Xylitol: Not as Sweet As It’s Cracked Up to Be

by Sarah Healthy LivingComments: 450

don't fall for xylitol

Xylitol is truly the darling of sugar substitutes today. The American Dietetic Association touts use of xylitol, a sugar alcohol sold alone and in a variety of processed foods, as offering health benefits such as reduced glycemic response compared with sucrose, increased absorption of B vitamins and calcium, and even a reduction in dental caries risk.

Consequently, people with blood sugar issues are flocking to processed foods containing xylitol as a way to satisfy that sweet tooth without the downside of exacerbating the risk factors for Metabolic Syndrome:  heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Even within the healthfood community, xylitol is almost universally considered a healthy substitute for sugar in particular because it doesn’t directly contribute toward the growth of intestinal yeasts aka Candida.

Have you noticed that the check out aisles at healthfood stores are typically loaded with chocolates and other sweets containing at least some xylitol?   The truth is that I have yet to talk with any healthy conscious person who suggests to me any downside to using xylitol other than the potential for intestinal cramps if you get too much.

Xylitol is Naturally Found in Nature

Xylitol is, after all, a naturally occurring substance.  Manufacturers of xylitol market it as derived from xylan, which is found in the fibers of many plants including berries, oats, beets, sugar cane and birch. Sounds pretty harmless.

The FDA has even granted xylitol GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status. You can’t get any safer than that, right?

How Xylitol is Manufactured

While it is true that xylitol is a naturally occurring substance, manufactured xylitol is another matter entirely.   Commercially available xylitol is produced by the industrialized process of sugar hydrogenation.   In order to hydrogenate anything, a catalyst is needed, and in the case of xylitol, Raney nickel is used which is a powdered nickel-aluminum alloy.

Can we say heavy metal residue?  Xylitol doesn’t seem quite so warm and fuzzy anymore, does it?

While there is currently no literature on any detrimental health effects of consuming hydrogenated sugar, it is important to note that hydrogenated fats and oils were used for many years before the very damaging effects to health became widely known.

Given the violent industrialized process that is required to produce a hydrogenated sugar like xylitol, it would seem wise to avoid it based on the very poor track record of hydrogenated foods in general!

Most Xylitol Comes from GMO Corn

While it is true that xylitol can be derived from the xylan of birch trees, xylan is also found in corn cobs.  It is much cheaper to use corn instead of birch bark to derive xylitol and so what do you think manufacturers prefer?   Corn of course.

Therefore, unless the label of a xylitol containing product specifically notes that it is from birch, beets or some other non GMO source, run of the mill corn derived xylitol is very likely from genetically modified corn.  This is the same problem as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) widely used in sodas and sports drinks.

You get a dose of GMOs with every sip!

Xylitol Contributes to Gut Imbalance 

Sugar alcohols like xylitol are not broken down in the stomach like other sweeteners.  Rather, they arrive intact into the intestines.

At that point, a process called “passive diffusion” takes place whereby the xylitol draws water into the bowels.  This results in only partial breakdown of the xylitol.  The unmetabolized portion ferments; the perfect environment for undesirable bacteria to grow.

And, while it is true that xylitol itself does not feed candida directly like sugar does and is even promoted as a useful part of the Candida Diet, the fermentation of undigested xylitol in the gut most definitely can exacerbate yeast problems, so don’t be fooled by that argument!

This is exactly why consuming xylitol can make some folks so gassy and even trigger cramping and diarrhea.  Gut pathogens having a heyday in your intestines give off a lot of smelly toxins!

 Other Little Known Problems with Xylitol

Xylitol can contribute to acid reflux problems so those who have issues in this area should avoid it for that reason alone.  Chronic acid reflux is a serious problem that can lead to cancer of the esophagus and larynx.

In addition, those who suffer from seizures of any kind should stay away from xylitol as it has been known to increase the frequency of epileptic attacks.

Enough Xylitol in Two Pieces of Gum to Kill a Rat

According to lab tests, a 100 gram rat can be killed by approximately 1.65 grams of xylitol about half the time.

Two little pieces of xylitol gum contain about .7 – 1 gram of xylitol – enough to probably kill your child’s pet rat.

Do you want your child chewing this gum sweetened with sugar alcohol on a frequent basis even if preliminary research indicates that it may help prevent cavities?

Rami Nagel, author of Cure Tooth Decay, doesn’t even recommend xylitol gum for this purpose.  His research for any long term safety data on xylitol turned up the following:

“Epidemiology: No information found

Teratogenicity: No information found

Reproductive Effects: No information found

Mutagenicity: No information found

Neurotoxicity: No information found”

When Might Xylitol be Helpful?

Given all the problems that consumption of xylitol can trigger, it seems best to bypass use of this sugar substitute on a regular basis.

Can xylitol ever be helpful, however?

Potentially so.  The only time I personally would ever consider using xylitol is to help resolve a childhood ear or sinus infection in order to prevent the use of antibiotics.

There is evidence that xylitol can indeed help encourage a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria found in the ear canal and sinus cavities and that a therapeutic dose of xylitol can help resolve an infection in these areas quickly with no medication required.

One caveat:  If you are going to use this sugar alcohol sparingly and therapeutically (not as a food), make sure it does not come from a GMO source like corn!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


Sources and More Information

Sugar Free Blues: Everything You Wanted to Know about Artificial Sweeteners

Sugar Alcohols: Avoid for Better Gut Health

Yacon: Healthy Syrup or Healthfood Hype?

