Keep Your Diet Simple and Sweet with Xylitol

If you struggle to lose weight or to keep your weight from creeping up on the scale, then you are probably taking in too many calories for the lifestyle that you lead. Even those who make it to the gym on a regular basis should pay close attention to what they’re eating, since exercise alone doesn’t lead to weight loss. Once upon a time, low-fat or fat-free diets were thought to be the answer to every dieter’s prayers. While this approach isn’t entirely wrong, it has steered many unfortunate people toward “low-fat” alternatives to their favorite foods.

“What’s wrong with eating low-fat foods instead of burgers and fries?” you may ask. The answer to this question depends on which “low-fat” foods you’re eating. Processed foods labeled “low-fat” are often higher in calories from added sugar: think corn syrup in place of oil in salad dressings and even coffee creamer. Foods that are lower in fat but higher in sugar also tend to be higher on the glycemic index, meaning they can cause blood sugar spikes and predispose you to type 2 diabetes. To make matters worse, if you’re not burning those additional carbohydrate calories, they’ll go straight to your belly, thighs and all the other places where fat tends to accumulate.

Keep Your Diet Simple and Sweet with Xylitol

Recognizing the need to reduce caloric intake from sugar, many dieters turn to artificial sweeteners. Chemical sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose should be avoided at all costs. The FDA has reported on both acute and chronic toxicity resulting from aspartame use, and Italian studies of laboratory mice have shown that regular consumption of sucralose across the lifespan significantly increases the risk for several types of cancer, particularly leukemia. Don’t force yourself to choose between obesity and cancer when you have better options!

One of these plant-derived options is xylitol. Xylitol is essentially a sugar-based alcohol which has been in use among diabetics in Europe for over a century. Although it occurs naturally in the fibers of many different fruits, vegetables and other plants, the xylitol you buy at the store typically comes from corncobs and other high-cellulose (i.e. wooden) plants. Gram for gram, xylitol will reduce your caloric intake by about one-third. This doesn’t sound like much until you consider that the body absorbs xylitol more slowly than sugar, making it less likely to result in blood sugar spikes or the “crash” one often feels after loading up on sugar that is rapidly digested by the body.

In the long run, the slower absorption rate will mean fewer between-meal cravings and greater success with weight loss! Another unusual advantage of using xylitol is that, unlike sugar and most other sweeteners, which are equally bad for your teeth, xylitol has been proven to actually remineralize tooth enamel and prevent cavities! Xylitol comes with two caveats: children as well as women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are advised to avoid xylitol until further studies conclude that it is safe for children. It is also known to be toxic to dogs, so keep it out of their reach and call your veterinarian immediately following any accidental ingestion, even from a small piece of candy.

You can buy xylitol online through a number of online retailers as well as in most natural food stores. When you buy xylitol online, most of what you find will be made from either birch trees or corn. If you have concerns about GMOs, check that the product you are interested in buying – particularly if it is made from corn – is GMO-free.

Losing weight can be difficult if you have regular sugar cravings, but it need not be an uphill battle. Using xylitol and other natural, plant-derived sweeteners in place of sugar and chemical sweeteners will help to put your weight-loss goals within reach.

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