Agave Nectar and Xylitol — Good or Bad?

by Ann Marie Michaels on October 1, 2008

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Agave plant

I’ve been meaning to post about this ever since I read Rami Nagel’s very well-researched article in the Summer edition of Wise Traditions (Wise Traditions is the Weston A. Price Foundation magazine. If you are not a member, you should join — for only $40/year — just so you can get aricles like this one.).

Sidenote: If you decide to become a member of the Weston A. Price Foundation within the next month (and I hope you will), I have a favor to ask of you. My friend Carrie Hahn of Hahn Natural Foods, and chapter leader of Pittsburgh, is trying to get to the WAPF national conference in November. If she can refer 15 new members, she will get a free ticket to the conference.

Please, if you are going to become a member (and receive this fantastic quarterly magazine chock-full of great articles), sign up here and click on the MEMBERSHIP FORM link. At the very bottom of the form, where it says, “Membership Introduction By:” just write “CARRIE HAHN”.

You will be helping a wonderful woman make her way across the continent to attend this year’s conference. Good luck, Carrie! (I really hope she makes it…)

And now, on to agave nectar…

Rami Nagel did some pretty extensive and impressive research on agave nectar and xylitol for the article, and his findings were not favorable.

Shocking, I know, because many of us do use agave nectar as a sweetener — and xylitol in toothpaste (and other products).

Agave nectar is made from the agave plant, which is a cactus. Sound natural, right? Like maple syrup from a tree, or honey from a beehive.

Only it isn’t.

According to Rami, the modern agave nectar that you find in stores is highly processed and refined. This is not the same agave nectar that traditional people used to consume.

Not only that, but it’s very high in fructose.

Rami writes in his article:

“However, a major concern is the high level of free fructose in agave syrups — much higher than honey and maple syrup. Given what we now now about the deleterious effects of fructose compared to sucrose, honey and maple syrup would seem to be better choices than agave for home cooking.”

Fructose sounds like a good thing (sounds like fruit), but I heard Sally Fallon say that it’s not actually good for us.

Sally Fallon writes:

“Sugar, especially sucrose and fructose has been shown to shorten life in numerous animal experiments. Excessive use of sugar is associated with a rise in blood cholesterol, rise in triglycerides, increase in adhesiveness of the blood platelets, increase in blood insulin levels, etc. Numerous studies have positively correlated sugar consumption with heart disease. These results are far more positive than any of the studies linking heart disease and saturated fats. Moderate use of natural sweeteners is found in many traditional societies. We therefore recommended you satisfy your sweet tooth by eating fully ripened fruit in season and a limited use of natural sweeteners high in vitamins and minerals such as raw honey, dehydrated cane sugar juice (Sucanat) and maple syrup. Avoid all refined sugars including table sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, fructose and large amounts of fruit juice. Source

But why is fructose specifically bad for us?

I found this very concise explanation on Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s blog — in the comments.

Anna who pens the wonderful blog, Going Against the Grain, wrote the following comment on Kelly’s post:

“People tend to think that fructose is a benign sugar, because it is named for fruit (because it was first discovered in fruit). But fructose is only one of the sugars in fruit and it occurs in rather small quantities, very unlike the high concentrations of fructose found in any man-made refined sugar (and IMO, even the raw, unheated agave syrups *are* processed and refined, as they are processed with enzymes and not found in nature, nor are they something that previous generations would have made).

Fructose in high concentrations or frequently ingested in high amounts, is very damaging to the body. First, if it isn’t burned immediately for energy, it goes to the liver, where it is converted to triglycerides, the very same fats in the blood associated with heart disease if chronically at high levels (and also accociated with the small lipoprotein particle size, also not considered good). High amounts of fructose on a constant basis can contribute to Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) which even children are getting now from all the fructose in their diets.

Secondly, the excess triglycerides are often stuffed into the fat cells, increasing insulin resistance, thereby increasing insulin production to very high levels, and contributing to the development of diabetes in a “back door” fashion.