 Xylitol:  Is it Safe or Effective?

Cure Tooth Decay

Comments (450)

  • Jane

    I have never heard of Xylitol being derived from corn. My husband had nasopharyngeal cancer that required radiation. He was told that he would lose all of his teeth within a couple of years due to the intense radiation. They had him try xylitol gum and after 8 years he hasn’t had so much as a cavity. I also have chewed the gum for 8 years with no problems. My chronic ear infections are gone and my mouth is healthy. I have never experienced “gut” problems and neither hads anyone in my family. Animals cannot eat xylitol….they also cannot have chocolate, grapes and a host of other foods that humans eat. Rats dying from eating xylitol doesn’t mean anything. My dentist gives xylitol gum away free to her patients because it controls inflammation and plaque.

    June 23rd, 2016 9:14 am Reply
  • James J McGrath

    I’m a Diabetic so my main concern is simply my blood glucose level. Well, I’ve tried this stuff and I don’t get “sweetness” from it. I get “long lasting “bitterness” from it. I just don’t understand people saying it has no unpleasant aftertaste, That’s all I get from it, an unpleasant taste that lingers long after I have consumed it..

    May 18th, 2016 10:47 pm Reply
    • MaddyG

      James, check out Lakanto; it’s a combination of Lo Han Guo and a fermented sugar alcohol, so not only does it taste wonderful (no bitterness and every bit as sweet as sugar, even in baking), it never bothers my stomach because of the pre-fermentation and being digested completely differently. No GM ingredients, either. Great stuff and worked like a charm in banana bread and my morning iced latte. Hope this helps! The Body Ecology website has a great info page about it, they have been recommending and importing it for ages.

      July 1st, 2016 2:29 pm Reply
  • Gemma

    I use Xylitol derived purely from birch tree extract. It contains no GMO corn and other forms of xylan at all.

    Of course, I know when I’ve over done it. I get the runs. By now I know not to consume too much of it each day. Personally, the health benefits outweigh any downsides, and for me, the only downsides I’ve ever experienced with this product is a) when I consume too much of it, it has me running to the toilet, and b) it’s darn expensive. 😉

    May 15th, 2016 4:10 pm Reply
  • Andrea Humphries

    This article got me worried that I’ve been killing off my probiotics so I tried a little experiment. I made yogurt with xylitol…meaning I mixed the xylitol in BEFORE culturing the yogurt. I used filmjolk cultures this time and plan to try every other variety I have at some point. The yogurt cultured perfectly. It will be interesting to see if the culture will perpetuate.

    April 15th, 2016 7:11 pm Reply
    • Andy

      Xylitol is actually a pre biotic.. It’s a soluble fibre that encourages health gut bacteria…

      July 29th, 2016 7:44 pm Reply
  • Steve Smith

    Hi again. Have just scrolled through the 444 comments again and seen there is reference to Stevia. The China product is white…processed. They use bleach to take out the chlorophyll in the pure green leaf???
    I think using Stevia leaf daily is fine, but I now, putting mind to the matter, see my daily consumption of the white stuff with those added ingredients is not going to be good for me on daily basis. Maybe worst than a tablespoon of brown sugar a day? (unless cancers cells in me are proliferating in me unbeknown!)

    March 26th, 2016 5:22 am Reply
  • Dallas Wayne

    I’ve have been getting very very sick since last May. I’ve had to go to the ER 6 times and I’ve spent about a dozen days admitted in the hospital. I’ve been nauseated every single day. I have to take Carafate and 3 other drugs to keep me for vomiting and dry heaving. Well, I stopped using Ice Breakers yesterday and suddenly, I’m not sick today. I do believe it is because of Xylitol because I’VE QUIT EVERYTHING ELSE. Even not eating on many days to keep for getting sick. My hospital bills have reached in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. I hate that an approved product did this to me. Beware of Xylitol. I have heart problems too and this stuff has almost killed me a few times. I hope this helps someone out there.
    Thank you.

    March 16th, 2016 6:52 pm Reply
    • Tomasz Faber

      Hi, I eat xylitol every day since long few years and have no any health problems.
      The problem is that some companies sell xylitol produced from genetically modified corn, there are some that sell non-GMO xylitol. It is, therefore, advisable to check thoroughly before investing in GMO derived product.
      Xylitol is that it has almost no side effects if used as recommended.
      Check this please: “Long-term tolerance of healthy human subjects to high amounts of xylitol and fructose: general and biochemical findings”


      March 21st, 2016 3:59 pm Reply
      • Sarah

        You forget that conventional medicine as of today still doesn’t recognize damage to gut flora as a health problem but it is a HUGE issue to long term health. Xylitol damages the gut flora and overall gut environment. Long term use would be very foolish indeed.

        March 21st, 2016 5:33 pm Reply
        • Steve Smith

          Hi, I have not seen anyone commenting about use of Stevia as maybe the best alternative ‘sugar substitute’. I use for sweetening beverages but unfortunately it comes from China, (a country of gross pollution so any foodstuff from there can be contaminated), and it has as 2nd listed ingredient Xylitol, then sodium cyclamate, then saccharin, then sodium salt.
          Of course the great thing about Stevia is the punch of sweetness from miniscule quantities, so I imagine all the other ingredients including the Xylitol (also ‘suspect’ or not I wonder?…have not done the research yet) will only be ingested in micro doses also, so not a major threat to health as opposed to tablespoons of sugar or Xylitol in a juice for example
          What are your thoughts on this Sarah?

