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Xylitol - Pros and Cons

by (5838)
Updated 31 minutes ago
Created January 14, 2011 at 10:55 PM

I recently found a chewing gum alternative that is sweetened only with Xylitol. Anyone have any good or bad info on it?

I do remember my dentist recommending me a toothpaste with Xylitol a few years back. He said it had been shown to reverse tooth decay. Sorry no reference other than that.

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3979 · July 11, 2012 at 3:35 AM

yep. That's the only downside I experience. Along with stomach upset, of course.

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3979 · July 11, 2012 at 3:34 AM

I'm gonna guess diarrhea.

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5838 · April 04, 2012 at 2:42 AM

@not a doctor, do you have any info on that?

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5232 · April 04, 2012 at 2:22 AM

It's great for using in your netipot.

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106 · October 06, 2011 at 1:00 AM

Nevermind. Let's just say there was one notable negative effect, and you can all guess what it was.

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78422 · February 23, 2011 at 3:21 PM

just see. chewing birch twigs in spirng or drinking birch sap, or chewing birch ash, or birch tar, eating birch leafs there are more really paleo things which are good. dont stick to much on the surface, look behind, go deeper

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · February 23, 2011 at 3:19 PM

birch is paleo. just bei instance.

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9948 · January 15, 2011 at 1:47 AM

Being paleo, I don't consume anything our pre agriculture ancestors didn't have (except modern day animals). All artificial sweetners...even though they are technically not a sugar...are recognized by the body as sugar and react accordingly. I do accept that stevia leaves have been chewed on but those leaves are a far cry from the refined stevia we can buy in little jars.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458
9948 · January 15, 2011 at 1:42 AM

Being paleo, I don't consume anything that our ancestors would not have access to..(with exception of modern species of grazing animals) that includes all types of artificial sweetners. I do accept that people have been chewing on stevia for a long time, but it is a far cry from the processed stevia we can get in a jar. A glucose meter will tell you that all artificial sweetners do raise blood glocose. Even though they are not technically a sugar, the body still recognizes the artificial sweetner as a sugar and reacts accordingly.

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5838 · January 14, 2011 at 11:48 PM

Thank you for the info, Harfatum.

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5838 · January 14, 2011 at 11:47 PM

I was unaware of the link between sugar alcohols and gut bacteria. Glad I asked the question. Thank you Stephen and PaleoGran.

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22913 · January 14, 2011 at 11:16 PM

my concern is the same as with other sugar alcohols. Gut Bacteria. Which ones are being fed?

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5838 · January 14, 2011 at 11:11 PM

Very nice answer. Thanks, PaleoGran

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7 Answers

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D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038
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4124 · January 14, 2011 at 11:07 PM

I have wondered what harm xylitol could do, even though it is said to have benefits for humans.

This bulletin from an animal hospital states:

Xylitol and Humans: Proponents of Xylitol for human consumption have boasted a number of health benefits including discouraging tooth decay, reducing plaque, avoiding sugar spikes, preventing osteoporosis, and even preventing ear infections. Dentists across the U.S. have joined the ranks of Xylitol supporters. For this reason, it is difficult to recommend against pet owners buying Xylitol products.

What Happens to Dogs? While Xylitol does not require insulin for metabolism, Xylitol triggers insulin production in dogs. The excess insulin causes normal blood sugar levels to drop rapidly (hypoglycemia). Clinical signs of Xylitol toxicity include depression, vomiting, imbalance, weakness, or depression. Seizures may result. Xylitol ingestion has also been associated with liver failure in dogs, but research on that subject is still pending.

How Much is Too Much? It had been previously reported that only large quantities of Xylitol would harm dogs. However, recent reports suggest that quantities as low as two sticks of Trident gum may cause serious health problems in a 20lb dog.

http://www.healingspringsanimalhospital.com/2006_08.htm

I have wondered if xylitol has effects on humans that are not being reported. I avoid it.