Third, and worse, is that fructose contributes greatly to AGEs (advanced glycated endproducts), which are proteins that have inappropriately attached (without enzymes) sugars (wikipedia has great info on this plus one of my husband’s colleagues researchs glycation). Fructose is the worst for this. It sort of gums up the proteins so that the cell is damaged (sort of caramelized) so the cell can’t properly function (it literally ages faster). This is the cause of much of the damage in diabetic complications. Ironically, diabetics have been advised to use fructose for sweetening simply because it doesn’t directly cause a glucose or insulin spike. But indirectly, it does massive damage. But I won’t go on an ADA rant right now :-).

Anyhow, I would recommend caution, for anyone, not just those with diabetes or potential for diabetes, with the use of agave syrup/nectar products as well as any highly concentrated sugars of all sorts (honey, maple syrup, any cane sugar or beet sugar product – refined or not. While humans do have a sweet tooth, they do not have a physiology that can handle constant access to concentrated sugars and frequent indulgence ; it is slowly causing damage at the cellular level.”

So that pretty much covers it for agave nectar.

But what about xylitol? Sorry, but Rami says it’s a no go.

“… this industrial product is just not necessary. Nature has provided us with many wholesome sweeteners that can be used in moderation without adverse effects in the context of a diet of nutrient-dense traditional foods.”

Bottom line: stick to maple syrup, raw honey, rapadura, palm sugar, and stevia.

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{ 90 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly the Kitchen Kop October 1, 2008 at 2:11 AM

I wish I liked Stevia, but I can’t stand the stuff. I ruined a recipe with it once and still haven’t forgiven it.

I can eat Rapadura in some things (perfect for cinnamon/sugar toast), but in baked goods I think it’s too strong.

Good thing I love maple syrup and honey!

What’s palm sugar?

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LeahS July 18, 2011 at 10:37 PM

I can’t stand stevia either!!! I’m so glad to hear you say that. I always feel like I should try it when I read all these bloggers talking about it.

Palm sugar is SO yummy. Coconut sugar too!

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Ellen October 1, 2008 at 6:07 AM

Kelly, I’ve noticed that not all stevias are the same. I’ve tried a few different brands myself and the only one I like is the KAL brand stevia. The others taste like butt. :)

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Kelly the Kitchen Kop October 1, 2008 at 7:24 AM

Thanks Ellen, I’ll give that brand a try. :)

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Christine Kennedy October 1, 2008 at 8:44 AM

Unfortunately, the only stevia that is actually good for you, is the unprocessed green stevia. Think about it. Stevia is a green herb. How does it get to be a white powder? Through extensive precessing. I have the NOW brand of plain green stevia leaf. And, the taste is not as strong as the white stuff.

I like rapadura/sucanat in baked goods for replacing brown sugar, or in baked goods where chocolate can match the strong molasses flavour.

Palm sugar is found in small “hockey pucks” in asian stores. It is an unrefined sugar from the palm/coconut tree. Very mild in taste. Jaggery/gur is another option. Found in indian stores, it is an unprocessed brown sugar that comes in soft cubes. Jessica Prentice, in her book, Full Moon Feast, recommends both of these sugars.

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Diane October 1, 2008 at 9:45 AM

I tired Xylitol last year only to feel “sick” after using it. It seemed to actually make my Lyme symptoms worse. So, after talking to a couple people who have Lyme and use Xylitol, I thought I’d see how I felt this year…nope, this stuff is crap. I’d really like to know more about the study done on it. I guess I’ll have to back order that copy of Wise Traditions.

I use Maple Syrup on occasion, but it’s really too sweet for me. I strictly stick (no pun) to “Really Raw Honey”. My friend did an experiment using it and found that it does not cause ones blood sugar levels to rise. Not all “raw honey” is truly raw!!!

Stevia did the same thing to me that Xylitol did. I feel sick afterwards. It actually makes the Lyme symptoms worse for me. I agree with Christine, it’s just too processed!

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Kelly the Kitchen Kop October 1, 2008 at 10:51 AM

Hi Diane!

So how do we know if honey is “really raw”?