          March 26th, 2016 5:13 am Reply
          • Sarah

            Stevia is fine in moderate amounts. Don’t overdo though as some people have a tendency to do.

            March 27th, 2016 5:08 pm
          • Andrea Humphries

            It’s harder to find, but you can get the unrefined stevia extract w/o additives. It should be a really dark green liquid. Some herb shops and other online stores will sell the raw organic powdered leaves. I’m not sure how the flavor compares as I have never tried the refined stuff but I don’t like anything else in my tea now that I have acquired a taste for it.

            April 15th, 2016 7:07 pm
    • Christine

      I’ve never heard of anyone getting sick like that from Xylitol. If it was xylitol that made you sick, the only thing I can think of is that you are seriously allergic or intolerant to it. Or like another commenter said you may have been consuming the one derived from GMO corn. I love the stuff but moderation is key for everything right?

      June 9th, 2016 4:40 pm Reply
    • Aldine Dallas

      I can relate, I have have had symptoms for three years! Migraines, nausea, diarrhoea, terrible anxiety, insomnia and no amount of medication worked. Then I stopped Xylitol and it all clear up!

      June 16th, 2016 6:20 am Reply
  • Hans

    This is such complete nonsense. Xylitol does not “feed bad bacteria” at all. Xylitol acts against biofilms in your intestine, that is why some people have a violent reaction to it- they have bacterial or fungal overgrowth in their intestines and anything that attacks those will cause a bad reaction.

    March 11th, 2016 5:38 am Reply
    • Dallas Wayne

      You’re sadly mistaken. I’ve spent a dozen days in the hospital over the last 8 months because of Xylitol. I’ve been sick every single day until now because I stopped using Ice Breakers (Xylitol).
      Good luck.

      March 16th, 2016 6:55 pm Reply
  • Jess

    I’ve been using Xylitol for a good while but I always make sure it’s non GMO from birch trees. But here’s the thing if you are coming off a high sugar diet you need to do it GRADUALLY. It doesn’t matter if you choose good Xylitol. If you go cold turkey on sugar when your body is used to it and switch completely over to Xylitol if will shock your system.

    March 1st, 2016 7:28 pm Reply
  • kt

    Is Peelu brand gum ok? It says non GMO! Thx & God bless!

    February 9th, 2016 4:35 am Reply
  • Casper

    I don’t really see the need to ingest the xylitol, if it is only for dental hygiene. You could take a quarter teaspoon into your mouth, swish it around, and spit out the rest. You don’t need a lot. One piece of chewing gum must be just 1 gram or so. I usually bite my chewing gum pieces into halves (more for economical reasons, though), that is enough for keeping a clean mouth after a meal when there is no access to my toothbrush.

    The sachets with 4 grams of xylitol for dental hygiene, which somebody mentioned, sounds like an unnecessarily large dosage. And why swallow it you only need it to work in your mouth?

    Would you rather rinse your mouth with fluoride or isopropanol, or even triclosan, which many commercial tooth rinse products contain? I wouldn’t. I have tried using vodka, but it makes me feel like an alcoholic, doesn’t taste nice at bedtime.

    January 29th, 2016 8:16 pm Reply
  • Stephen McQuaid

    Xylitol should come with a warning. I bought it unknowingly and started using it with my new diet. I was having horrible cramping and diarrhea on and off. I didn’t link it to the Xylitol at first. I just thought my body was adjusting to my new diet. A week went by that I hadn’t used Xylitol and then I put about about 2 Tbs or 27 grams in a dessert I had made. Within about 30 minutes my ass exploded and did things I didn’t know it was capable of. I was up all night with cramping and diarrhea. You can say whatever you want about people being allergic to fish or peanuts but there is no comparison. Little is known about Xylitol by most people and it is advertised as the best sugar substitute. With so many people having negative side effects there should be a warning.

    January 28th, 2016 1:57 am Reply
    • Gemma

      27g is a LOT, no wonder your ass exploded. It’s a well known side effect of Xylitol that if you consume too much in a day, it’s going to give you the runs and maybe some stomach pain. You’re supposed to go easy on this stuff.

      May 15th, 2016 4:04 pm Reply
  • Renee

    I drank about 40 grams of xylitol in juice. I’m not totally sure it was 40 grams, but I don’t think that’s too far off as an estimate. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less, but about that much. I’m not used to xylitol and didn’t know there were side effects. As soon as I had finished the juice, I didn’t feel too well, and it kept getting worse. After a couple hours I felt like throwing up, had stomach pain, intestinal cramping, diarrhea, nausea. So I looked it up and found out that the amount I had is known to cause such side effects.

    I read that charcoal wasn’t really effective to reverse xylitol toxicity in dogs, but I decided to try it anyway. I mixed a couple tsp of activated charcoal in some juice (WITHOUT xylitol!) and IMMEDIATELY started to feel better.

    I also became itchy and felt like my hands and face had a rash all over. You couldn’t see it, but I could feel it, and it was painful. Another thing about the overdose is that it dehydrated my body and I would have gotten a bad dehydration headache, too, if I hadn’t been drinking enough water.

