Is Xylitol a gift of nature still "ignored" in France?
We now know that sugar accelerates ageing and weakens our immune defences. Too bad we didn't know that before! Now it is explained that it causes or promotes diseases such as diabetes and the destruction of the chewing organ: the dentition. That much we all knew. But recent studies go so far as to link it not only to heart disease but also to cancer and other similar... deadly consequences.
You would know all this if you read publications or scientific journals that "explain it very well", but these readings are for the initiated. As a result, these new data, however crucial, are not "taught" to the general public, i.e. us. This is quite regrettable, isn't it?
These illnesses can be prevented and countered through comprehensive action, integrating the significant reduction of sugar-rich foods into our diet or eating habits. WHO was telling us in 2004 how to reduce chronic disease, the message was already very clear. For the moment, whether in the food industry or in the advertising culture, incentives to eat foods high in sugars continue to work against this.
Despite all these warnings, we continue to consume several kilos of white sugar per inhabitant per year, with worrying forecasts for health by 2016. It would be staggering not to react!
It's a fact that we will never be able to deprive ourselves of sweet flavours, because gluttony... it's human!
Here is an article that will help you decide whether or not, in the near future, you will make the choice to "switch to xylitol! "This question is far from trivial since it concerns your health.
Let's start with a word of culture...
Xylitol is a natural substance discovered by the Germans and the French at the end of the 19th century. It is a gift from nature but they don't know it yet... It is only in the 70's that its properties for human health were studied by the Finns.
Their research has led to the applications we know about today. Finally, when I say "we", I am referring mainly to the countries of Northern Europe. Norway, Sweden and Denmark, which have also included xylitol in their health habits, consume it every day and throughout their lives.
Xylitol is usually derived from birch, as this species is very widespread in Finland. It was developed during the last World War to compensate for the sugar shortage in Finland at that time.
This explains a little why Finns have regularly benefited for almost 40 years from good information provided by dentists and in advertising spots. They are closely followed by Asians, who have also been won over by the general health benefits of this product.
But it's not all birch xylitol. There are other origins or "varieties":
- Extracted from corn cobs, it is better known as mithana Xylit and has qualities identical to those of birch bark. My various researches did not reveal any significant difference. The only risk is that it comes from transgenic corn.
- It is also extracted from sugar cane.
- It also occurs naturally in our bodies.
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So in some parts of the world xylitol has won the title of best natural sweetener and remains to this day uncontrollable. Why not in France?
In Finland, as in some Northern European countries (Norway, Sweden, etc.), oral health efforts have for decades focused on prevention.
It appears that in France the approach is a little different. Dental repair and restoration seem to be in pole position (implants, prosthesesThe needs are very real!
Statistics and surveys show us that France is not a very good student of oral hygiene and it is not an outrage to say so, even if behaviour is changing, it is true.
I invite you to search for "French dental hygiene" in Google and you will understand. Periodontitis, also known as periodontitis, affects 80% of the western adult population, making it the most common chronic disease. (source 1= "Office" 2= "Dental" 3= "Hildebrandt " language= ": ").
Despite a little negligence (it is true) on the side of oral hygiene, it is likely that this is not the only reason. Food hygiene seems to take an important part of responsibility in the causes of this situation in our country.
If we decide to put prevention back at the centre of our efforts (can a layperson say so?), then it will be necessary and indispensable to consider changing our eating habits. Yes I know, it would not be human to have to deprive ourselves of pastries and other delicacies! This is why xylitol seems to be a good alternative.
Can Xylitol really replace sugar?
The answer is YES.
Unlike aspartame, which is a synthetic product, xylitol is of NATURAL origin. It has the same sweetening power as sugar and does not have the aftertaste in the mouth that other products leave. It gives a feeling of freshness which is rather positive for a sweetener.
On the scientific side, it is a 5-carbon sugar alcohol from the family of polyols (polyalcohols or glycols).
You can consult the toxicological repertoire to find out the other names for xylitol.
What we must remember is that it is good for humans, if we learn to consume it without excess.
It should be noted that there is a controversy regarding the classification of xylitol in the category of products that would "certainly be carcinogenic in the same way as aspartame"... but no study has been able to prove it formally. The Finns have neither observed nor confirmed this information in 30 years of consumption. This does not mean that it is false.
Okay, but how do we consume the xylitol? Are there any restrictions?
We know that xylitol is now found in the chewing gumThere are also jams and biscuits that get their sweet taste from xylitol.
- In order to accustom the digestive system it is best to start with small amounts, according to experts.
- Then, it is recommended to consume 10 to 15g of it every day in three times for example.
- At excessive doses of 50g per day it can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea.
- It is not at all recommended for infants but recommended for children over 3 years of age.
Even when cooked, the flavour and texture of xylitol remains similar to the flavour of sugar under the same conditions.
- It can be used in the preparation of cakes. Half of the expected amount of sugar (sucrose) is sufficient.
- In hot sweet and salty dishes... the result is the same as sugar.
- It's perfect for sweeten coffee and tea.
- In desserts it replaces sugar in yoghurts, pancakes, fruit salads ...
For people with diabetes: Report of the Scientific Committee for Human Nutrition (1985) : Xylitol is to date the only way for diabetics to regain true sweetness, and this deserves to be mentioned. Its metabolism does not require insulin, and with a low glycemic index of 8, it can be incorporated into the diet of diabetics.
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As a precautionary measure, they will have to refer to their dietician to adapt it to their diet or protocol.
People affected by a sugar ban or sugar intolerance no longer have any reason to deprive themselves of sweets, provided they prepare them with xylitol and discuss them with their doctor beforehand.
What are the benefits of Xyulitol on human health?
- We know how effective it is in the oral sector and have been using it for a long time. ► Xylitol is a safe weapon in the prevention of tooth decay. But it is not only acariogenic and anti-cariogenic. Xylitol remineralizes the teeth and in some cases it can even regenerate the decayed tooth.
It seems useful to clarify an important point. Through kisses on the mouth, a person who consumes xylitol no longer transmits the cariogenic bacteria of which he or she is a natural carrier. What is meant is that "kisses" are also a means of transporting these bacteria. As it is unimaginable to limit these tender gestures, it is enough to neutralize their negative effects.
-• Xylitol protects against ear infections in children 3 to 6 years old. ! Reliable evidence for better understanding and learning (read a PDF document of the "Cochrane Summaries"). 8 to 10g in 3 intakes per day are sufficient to obtain a preventive effect.
- Xylitol is a remedy against strong breath and halitosis whatever the cause. Chewing gums are effective because they help to increase the production of saliva which itself contains an antibacterial : lysosyme.
- Xylitol basifies the mouth. Bacteria in the mouth are unable to ferment it. The pH remains stable and the acidity in the mouth, which causes caries, does not increase as with other sugars.
- It's the ideal partner for staying slim or following a diet. Indeed xylitol is 40% less caloric than sucrose (sugar). There is no need to deprive yourself of the sweet flavours to lose weight (2.4 kcal per gram).
Well, I'll end here with the hope that this article will have helped you see a little more clearly...
You are now informed and ready to decide for yourself whether or not to use xylitol as a substitute for conventional forms of sugar. The choice is yours. Your health depends on all these small daily gestures. So, you will have understood that, in addition to daily hygiene, to help you maintain good oral and general health, reducing your sugar intake will eventually become a natural part of your life.
Xylitol instead of sugar is a seductive theory.
In practice, it is more expensive than sugar, at the moment it is a speed bump. Hopefully things will change in the years to come. But until you find xylitol cakes in your bakery, you are free to choose.
Dominique Casoni, Oral-Osmose company manager