Thanks,
Kelly

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Lore January 27, 2012 at 4:22 PM

Isn’t this a bit of a “faith” issue? We can’t see every product being produced with our own eyes. Why do we trust one brand over another, because we have faith in the producers but there is not real way to know…even when you leave the producers of, whatever, they could use different practices than what we saw there. Get Menuka honey from New Zealand, it’s guranteed to be alive. It’s very strong tasting and you can tell the difference in it’s being “live” BIG time.

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Anna October 1, 2008 at 11:50 AM

Isn’t around 20% of the population is “allergic” or have adverse digestion of Xylitol? I know if I chew more than two pieces of gum in 48 hours my gut swells and gets rather uncomfortable. :(

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maria October 1, 2008 at 12:42 PM

so a friend of mine sent the below info to me awhile back, I’m still totally confused about this, I have asked several of my natural health docs and they don’t have any info re it being dangerous. I have been using stevia for about a year now, it took me about 6months to get used to it and it only works in some stuff but now that i’ve figured it out i really luv having it as a sweetner.

“Stevia.
Natural sweetener:
Dietary supplement.
Small amounts are probably safe. High doses fed to rats
reduced sperm production and increased cell proliferation in
their testicles, which could cause infertility or other problems.
Stevia can only be sold in the United States as a dietary supplement,
but several companies are reportedly developing a steviaderived
sweetener and plan to seek approval from the FDA to use
it in foods.”

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Carys October 1, 2008 at 2:17 PM

I’ve wondered about agave, since I know it bothers *me* just as much as any other sugar — but then I have fairly serious hyperinsulinemia, so I avoid almost all sugars (even too much fruit can be a problem for me, local raw honey is a huge problem for me, but I can handle a little organic dark maple syrup every so often so long as I have plenty of protein and fat with it).

I do use the white stevia daily (the licorice-y taste of the green bothers me since I can taste it in everything I make). I’m sorry to hear that it’s not particularly good for me, but it’s definitely the lesser of two evils for my body since sugar does such a number on my blood sugar/insulin.

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cheeseslave October 1, 2008 at 6:44 PM

Christine, I will have to try the NOW brand of stevia. I have been using the white stuff to sweeten my coffee but I don’t really like it. It is a little strong.

Funny — I have stevia growing outside in my garden.

Does anyone know how to harvest it and use it? I suppose I could just dry it and then grind it into a powder, right?

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cheeseslave October 2, 2008 at 12:20 AM

Kelly -

I think you have to trust the person who is selling it. I get my raw honey from a local farmer. You want honey that is not heated.

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Jessica October 5, 2008 at 5:30 PM

Would you mind telling more about why Rami gives a thumbs-down to xylitol? I am currently not a WAPF member, but would like to know why xylitol might not be healthy.

Thanks.

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cheeseslave October 5, 2008 at 11:18 PM

Oh man… I’ll have to go dig up the article.

I think they will post it on the site eventually…

You should become a member!

It’s only $3.33 per month to join the WAPF. I swear, the quarterly magazine is totally worth it. I learn so much from each issue.

If you do decide to become a member, please write in Carrie Hahn (chapter leader of Pittsburgh) as the person who referred you. She is trying to get to the conference this year.

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cheeseslave October 6, 2008 at 10:12 AM

Not sure where I put the magazine, Jess (Is your house as messy as mine? Ever since Kate started walking it looks like a tornado hit us every single day) but in a nutshell xylitol is HIGHLY processed.

There’s some info here on Rami Nagel’s site:

http://www.curetoothdecay.com/Tooth_Decay/xylitol_tooth_decay.htm

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Diane December 15, 2008 at 4:06 PM

Hi…we met at the Farmer’s Market in S Monica/Venice at Linda’s egg stand….my son had the autism diagnosis and is improving thanks to diet interventions….I AM PREGNANT. Holy yikes…..Give me a call when you get a chance. Cheers. Di 805-907-8170

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Rita February 7, 2009 at 7:10 PM

I have used Xylitol for years and really love it. It’s perfect for my morning coffee. But after reading Anna’s post about Xylitol gum giving her a stomach ache, I wonder if some of my horrible stomach aches came from Xylitol. Anybody else?