    I know that some good things can cause a die-off reaction … like kombucha. First time I had that stuff I didn’t know it could cause die-off, so I drank quite a bit. And suffered from it! I found out through that that one should start off with small amounts to avoid the major die-off.

    However, with xylitol, I have a hard time believing this is a die-off reaction and xylitol is good and healthy. It isn’t sugar, but it’s a sugar alcohol. I’ve been wary of it for years as a corn derivative and all that stuff. This was my first time to actually have it in something other than the occasional piece of xylitol gum or candy. And now you won’t be getting me to try it again anytime soon. :) I’m not opposed to a little bit in gum or candy here and there, but I’m NOT planning to try another accidental OD again!!

    If anyone does OD on xylitol, try activated charcoal (but do it sooner than I did, to save yourself a little misery). Xylitol pulls water from your body into your intestines, so be sure to drink plenty of water, preferably sip by sip (drinking too much at once can make diarrhea worse).

    August 25th, 2015 12:02 pm Reply
    • Jwf

      What you experienced would have been better resolved by a substance that is known by numerous names. Colic Drops, Gas-X or the generic name, Simethicone would have knocked down the foam that was occurring in your GI tract and allowed you to pass the gas far less painfully. The beauty of simethicone is that it can only vaguely be described as a drug. It passes through the digestive system 100% unabsorbed and chemically unaltered. Its therapeutic function is to break up the surface tension of the bubbles that form the foam (that made you feel sick) so they can consolidate into a good long burp or passage of gas. The pressure you caused in your stomach and intestines could have come up as foamy vomit or forced out semi-digested food as diarrhea.

      October 25th, 2015 12:48 pm Reply
    • Moe

      It’s not unusual to have GI reaction to xylitol…you’re supposed to start slowly with ANY dietary change. Also there are different sources for making xylitol; corn and American Hardwood..if you’re using GMO corn type you’re subject to more problems. And if you think xylitol causes problems..try reading up on granulated/white table SUGAR; Amputations, blindness, cardiovascular disease, gestational diabetes…just to be fair here!

      December 10th, 2015 2:40 am Reply
    • Jess

      40 grams?! Ugh why would anyone do that. Your body is used to one sort of substance and then you shock it by randomly introducing another, and at such a high level. I’m sorry but I have no sympathy for obvious human error. When venturing into alternative foods and such people should do proper research. Don’t go complaining when you clearly mess up. It’s not like there isn’t any information out there or that Xylitol companies are trying to keep you in the dark:

      “Xylitol is considered a healthy alternative to sugar and lacks major side effects. In fact, most users experience no side effects when using the recommended dosage (usually 6-8 grams/day) for dental benefits.
      However, beware too much too soon. For example, when using Epic’s xylitol-powered products for cooking and baking, some people who use xylitol in large quantities (usually more than 40 grams/day) may initially experience diarrhea. Many of these people report that the diarrhea subsides even as they continue to use large quantities of xylitol. Their digestive systems adjust to the xylitol.”

      March 1st, 2016 7:38 pm Reply
  • Gareth

    I think the best thing to do is to totally cut out refined sugar and use and sugar substitute in moderation. as with all foods always source good quality products. If you have existing medical condition any change in your diet may increase your condition. As with many products on the market it is important to check the ingredients contained in them. Many food manufactures use products like xylitol as a selling tool in there brands to give it the impression of being healthy, however many other products are added to improve the taste and more importantly to the food manufactures the COST of manufacture process. The basic facts are Xylitol is far more expensive than cheap sugars used in food products. I would suggest that you should use Xylitol in its rawest form and introduce it in small qty’s to start with, record any side effect you have and if a pattern emerges stop using it. this goes for any new product/food you are not used too.

    July 7th, 2015 5:02 am Reply
  • Andrew

    “a 100 gram rat can be killed by approximately 1.65 grams of xylitol about half the time.

    Two little pieces of xylitol gum contain about .7 – 1 gram of xylitol – enough to probably kill your child’s pet rat.”

    Okay, so I weight, 140lb. So 140*0.0165 = 2.31lb. Therefore if I had a similar metabolism to a rat, I would have a 50% chance of dying if I ate 2.31 pounds of xylitol. I could probably eat less salt and die.

    Actually, wiki says “Oral LD50 of Table Salt: 3000 mg/kg in rats “. So yes, I could eat about half as much table salt and it would give me the same chance of dying.

    July 3rd, 2015 3:16 pm Reply
    • Andrew

      Pardon, my math was off, it’s LD50 is 3000mg/kg, so it wouldn’t take half as much, salt’s LD50 is actually 5.5x lower. So you wouldn’t need “about half as much”, as I had said, you would need 5.5 times less salt to kill a rat, and maybe a human? Crazy, salt is deadly… Watch out for salt. Don’t go eating a whole pound of it, it’ll kill you.

      July 3rd, 2015 3:24 pm Reply
  • Charlie

    This article just contradicted everything mentioned in this article… The world is filled with too many hypochondriacs….