There is another thread about things one can chew:

http://paleohacks.com/questions/18950/things-you-can-chew/18958#18958

All the best to you. :)

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458
9948 · January 15, 2011 at 1:42 AM

Being paleo, I don't consume anything that our ancestors would not have access to..(with exception of modern species of grazing animals) that includes all types of artificial sweetners. I do accept that people have been chewing on stevia for a long time, but it is a far cry from the processed stevia we can get in a jar. A glucose meter will tell you that all artificial sweetners do raise blood glocose. Even though they are not technically a sugar, the body still recognizes the artificial sweetner as a sugar and reacts accordingly.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10
5838 · January 14, 2011 at 11:11 PM

Very nice answer. Thanks, PaleoGran

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458
9948 · January 15, 2011 at 1:47 AM

Being paleo, I don't consume anything our pre agriculture ancestors didn't have (except modern day animals). All artificial sweetners...even though they are technically not a sugar...are recognized by the body as sugar and react accordingly. I do accept that stevia leaves have been chewed on but those leaves are a far cry from the refined stevia we can buy in little jars.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · February 23, 2011 at 3:19 PM

birch is paleo. just bei instance.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · February 23, 2011 at 3:21 PM

just see. chewing birch twigs in spirng or drinking birch sap, or chewing birch ash, or birch tar, eating birch leafs there are more really paleo things which are good. dont stick to much on the surface, look behind, go deeper

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106 · October 05, 2011 at 10:03 PM

I ate way too much Xylitol today, because I went on a chewing gum binge out of anxiety because I had two tests at school. I must have consumed 20 sticks of gum at least, with Xylitol as the first ingredient. So far, zero negative effects. I'll keep you posted. Glad to be your guinea pig today :)

0fb8c214817d8daf8a67ebeaa7a90edc
106 · October 06, 2011 at 1:00 AM

Nevermind. Let's just say there was one notable negative effect, and you can all guess what it was.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
3979 · July 11, 2012 at 3:34 AM

I'm gonna guess diarrhea.

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1299 · January 14, 2011 at 11:02 PM

As I understand, it has antimicrobial properties due to the fact that bacteria eat it, thinkint it's sugar, but can't actually get any energy out of it.

As far as effects on you, it might be OK, but I'm curious if it disrupts gut flora.

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5838 · January 14, 2011 at 11:48 PM

Thank you for the info, Harfatum.

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7292 · July 10, 2012 at 9:47 PM

what little xylitol you get in chewing the occasional piece of gum is not going to affect your gut flora or your insulin. Moderation is the key. Don't be afraid of insulin, or small things that aren't directly paleo. If you want to be hardcore paleo, cook on an open flame, kill your own meet, etc. Nothing is 100% paleo......nothing. Fresh home grown organic vegetables are not genetically identical to what someone ate 50k yrs ago. Neither is our gut flora identical either, based on what our diet is. The gut flora of an Eskimo is different than a Kitava. Don't focus on the petty stuff.

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10 · July 10, 2012 at 4:22 PM

DIE - A - REE - A - Cha, Cha, Cha!!!

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3979 · July 11, 2012 at 3:35 AM

yep. That's the only downside I experience. Along with stomach upset, of course.

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435 · July 10, 2012 at 9:14 PM

We used to use xylitol gum when my eldest child had baby teeth that were susceptible to cavities (she had antibiotics for a year after birth - not sure if that was the cause). It seemed to help a lot.

Please please please keep it away from your dogs though - an oops cost us $5k treating our pup's liver failure.

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4632 · July 10, 2012 at 4:33 PM

I use Squigle brand toothpaste with xylitol as a main ingredient, and Spry xylitol dental rinse (Spry's toothpaste has xylitol in it but also Splenda which I not only hate the taste of but is gross and toxic). I love the toothpaste and rinse, very few ingredients and I don't get any irritation that I used to get from using toothpastes with foaming agents like sodium lauryl sulfate (tongue swelling, inside of cheeks easily bitten and then it would get worse). So I love the dental products with it. Anyone else who uses it my household calls it "fake" toothpaste or "trick toothpaste" in the case of one guest because it doesn't give them the burn of normal toothpaste that they rely upon... icky.

I don't consume xylitol but I used to be into Spry's cinnamon gum, so I guess I was consuming more then. I only had loose bowel issues from maltitol candies back when I used to do junkie Atkins, not clean Atkins. So I think oral use vs. consumption are two different animals.

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