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kellie April 7, 2009 at 9:59 PM

Xylitol and erythitol are both made in China from GMO genetically modified corn!! I’ve seen a few nourishing websites with gourmet recipes using these products (the best website even has an article on it to prove it’s safety for human consumption, yet nothing is mentioned about it being GMO). Run Forest, run… :-)
Kellie.

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iuvenesco June 19, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Some xylitol is made from corn, and is obviously no good. Look for genuine birch xylitol, made in the USA (Emerald Forest).

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cheeseslave April 8, 2009 at 6:15 AM

Whoa for real? I didn’t know that! Thank you Kellie for posting that!

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Tammy L April 13, 2009 at 1:23 AM

I would be interested in more info (criticisms) of xylitol; I did read the article but a lot of the info presented doesn’t fit with my other research into xylitol (and I have done extensive reading about xylitol)! :) I also don’t like it when an author takes something unrelated and tries to use it to prove a point. (For example, xylitol is toxic to dogs — but so is chocolate! :) )

I do think one thing to consider/remember is that xylitol is still a processed food and our bodies are not meant to consume large amounts of it, even if it is “safe”. The recommended amount for dental health is 6.5 to 10 g per day — and the benefit comes from the xylitol being in contact with the teeth (restoring ph balance in the mouth, “starving” the bacteria, and promoting saliva production!) not from going through the digestive tract. :)

As for some people being allergic to xylitol — this is another thing that my research contradicts. Our bodies actually produce a small amount of xylitol!

Anyway, not trying to write a book here; I just wanted to leave some thoughts from the other side since I’ve looked at this topic frequently. :) I’m always open to learning more! :)

Tammy L’s last blog post..Making Your Home a Haven: Evening Routine

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cheeseslave April 13, 2009 at 5:07 AM

Tammy, I didn’t go into any detail on xylitol when I wrote this article — mainly because the article that Rami Nagel wrote didn’t go into much detail either.

Xylitol is a highly processed sweetener made in a factory. It is not made using natural, traditional means and processes. Also, people have not been eating xylitol for a long period of time.

For these reasons, we can’t call it a traditional food. I prefer to stick to traditional sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, stevia and palm sugar. People have been eating these foods for centuries.

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Chris August 27, 2012 at 5:24 PM

This is just not correct. Xylitol is not created in a factory. Of course it is extracted in a factory. Please do some Google-ing. It is not ‘highly processed,’ but it takes a process to extract it. The end result is the same simple 5 chain carbon found in your body and in fruits, etc. It is a naturally occurring substance.

As far as ‘traditional processes’ are concerned… there have been many horrible processed in the past that we no longer use and many new processes that are fantastic.

‘Xylitol is a highly processed sweetener made in a factory. It is not made using natural, traditional means and processes. Also, people have not been eating xylitol for a long period of time.’ Xyltiol has was discovered in the late 19th century and has been used on a massive scale since WWII when sugar was scare. It has been used for years in chewing gum. It has loads of health benefits.

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Steven March 20, 2013 at 8:49 AM

The info in this article regarding xylitol is dead wrong. It’s not highly processed. The stuff made from corn is probably not as good as that made from U. S. birch since the corn is likely toxic GMO.

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Vin | NaturalBias.com May 20, 2009 at 8:46 AM

Hi Ann,

Thanks for pointing this article out to me. I am getting more and more questions about sweeteners and this is great information. I like to keep it simple and stick with the natural foods we evolved on, but a lot of people aren’t satisfied with this simplistic perspective.

Vin | NaturalBias.com’s last blog post..How to Eliminate Sugar From Your Diet

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troy June 5, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Ya…xylitol…I don’t get it. To each is own, but I’ll go w/o the extra gas, ty;) Some sweeteners are fabulous, like stevia, but they aren’t great in all applications. Dr. G’s Delight is a good sweetener that does it all including baking w/o a strong aftertaste, so it’s great for drinks and applications that don’t have masking flavors. It’s amazing to me to see so many negative comments about the “x,” but it’s still soooo popular. What’s up with that?