    June 19th, 2015 3:03 pm Reply
    • Charlie


      June 19th, 2015 3:04 pm Reply
  • bev

    Lets get a few facts straight here regarding xylitol. If you eat a plum or strawberries or mushrooms or cauliflower, one of the sugars that make the fruit or veges sweet is xylitol. In our bodies, every day, during normal metabolism, xylitol is made. In Finland, during the war, they had no sugar so found xylitol from breaking down the bark of a birch tree. Now xylitol is made from any waste plant material that contains hemi-cellulose, one of the structural material in plants. Yes acid is added to break down the long chains of xylans but once that process has happened, the mixture is sieved and the acid neutralised….. basic chemistry…acid + alkali = salt + water so there is NO residual sulphuric acid in xylitol. SEcondly, yes xylose is converted to xylitol by hydrogenation using a Ni catalyst, but once the chemical reaction has taken place the Ni is removed from the mixture through electrolysis, hence NO heavy metal in the xylitol and you end up with pure xylitol which is exactly the same chemical formula as the xylitol found in the plum etc. C5H12O5. And it doesn’t matter what you start with to make the xylitol…sugar cane bagasse, corn cobs, birch bark, rice husks, it is exactly the same product…C5H12O5. So for those of you who have had the negative reactions that you put down to xylitol eg eating xylitol gum, please check the other ingredients as well because all the ‘xylitol gums’ that I have found locally also contain sucralose or aspartame. Research has shown that sucralose results in loss of breath. So lets keep to the facts and as suggested above, get some double blind scientific research published before we make unauthenticated claims.

    May 18th, 2015 6:04 am Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      There’s fructose in fruit too … this doesn’t make high fructose corn syrup healthy does it?

      May 18th, 2015 7:29 am Reply
      • Tracy

        Sarah, clearly you are not a fan of xylitol however there seem to be some flaws in your arguments, and I haven’t been able to find research to support your claims. The reality is that people everywhere have different reactions to different products. I have a horrible reaction to pineapple, and an even worse that horrible one to avocado. But that doesn’t mean either of those foods are bad because millions of people eat them every day with no problem. It isn’t fair to equate human consumption with that of dogs or mice because each metabolize things differently. I definitely appreciate your opinion of the potential side effects as it gives me things to look for, but so far I view xylitol as a viable alternative to sugar. I am actively doing research though and would love any suggestions on a product to use for cooking and as an additive for coffee, tea, ect. I do not like Stevia at all as it has an aftertaste that I just find unacceptable.

        May 26th, 2015 12:55 pm Reply
        • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          Ummm, except that pineapple is actual food and xylitol is a highly processed factory frankenchemical. Please check the refs on this article.

          May 26th, 2015 2:03 pm Reply
      • Catherine

        Here is why your argument is bad:

        bev argues that a plum’s xylitol is: C5H12O5
        She then argues manufactured xylitol all ends up as: C5H12O5
        Her argument: Apples to apples, it’s all apples in the end.

        You argued apples to oranges:

        fructose in plums : manufactured high fructose corn syrup

        July 21st, 2015 3:57 am Reply
      • Catherine

        Sorry, I forgot to add:

        A better argument rather than to retort about fructose and high fructose corn syrup was the challenge the molecule’s physical structure.

        Is it an isomer?
        Are there double bonds not found in natural C5H12O5?
        Essentially, is it the same structure or different?

        THEREIN lies the answer as to whether xylitol is potentially bad or not.

        July 21st, 2015 4:01 am Reply
    • Jennifer

      A few years ago I started getting horrible migraines again, every day. I finally figured out it was sugar, and other substitutes, including things like agave and honey. I was so excited, years later, to see a sugar free pie at the grocery store that I ate 2-3 pieces. I had to miss work for three days. I was also experiencing extreme diarrhea. The culprit was Xylitol.

      You (and doctors) can and have argued that there is sugar in fruit. That is fine, but fruit does not give me migraines. I do not know why. There may be Xylitol in fruit as well, but I can eat all of it and not throw up in horrid pain for days on end. I get Xylitol migraines even with my anti-seizure migraine prevention medicine, and I don’t get seizures.

      I came to this post to consider whether to risk Xylitol again from a local sugar free bakery toting how great it is for you. I think I will not risk it.

      June 14th, 2015 3:05 pm Reply
    • MDC

      Your comment makes sense above & beyond what the article is suggesting. Maybe you should be writing a blog Bev. I commend you on your comment. Well said.
      As for myself, been using xylitol in our cooking, baking etc for around 3 years. Avg. intake around 10-15 gm daily. Had slight GI discomfort during early stages of use, but it ceased in a matter of a few weeks as our uptake increased. Absolutely not gut flora issues so far. Will post in the future if issues arise.

      February 17th, 2016 7:45 pm Reply
  • Juliet

    I started using xylitol a week ago, as an alternative to sugar, also it is in a new health gum I tried. Possibly up to 12 grams a day is all it took, but my tongue is now lacerated and my gums are inflamed, also the inside of my cheeks. I can’t taste any food and am aware of a continual burning sensation on my tongue. I have thrown out the gum also the xylitol sachets. I’m not normally reactive to foods. Is it the process, (sulphuric acid) not the alcohol sugar itself.? Obviously dangerous in the long term. I shall be warning people.

    May 8th, 2015 9:06 am Reply
    • Lili

      Thanks for your warning. I’m experiencing the same problem. After buying a toothpaste and mouthwash that contain xylitol, I ended up with sore throat (no fever) and a burning sensation on my tongue. Now after 15 days of pain, the sore throat almost dissapeared, but the burning tongue is making my life miserable. My doctor didn’t see anything abnormal, now I’m off to see my dentist. You posted your message in May. Have you found any relief since then?

