ll read below, xylitol can be extracted from a number of sources. The chemical structure of xylitol found in raspberries is identical to that extracted from corncobs as xylan and hydrogenated into xylitol. Refined xylitol is no more man-made than refined cane sugar.
The Extraction Process
Xylitol is most often extracted from either birch tree bark or corncobs. Both substances contain the xylan hemicellulose, which is extracted and hydrolyzed into xylose, a wood-based sugar. The xylose is then hydrogenated into the raw form of xylitol.
Many prefer their xylitol sourced from corncobs. Others claim that birch tree bark sourced xylitol is healthier and superior to corncob sourced xylitol. However, there is no structural difference between the two, and corncob sourced xylitol is better for the environment. For example: The corncob source uses a natural ion-exchange interaction of hydrogen, hydrochloric acid, and steam. The water waste from this process is used for mushroom farming, and the pulp is used as a biofuel. The birch tree bark source uses sulfuric acid instead of hydrochloric acid, which creates an unusable waste product. In addition, birch trees are far more rare and difficult to farm than corncobs, which are already grown as a source of food.
Is Xylitol Similar to Stevia?
Stevia is sourced from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, and is between 200 and 350 times sweeter than sugar. Like xylitol, stevia is a natural sweetener, and is safe for diabetics to consume due to its low glycemic index. However, xylitol has proven health benefits—it’s a prebiotic, which means it encourages good gut health, and also prevents tooth decay if used regularly. Xylitol also has a 1:1 ratio with sugar, which makes it easier to bake with than Stevia. The two substances are similar, and both provide benefits as a sugar replacement, but it’s ultimately a personal choice which to use.