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Donald June 9, 2009 at 2:09 PM

I read an article today written by Sally Fallon Morell (founder of Weston A. Price Foundation mind you) and Rami Nagel concerning agave nectar. I believe it’s the same one you are paraphrasing above. I found the article to be totally anecdotal, the “science” referenced was questionable at best and the conclusions totally misleading.

This stinks of negative (read: liable) marketing to garner attention for – Weston A. Price Foundation magazine, shameless!

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cheeseslave June 9, 2009 at 5:46 PM

Donald

Um, why is it shameless to promote an article for the Weston A. Price Foundation? They are a non-profit. Why exactly is that a bad thing?

And for what reasons do you call the science into question? Please elaborate.

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Jeanmarie Todd August 1, 2009 at 9:46 PM

This is a very interesting discussion. I have been trying to find information on xylitol, since I use a little of it without apparent problem, and I haven’t turned up anything wrong with it other than that A) it’s toxic to dogs B) it’s processed (but so are diamonds, haha C) it’s allegedly made in China with GMO corn. The brand I usually by, Emerald Forest, claims to be made in the USA, not sure whether GMO. Though, I did buy some from NOW recently and wonder whether that was a mistake. I can’t tolerate sugars because of yeast infections and it gives me headaches; I only buy organic white sugar for my kombucha. I’m not thrilled that xylitol is processed, but in the case of every other processed food I understand why it’s bad, exactly what the processing does to it. But I’ve not been able to find out any specific reason that the processing of birch sugar or other sugar to produce xylitol does something harmful. I’d be interested in knowing that, and in that case I would definitely give it up. But “Ramiel Nagle says it’s bad” just doesn’t cut it as a reason. The only WAPF article I could find on the subject was vaguely cautious about sugar alcohols as a class, but xylitol usually causes the least problems with gassiness, according to the wikipedia entry and my own experience. It seems wise not to consume it to excess, but for sweetening a drink, it seems about as benign as stevia.

Here’s some info from the emeraldforestxylitol.com site:
“Xylitol is naturally occuring in many fruits and vegetables. Once extracted and processed it yields a white, crystalline granule that can be used in any recipe that calls for sugar. It’s good for your teeth, stabilizes insulin and hormone levels, promotes good health and has none of the negative side effects of white sugar or artificial sweeteners. It contains only 2.4 calories per gram and is slowly absorbed as a complex carbohydrate.

Xylitol is a natural insulin stabilizer, therefore it doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar and actually helps reduce sugar and carbohydrate cravings. There is a growing consensus among anti-aging research that maintaining low insulin levels is one of the keys to a successful anti-aging program.
Xylitol has no known toxic levels, though excessive use might cause a mild laxative effect which resolves as the body’s enzymatic activity adjusts. A large percentage passes through the body before the carbohydrates are absorbed, thereby making it safe for diabetics or anyone pursuing a healthy lifestyle.

Xylitol Crystals
Emerald Forest’s Xylitol comes from U.S.-grown hardwood trees.
Xylitol was approved by the FDA in 1963 as a food additive and diabetics have been using it for years. Xylitol has a glycemic index of seven while sugar is 68. Emerald Forest xylitol is made from U.S.-grown hardwood trees which yields is 99.5% pure xylitol crystals. The process of extracting xylitol from its source eliminates the possibility of allergic reactions from plant materials.

Xylitol is approved for use by:
• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration
• The World Health Organization’s Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives
• American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
• The European Union’s Scientific Committee for Food
• The California Dental Association
• Calorie Control Council and many others

Many Journals cite the positive benefits of Xylitol,
including:
• The Journal of the American Dental Association
• The International Dental Journal
• Journal of Dental Research and many others

History of Xylitol
During World War II, Finland was suffering from a sugar shortage and with no domestic supply of sugar, they searched for, and rediscovered, an alternative – xylitol. It was only when xylitol was stabilized that it became a viable sweetener in foods. Researchers also discovered xylitol’s insulin–independent nature (it metabolizes in the body without using insulin).
* * *
Thanks,
Jeanmarie

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cheeseslave August 2, 2009 at 5:49 AM

Jeanmarie –

Sorry, when I wrote that post I didn’t have time to do more research on it.