      August 18th, 2015 4:18 pm Reply
  • MissLeopard83

    I used xylitol-sweetened gum and mints for at least a year and I typically bought Spry and Xyla Mints. I didn’t get too many problems with the gum as gum isn’t supposed to be swallowed but I can’t count the number of times I got stomach cramps and diarrhea with the mints. I used to eat a few of them at a time because I loved the peppermint flavor, but I always paid for it later. Then, I read an article about how xylitol can kill pets and I got worried that my dog would get into my stash somehow or I’d accidentally drop one on the floor and she’d get a hold of it. Not only that, but I found out after my doctor started me on the Paleo diet that it’s not Paleo-friendly since it’s highly refined. I use high-quality stevia (SweetLeaf), coconut sugar, date paste, maple syrup, and honey now as my sweeteners. I’m surprised to learn, though, through your article that most xylitol is made from corn as I am pretty sure I am allergic (or at least moderately sensitive). Since cutting corn completely, I’ve seen a 180 in my health.

    May 2nd, 2015 3:27 pm Reply
  • Jacob

    Order a bag of xylitol crystals. Swish 1/3 tsp for 10-15 minutes after each meal. There’s no benefit to ingesting it.

    April 24th, 2015 6:34 pm Reply
  • John

    The figures you used in your lab results bit is highly manipulative. Toxicity depends on body weight. a 1.65g dose in a 100g rat is the equivalent of 1.23kg in a 75kg human. That is between 1230 and 1767 pieces of gum to reach the same toxicity. You know what else would kill you if you ate 1.23kg of it? Vitamin C which would kill at 892 grams, salt which would kill at 230 grams, vitamin A which would kill at 50 micrograms. You ingest too much of anything, including water and it will kill you. This is of course assuming complete ingestion and absorption as xylitol has been shown to bind to salivary protein in the mouth.

    April 9th, 2015 3:23 am Reply
  • Barb

    I have temporal lobe epilepsy but haven’t had an incident for years, in fact I can’t even remember the last time it’s that long ago.

    Today I started having them and it’s lunchtime and I’ve had at least 10 episodes, and can I say I don’t remember having this many in one day ever before it would be 2 or 3 at the most.

    The only thing I have done differently than my normal routine is yesterday I bought xylitol to use as a sweetener and this morning made 2 cups of tea using the xylitol at 2 teaspoons per cup. Everything else is food I normally eat, liquids I normally drink and my life in every other way is the same.

    Maybe it’s just co-incidence but I have thrown the packet in the bin and am currently drinking lots of water to try and flush it out of my system.

    March 29th, 2015 7:27 am Reply
    • Barb

      Yesterday I had about 20 episodes, I took half a Xanax and slept for a few hours and had one more episode later and one this morning. Never ever again will I buy this product and will carefully read all labels from now on to be sure they don’t contain this ingredient.

      March 30th, 2015 4:38 pm Reply
      • Kate

        There is evidence that xylitol can increase seizures in epileptics. Quite a few websites state that it is not recommended for those with epilepsy. It is a pity you found that out the hard way.

        June 17th, 2015 5:42 pm Reply
  • Nada

    Can you please provide any proofs for what you are claiming? Do any particular studies show the negative effects you write about? Why do you use the rat argument when nobody recommends feeding xylitol to rats? Chocolate is similarly dangerous for dogs, should this be the reason we are not to consume any chocolate? I can understand one should always be careful introducing a new ingredient to their diets but sorry your article sounds to me like a hate article without specifying the reasons.

    March 26th, 2015 9:47 am Reply
  • Ria Alex

    I chew Trident ALMOST all of the time. Its my favorite kind of gum. My mom, my boyfriend, and lots of people in my family eat my gum when I pull it out. I normally chew between 1-2 packs of 18 sticks of Trident gum per week. I never really looked up what Xylitol was, I just knew that on the package it said it helped prevent cavities and was recommended by the ADA which I find ok. But now I am noticing that just about EVERYTHING these days is bad for us. What do I have to do? Go away and live on a farm so that all of my things come natural? You can never be too sure, the term organic is used very loosely. Some days you don’t know what you’re eating!

    February 19th, 2015 10:15 am Reply
    • Beth @ Hooked on Health

      No Ria, you don’t have to pack up and move to a farm. Just make really wise (informed) food choices. Shop for organics (still a safe, reliable label) at your grocer or farm markets. Follow paleo guidelines and use Grade B maple syrup and honey to sweeten foods, just not very much or often. Depend on mostly vegetables, some fruit, grass fed meats, pastured poultry and eggs and only have paleo “treats occasionally to fend off a complete retreat back to your old way of eating.
      I have actually reversed fibromyalgia by eating this way and feel better than ever. I completed this reversal in about 6 months but I will never go back to my old way of eating as I am bent on staying prescription free til the end of my days.
      I have multiple posts and recipes on my site. Just click my name to go to it.

      April 13th, 2015 8:45 am Reply
  • Jane

    I recently succumbed to sales talk and bought some GreenZilla health drink which contains xylitol. I’m not sure which ingredient caused it but the three times I have used it I was dizzy, sense of smell changed somehow 6-7 hours later (its hard to describe that one) and had earaches about 6-7 hours later.

    February 8th, 2015 2:57 am Reply
  • Justin

    Im just going to say there are a few things (five actually) that are incorrect. As chemical engineer I will say that you people should do a little more homework… like read a book not a blog. Like Chemistry 101. Im also curious as why GMO vs Non GMO would make a difference in this case. xylitol substrates are at the molecular level. which is the same in both cases. Youre not eating the corn, your extracting the a molecule from it. Not only that ….oh forget it. why argue.

