T Nation

Better Than SPLENDA?


Here is a snippet from an article I was e-mailed. I haven't looked at any of the links in it yet or googled it or anything, but it sounds almost too good to be true. Anyone have any experience with this stuff? Also if it is true, i'm guessing the cost of it is pretty high.


Yet there is a sweet salvation for health-conscious sugar addicts: Xylitol, also called wood sugar or birch sugar. It can be extracted from fibrous vegetables and fruit, corn cobs and various hardwood trees like birch.

The term "new" in our headline is slightly misleading since xylitol has been a popular sweetener for diabetic products in Europe since the 1960s. First (re-)discovered by Finnish scientists during World War II, xylitol is a natural intermediate product of mammals'--including the human--glucose metabolism. It has been FDA-approved as a dietary food supplement, and there are no known toxic levels of the substance. It looks, tastes and measures like sugar (1 teaspoon sugar = 1 teaspoon xylitol), but has 40% fewer calories and 75% fewer carbs. And if that weren't enough good news for dieters, it also reduces sugar and carbohydrate cravings.

Xylitol is slowly absorbed and metabolized by the body and safe for use by diabetics and people with hypoglycemia. (On the glycemic index, pure glucose is used as a reference point with a score of 100; foods of 55 or less rank as low glycemic; Xylitol is a 7.)

Actually, you could say xylitol is the opposite of sugar, insofar that it prevents and to some degree even reverses tooth decay. Scientific studies have shown that it inhibits harmful bacteria that can lead to periodontal disease. Since it is non-fermentable, xylitol cannot be converted into acids by oral bacteria, thus maintaining a healthy pH-level in the mouth.

With use of xylitol, "The number of acid-producing lactobacilli and streptococci may fall as much as 90%," states the physician-owned website www.xylitol.org. "No acid is formed because the pH of saliva and plaque does not fall. After taking xylitol, the bacteria do not adsorb well on the surface of the teeth and the amount of plaque decreases."

International research has confirmed these benefits. One 5-year follow-up study of 740 Estonian schoolchildren, for example, showed that the caries (the medical term for tooth decay) incidence in children using either xylitol gum or candy was 53.5% and 59% less than that in the control group.

Findings that are echoed by the Journal of the American Dental Association and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, which agree that "Xylitol can significantly decrease the incidence of dental caries."

Another of xylitol's considerable number of benefits is that it inhibits the growth of bacteria responsible for middle-ear infections in young children, reducing the incidence of those infections by up to 40%. Instead of gum, xylitol nasal spray can be used for the same and other purposes--reportedly also alleviating allergies, asthma, and sinus problems.

And that's still not all. Health author Sherill Sellman states that "Xylitol has been shown to be effective in inhibiting Candida Albicans, a serious systemic yeast problem, and other harmful gut bacteria including H. Pylori, implicated in periodontal disease, bad breath, gastric and duodenal ulcers, and even stomach cancer." Moreover, Finnish studies with rats proved that xylitol may not only stop osteoporosis, but in fact increase bone density.

And remember, you can get all those benefits by simply giving in to your sweet tooth. If only staying healthy were always this easy.

[Xylitol sweetener, toothpaste, chewing gum, nasal spray, etc. are available in health food stores and on the Internet on sites such as www.xlear.com.]


I'd avoid it unless you want the worst case of diarhhea that you've ever had. Within 30 min. of consuming Xylitol you can expect to be planted firmly on the toilet with a serious case of the liquid shits. Apparently this is supposed to decrease as you consume it more frequently, but one time was enough for me.

The most natural and safest sugar substitute, in my opinion, is Stevia, which actually has realistic beneficial properties in addition to being sweet. Generally Stevia is combined with inulin fiber or "FOS" which is the food that bacteria in your digestive system eat. Thus, it would have been an ideal choice for Metabolic Drive Complete, rather than Sucralose (Splenda), but it is probably too expensive for that product.


stevia can only be sold as a dietary supplement.

i think for that reason it cannot be added to other things, even though metabolic drive is considered a dietary supplement as well.

xylitol and many other sugar alcohols, yes give you horrendous gas and diarrhea, but whats worse is that they are not all calorie free. According to some studies, some of the sugar alcohols still even impact blood sugar.

Hence diabetics are advised to either stay away from sugar alcohols in entirety, or count atleast half of the total as normal sugar. Most low carb protein bars are loaded with sugar alcohols and they totally substract them when calculating "net carbs". this is not correct.


it's interesting how there is so much positive about it, yet a little case of the runs will turn someone off from it. Lets see, good for teeth. GI of 7 or so, 55 is considered good. may help increase bone mass, etc.....

I mean I have the runs once or twice a week anyways, might as well make it a full week of them and adjust to it.

Also I believe it is being put into gum and mouthspray and stuff, so maybe someone could introduce it to thier system slowly?



God Damn sugar free candy with Malitol gets me everytime. One piece here, one piece there, oh one more piece wont hurt. Fast foward 20 minutes to the stomach rumble and squirts.

F-ing Malitol I hate you and your sweet goodness.


yea xylitol does have one of the lower GI's. According to "Health potential of polyols as sugar replacers, with emphasis on low glycaemic properties" by Livesey,

the GI of xylitol is 13(low but still not 0). mannitol and eryritol do have a GI of 0, as does Polydextrose and glycerine.

However, none of them are calorie free, xylitol, for instance is 3kcal/gram. What's great about xylitol on gum is it apparently has this sort of cooling effect and is powdery enough to coat gum. Stevia apparently has a similar effect but also has somewhat of a minty taste, hence its widespread use in gum and mint chocolates(stevia is also heat stable). Unfortunately it's only legal as a dietary supplement.


I sell xylitol, stevia, agave nectar, and fructose at my store. Xylitol is by far my top choice for diabetics, BUT for average joe, stevia is just fine. As far as diarrhea is concerning xylitol, yes this can and will occur if you use to much before your body adjusts to it. Xylitol is NOT as sweet as fructose and no where near stevia, so people tend to pile it up, which is quite harsh on your system.

So if you plan to use Xylitol, keep in mind to use moderate amounts as to avoid this explosive effecthehe. My favorite thing though is that people that are near insulin resistance/have syndrom X can still have a bit of a sweet treat without killing themselves off. If you want more info, PM me for it,


That's actually what I had thought as well. However, I was reading through the labels of protein powders at the health food store and saw that there was a brand with stevia listed in the ingredients. I can't remember the brand name, but I will try to remember it next time.


What's wrong with splenda? I like the taste. It's more expensive than sugsr, but not that much. You can also bake with it and it won't end up with a bitter taste.


Yeah, Splenda is my choice, too.


You might want to consider getting scoped (upper and lower GI), just to eliminate (no pun intended) any serious conditions.

The Ass Worship Thread would never be the same w/o you, V! :wink:



I'm not gettin no scope. Basically everyone I know who has had had some mishap later down the road. I just think your but is not intended for doctors to be sticking anything up it.

On a side not, when i'm low carbing or just when I feel like it, I subsitute splenda in my cofee or tea. My other sweetener of choice is honey from a local bee farm, I like this because it contains a lot of the pollens of local plants and is good at building up a resistance to them. Plus it tastes good.



Xylitol has been used in teeth-friendly sweets and gum in Europe for a few years now. I've never got the runnies from it (although on the packs of gum/sweets they do warn of a possible laxative effect if taken in high doses). Oh, and I'm talking about sweets and gum sold at regular stores; I think the one I used to buy was Trident strawberry.

As for my low-cal sweetner of choice, I use Splenda. I can't tell the difference between it and sugar.