I would not use xylitol because it’s highly processed and refined. I don’t use agave for the same reason. I believe in eating foods that my great-grandmother would have eaten. Xylitol and agave are modern refined foods. I prefer to eat less refined, more natural sweeteners like honey, sucanat, palm sugar and maple syrup.

Even if xylitol turns out to be safe, we don’t know if it is now. They’re not doing tests and it hasn’t been around very long. So how can we know if it is safe for us to eat? Meanwhile, honey and maple syrup and other natural sweeteners have been eaten by humans for millennia.

The FDA? They also approved aspartame as safe. Any questions about whether that is safe, check out this site:

http://myaspartameexperiment.com/

If you get yeast infections and headaches from eating sweeteners, you may have a candida overgrowth or something. I’m not a doctor so please don’t take this as a diagnosis or anything. And if you don’t want my advice, please disregard it.

However, you *may* want to look into doing some kind of program that restores good gut flora. I used to have similar problems when I was in my 20s. I couldn’t eat any sugar without having symptoms. I went on an anti-candida diet and corrected it. It took a couple of years but after that I could eat sugar with no problems.

If it were me, I’d work on correcting my intestinal flora so I could go back to eating natural sugars. I’m going to do a post about this tomorrow so please check back.

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Steven March 20, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Cheeseslave! It seems you still haven’t done much research on xylitol. since you don’t know that it is naturally occurring, minimally processed, antibacterial, manufactured by the human body, good for diabetics, and the list goes on. Please do more research so your readers get valid data.

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Jenifer March 29, 2013 at 4:46 PM

I agree with Steven. I put xylitol in coffee (organic, of course) along with heavenly, I mean heavy cream. ;) Sometimes I’ll whip up cream with xylitol and put dollops over fresh or frozen berries for dessert. Mmmmmmm! I’ve done my homework on this stuff and the truth is, the benefits are quite incredible.

http://www.vrp.com/xylitol/xylitol-a-sweet-alternative-unique-sweetener-supports-oral-health

Summary of Benefits
Xylitol is a sweet-tasting sugar substitute that has been approved for use in more than 35 countries. Consumption of xylitol is associated with a significant reduction in tooth decay, resulting in fewer cavities and resolution of periodontal disease. Xylitol has been shown to contribute to increased bone density, weight loss, stabilization of blood sugar and lowering of insulin levels. Additional benefits include:

Increases energy by enhancing ATP production
Increases utilization of fat
Replenishes glycogen
Anabolic — keeps biosynthetic pathways open
Anticatabolic —helps maintain lean muscle mass
Antioxidant —generates NADPH, keeping glutathione in an active state
Increases endurance
Reduces free radical and oxidative damage

Dosages of xylitol up to 15 grams per day have been used in clinical studies, with excellent results for a number of clinical conditions. The safety of xylitol has been extensively tested. To date, it is completely devoid of adverse effects. And the best part, is that it tastes good.

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Jenifer March 29, 2013 at 4:55 PM

It looks like the content at the link I gave has been taken off, however it seems the info was derived from this research paper:
http://www.acad.ro/sectii2002/proceedingsChemistry/doc2011-2/art04Vasilescu.pdf

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jasmyn February 25, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Thanks for that link, Jenifer!

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Kate December 24, 2009 at 2:27 PM

Yes me too. I’ll give the brand a try. Thanks :D. Keep it up.
.-= Kate´s last blog ..Wrenched back a hacked email account: and lesson learnt =-.

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HerbalJunky March 29, 2010 at 5:55 PM

I like stevia not only because it is an all natural sweetener but also because it is zero calorie. Some companies have inulin fibre with stevia which makes it all the more good as this helps maintain a healthy cholesterol level.

HerbalJunky

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Summer December 4, 2010 at 3:48 PM

We are using and LOVE the RAW processed coconut products – sugar, syrup, flour and more. http://www.maxamlabs.com/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=27&cat=Coconut+Products

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Maria Janssen January 1, 2011 at 2:32 AM

Hi Does anyone know whether Annie’s Fibre Sweet is safe? It states it is 95% extract from chicory root. They also have Xylitol extracted from corn husk which I have tried but it didn’t agree with me. I have been using Agave for a couple of months (purchased from the organic shop) but will stop this now that I know it is highly processed.