    Have a great day.

    January 26th, 2015 9:01 am Reply
    • Jon

      Your comment is the most sensible one I’ve read in a long time. Just wanted to thank you for posting it.

      January 30th, 2015 8:15 am Reply
    • Maidy

      Thank you, Justin.

      February 5th, 2015 2:13 pm Reply
    • MW

      Hey, don’t give up just as you were getting started! I’d like to know what the other things were you found to be incorrect in the article. Some of us are actually thinking and would like more information and analysis, if you have it. That’s not quibbling, that’s potentially a valuable contribution and I’m sure the article’s author would be just as happy to be corrected if it means helping people.

      March 1st, 2015 2:18 pm Reply
    • Vee

      Please don’t stop posting because you think we’re not listening, really appreciate you’re comments. Wish I understood more of what you know.

      March 9th, 2015 12:09 am Reply
    • Beth @ Hooked on Health

      And you Justin, chemical engineer or not do not know much about GMOs. What do you work for Monsanto????

      April 13th, 2015 8:48 am Reply
      • keeeeny

        just so you know… all corn nowadays has been genetically modified from its origins in simple grain and maize by centuries, if not millennia, by way of human domestication. GMO doesn’t necessarily mean its bad. its just another tool humans have used to better their lives.

        November 6th, 2015 1:10 pm Reply
    • Karen

      the MAIN reason I can see someone saying use non gmo is because they have NOT been proven safe by a scientific consensus. they CANNOT be contained, and DO contaminate organic crops. so basically, if you buy gmo’s you are allowing them to keep producing the crap crops that are hurting the environment. thankfully the area i live in has NO gmo’s and no one uses roundup or pesticides, and I grow my own food but i don’t know how to make xylitol myself, so I always buy organic when I can.

      April 24th, 2015 4:14 pm Reply
  • Simone Llewellyn

    I would like to let people know that after eating two biscuits that my mother had baked using xylitol that within minutes I went into an intense reaction with vomiting, stomach craps, diarrhoea, passing out, blurred vision, pins and needles in my fingers and blood in my urine and diarrhoea. This was intense for 2 hours after which the light headedness eased and the frequency of the vomiting and diarrhoea reduced. The vomiting stopped 9 hours later and the diarrhoea the next day.

    Now 4 days later I still have cramps, no energy, little appetite and can only eat small amounts.

    My doctor said it was probably an anaphylactic reaction with some kidney damage even though I didn’t have swelling of the face or throat and that if I consumed any again it will be worse and possibly fatal. I now have an Epi Pen and have to read read every label. I am 49 years old and do not have any other food allergies.

    We are sure it was the Xylitol because my mother started using it occasionally in baking after being told she is getting close to having diabetes 2. She had used it in a slice she baked 4 days earlier of which I only had a taste and ended up vomiting all afternoon ( I thought I had a virus). Zylitol was the only common ingredient in the slice and biscuits.

    After this I did a google search and found that to make Zylitol that the base is natural, usually corn, beets, sugar cane or the like which is then hydrogenated and soaked in Sulphuric Acid. I googled Sulphuric Acid and Wikipedia describes it as a highly corrosive strong mineral acid. Corrosive on materials like metal, living tissue and stone.

    I may be a minority but this stuff really isn’t as safe as its made out to be. In that two hours of severe reaction I felt like I had been poisoned and I personally would like to see it removed from the market.

    January 17th, 2015 11:44 pm Reply
    • Mike

      Whilst I am sympathetic to your reactions, I have to agree with Justin. I too am a chemical engineer. I’m not sure if Justin is in the field of pharmaceutical manufacture, but what he mentions makes sense. The company I work for extracts a naturally occurring chemical from a plant under strict GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) guidelines. The final product (active pharmaceutical ingredient) has been thoroughly tested for health effects including toxicity, dose ranging, pharmacokinetics, trace impurity evaluation and a whole host of other tests well before it went to market.

      If xylitol is produced in a GMP facility, then it too would have undergone extensive testing before being made available for consumption. The FDA need to carefully analyse data on new products before giving them a GRAS rating.

      On the matter of sulphuric acid, I would be extremely surprised if it was still present in the final product to the extent it would cause problems. Our own stomach contains hydrochloric acid that would be significantly more concentrated than any trace (if any) sulphuric acid in the product.

      If the symptoms you experienced occurred within minutes of eating, it does sound like an allergic reaction. But before recommending it be ‘removed from the market’ (which sounds just like the words spoken by a market competitor), I would be contacting the company who makes the product and even the FDA to notify them of your reactions and get more information from them. If enough people have similar reactions, they can reassess its health safety rating and amend accordingly.

      February 28th, 2015 4:54 pm Reply
      • Di B

        Mike and Justin, being part of a growing group of people who have become allergic to the alpha galactose sugar in mammal tissue, I know that any group of people who are allergic to something have a very, very hard time getting their allergy recognized. Writing to the manufacturer would seem useless to most people. Writing to the FDA seems hopeless. Even those of you who are more educated about chemistry are looking for scientific proof before believing. What are people to do? They exchange info about their experiences and hope that someone will take them seriously and try to figure out what is causing them their reactions. People try to figure out what is going and will offer explanations and suggestions, hoping some will make a difference.