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Katie February 24, 2011 at 9:26 PM

As a chemical researcher, I would like to say that unless you raise the bees and harvest the honey yourself… all “natural” products you buy off the shelf are “processed” in the way you are claiming xylitol is processed. Every consumer item is processed. Xylitol comes naturally from a plant and is a natural laxative. That is why some people have digestive side effects. If it doesn’t agree with your digestive system… that doesn’t mean it is toxic! It is safe for diabetics and has great dental benefits. There are some scientific advances that are worth taking advantage of… xylitol is one of them.

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Janet April 18, 2011 at 5:06 AM

I have been using Xlear; the nasal spray that contains xylitol and it seems to be the best to clean out my sinus cavities to help me feel better. At the first ”sneeze” it stops the symptoms most of the time. It may not help everybody but sure helps me.

Thanks and God Bless!!

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Alisue July 2, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Thanks for this post, I have been researching xylitol and am not impressed with what I read…:(

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Chris November 27, 2011 at 2:28 AM

Regarding Xyltol – You quote Rami extensively, and say his article is well researched. I believe this is not the case. He offhandedly mentions tumors as a side effect, and yet there is no reference given, and there is no medical research or any other information anywhere to support this radical and disturbing claim. As far as I can tell he is the only person ever to have claimed this. I question Rami’s motives.

Furthermore, you claim that Xylitol is a processed food. This is questionable. There is a process used to extract xylitol, but xylitol itself, the end result, is a simple 5 chain sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in nature. It is disingenuous to claim that t is a processed food. It is not like processed cheese for instance, and it is not a man made chemical. It is not like Agave, which is heated to turn it into sugars.

Your body produces 15g of Xylitol a day, and it occurs in fruit, veg, trees, etc. It has been in widespread use for at least 60 years, and there have been no dangerous side effect reported anywhere. There was a problem in Germany with IV use in hospitals, but really… Any it is now being used at Boston Children’s Hospital. Check Clinicaltrails.gov.

And at the end of your article you tell us to stick to Maple Syrup, which is more of a processed food that xylitol! Maple Syrup, like Agave is heated to turn it into sugars, and it is heavily filtered. It does not come out of the tree in the sweet sugar for, so it is not naturally occurring in the form you ingest. Xylitol is naturally occurring the the form you ingest.

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A.connor January 9, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Just read a scathing article on Agave by Dr. Mercola, apparently not being as ‘healthy’ as it’s marketed to be. Basically because it’s over processed and in high demand. Only a VERY FEW businesses that sell it, do it the correct way in a pure way, but they are rare. Most agave is over processed and actually worse for you than High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Here’s the article I came across, hope this helps
(don’t be duped by all the big push marketing. Make an informed choice):

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/agave-this-sweetener-is-f_b_537936.html

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licorice January 17, 2012 at 1:49 PM

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Lore January 27, 2012 at 4:09 PM

Wow, eye opener! I have been making icre cream with Menuka honey and Maple S. (organic of course) and lately I have felt “fatter” (my body reacts to all foods/med’s very quickly) and I’ve had a minor little break out of pimple type things and wondered why, maybe it’s too much sugar? Though I was sure that the naturally occuring “sugar foods” were ok. I glad to see that they are, in moderation. Sometimes I can’t tell if it’s “cycle” related, detox or something I’m doing incorrectly, this gives me food for thought.
Thanks so much for the info, it’s always interesting here..
I have been getting bruises lately and I know that’s a Vit. C thing, do you stick with citrus for that or?

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Lillian August 19, 2012 at 7:39 AM

Xylitol is a no go. That’s it! No further information? You provide much to do with agave nectar, yet no supporting information for xylitol. Your article is only half complete.

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Chris August 27, 2012 at 5:17 PM

the reason for no info is that this assumption is incorrect. Xylitol is fine.

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Jenifer March 29, 2013 at 5:10 PM

That’s right! I think the prejudice against xylitol is just that, prejudice, not based on anything truthful. Even the GMO question may be questionable, although I prefer the kind made from birch, myself. See:
http://karenshealthykitchen.com/The_Truth_About_Xylitol.html
I do agree that agave is detrimental. And I think we need to use caution with most sweeteners, but xylitol is just about ideal in most respects.

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Janet August 19, 2012 at 1:40 PM

A friend of mine says she buys ”raw” agave nectar and she believes it to be just fine.
Personally, I prefer raw honey and maple syrup.
I didn’t know that there was such a thing as raw agave nectar.
At a health food store they carry agave nectar that’s made in Mexico.

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Chris August 19, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Agave nectar is never ‘raw.’ It needs to be heated to kill the enzymes of it woula turn into tequila. Secondly, it is heated which makes it sweet. Raw agave nectar would taste hideous and not have any sweetness at all. The heating process (36 hours) is what turns it into sugars, and that it what it is in the end… pure sugars. It ranges from 60-95% fructose and the rest is glucose. Fructose is terrible for you. Yes it is in fruit, but woudl you put 100 apples on you breakfast in the morning?? It is awful. 30% of it turns directly to fat in your liver, but it is of course never labeled as fat, which is why all of the ‘low fat’ desserts you buy are disgustingly sweet and turn people all over the world into giant weebles with heart and liver disease and diabetes. Don’t believe the ‘health’ food junkie hype. There is very little attention to real science and a lot of wooing around the emperor’s new clothes..

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Chris August 27, 2012 at 5:14 PM

“… this industrial product is just not necessary. Nature has provided us with many wholesome sweeteners that can be used in moderation without adverse effects in the context of a diet of nutrient-dense traditional foods.”

ummmm. Nature also provided us with Xylitol. Your own body produces it everyday (5-15 grams which is actually quite a lot). It is in raspberries and many other fruits. it is a simple chain carbon molecule that is extracted from Birch bark and corn. It is not man made. it is not synthetic. Therefore it is all natural, although the process of getting it is, at the moment, difficult. Sorry, but the quote you have put has been spoken in error.

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Chris August 27, 2012 at 5:16 PM

forgot to add the start of your quote, which was of course referring to Xylitol.

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Jim Valerio June 29, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Will somebody please explain how the American Dairy Industry can get away with putting Aspartame in regular milk…….We can thank Sociopath Donald Rumsfeld once again for getting this crap approved by the FDA in 1981 in order to make himself a multi zillionaire……If you think I’m blowing smoke….Do your research! Rumvorkian single handedly committed the greatest act of white collar geocide in the history of the world in by opinion …… but he hever gets questioned about his dirty deed. The FDA will soon approve putting Aspartame in milk without labeling it! Monsanto has the patent on aspartame …..so I guess it makes sence they can get away with it especially since their executives play musical chairs with as FDA commissioner ! It’s so rigged…..no wounder everybody is so sick from cancer & many other hidious diseases. From Jim in L.A.!

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sar October 17, 2013 at 8:29 PM

I’ve got to say to someone who just found out I have a coconut allergy [ after years of using it sparingly, I discovered this by using it every day will doing the autoimmune protocol diet and I'm kind of heartbroken about it] , Stevia and xylitol seem to be my only two options.

I tried with Stevia vanilla flavored for the first time yesterday and made chocolate chip cookies that are quite possibly the worst thing that ever eaten. They taste like pure chemicals! Not only that, it altered my ability to taste anything normally for hours after eating them!

Today I made cookies with the xylitol and other than being sweeter than sugar, very similar substitute.

It’s a tough call for someone like me with a big speeches, but when it comes down to it I would have to go with Xylitol over Stevia in any day.

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sar October 17, 2013 at 8:31 PM

sorry didn’t get a chance to proof my last post before it went through-I was trying to say “big sweet tooth” and not big speeches!

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Jenifer February 25, 2014 at 9:03 PM

I’ve been making chocolate chip cookies using this gluten-free recipe and substituting xylitol for sugar (the organic chips do contain evaporated cane juice). It’s been too long since I had cookies of any kind. These are great!
http://www.thewannabechef.net/2011/05/04/almond-flour-chocolate-chip-cookies/

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