        March 14th, 2015 11:40 pm Reply
    • Stevie Z

      Wow – my brother has the same reaction to all freshwater fish. And shellfish. And peanut butter. I guess since he particularly had that reaction, none of us should eat any of those things. I’m sorry you had such a horrible reaction to (probably) the xylitol. That doesn’t mean it’s not safe for consumption for most. Also, just because sulphuric acid may be used to manufacture the product does not mean that there is remaining acid in the finished product. When I make homemade tomato sauce in my pan at home, than technically iron, coke, limestone, charcoal, anthracite, natural gas and wood are all used “as part of the process” for making my tomato sauce. They are the ingredients in my cast iron pot, the gas I use to cook it, and the wooden spoon I use to stir it. I also use a healthy dose of dihydrogen monoxide as well. Which is the chemical name for water. I’ve never tried xylitol at all yet, and so I am using Google to see what the prevailing opinions are. The problem is the truth lies somewhere between the people trying to peddle the stuff who say it’s the best thing ever, and “chicken little” type blogs, who say it’s going to destroy us all. Both types of sites/pages/blogs make their decision, and then skew the facts to fit their opinion. Again, I’m sorry that you had to deal with the reaction you did, and I may suffer the same, but although fish and peanuts can easily KILL my brother, I’ve never heard him suggest they should be “removed from the market”…..

      June 28th, 2015 6:06 pm Reply
  • jpmmy mac gbr

    I just want to contribute to this discusion that some of the comments in this thread strike a chord.I have noticed increased losenes of stools since I HAVE REPLACED XYLITOL FOR SUGAR.However I beleive that the major contributing factor in losing 35kg in the last 6 monmths has been the fact that I have replaced sugar with xylitol.I will now research the other factors mentioned here.However my health advisors say that the weight loss will have a far better effect on my health than the negaitive effects of the xylitol.Whatever it takes

    January 5th, 2015 1:00 am Reply
    • Gudrun B

      i have a hard time finding “total sweet” made from birch – i will keep looking

      January 5th, 2015 5:56 pm Reply
  • Samuel

    Hello. There is not a lot of negative data surrounding Xylitol on the internet for humans, however, I thought I would contribute my own personal experience. I began using Xylitol 1.5 years ago, and a bit over a year ago I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I put a lot of this in my coffee’s and drink a lot of coffee, so my consumption was rather large. Probably unreasonably so, but I was under the impression this stuff was 100% ‘safe’.

    We are now 95% confident that Xylitol was the cause of my epilepsy. I have only just stopped using it, and it is early days (too early to truly know for sure), but I feel so much better for stopping. My head feels so much clearer, almost immediately.

    It also caused my kidney function to drop to as little as 20% after one of my epileptic attacks (and all my vomiting) if our theory is correct.

    I would advise anyone to stay away from consuming very large amounts of this stuff, or to at least listen, closely, to your body. I might be the minority, but I still demonstrate a clear possibility of toxicity from this substance in humans in high doses. It is the only major change made to my diet in 10 years and it is the only substance we have been able to link with any of my epileptic attacks.

    – Sam

    December 13th, 2014 6:57 am Reply
    • Ibby

      Hi Sam, your problem, (Epilepsy) could it have been caused by drinking excessive amounts of coffee? That stuff is definitely a bad addictive drug.

      December 16th, 2014 12:22 am Reply
      • Samuel

        I understand that to be another possibility, however we feel we are able to nail it down to Xylitol due to the timeline of events…. I began drinking coffee 10 years before I began putting Xylitol in it. My system has never had a reaction until we were recommended Xylitol, 4 months later my life hit the fan, and things weren’t the same for a long time….

        Until the past month. I have remained seizure free for almost a full month since I quit drinking Xylitol, but I still drink coffee and put sugar in it instead. I felt great this past month and gained back a lot of skills I felt I was losing…

        I know coffee isn’t good for you, one day I’ll have to make that choice to cut back and if seizures continue it may be my next resort. For now, though, we have had very positive results from getting rid of Xylitol.

        I will keep this thread up to date with my situation. Still seizure free for now! 😀

        – Sam

        December 31st, 2014 10:24 pm Reply
        • Samuel

          Just updating my situation. 2 months later I have had another seizure.

          Stress was the trigger, and it began in my sleep (biting my lip). It was still muuuuch milder then my seizures were at the peak of having Xylitol in my diet, and we are still very confident it caused my epilepsy (though it may not be a ‘trigger’ for it).

          I was having a LOT of this stuff, please take that into account, 3-4 teaspoons in every coffee and 5 coffee’s a day roughly.

          I have considered many other things in life that could have caused my epilepsy but experience tells us we hit the right track when we got rid of Xylitol. I had NASTY seizures before… The recent ones have been mild, and it took 6 months after putting Xylitol into my system for me to start having seizures, it could take a little while yet to heal fully considering I still drank it through my seizures for a whole year almost (it just took us a long time to realize it could be this stuff because we had 100% trust in it).

          If you haven’t experience problems, that’s great! It is a good substitute taste-wise. But if anyone suddenly develops epilepsy and this is in your diet – get rid of it I say, see what happens. Things have been positive for my life.

          If this stuff doesn’t solve it fully perhaps I will be looking into my general consumption of coffee (although I had already cut back on that stuff a lot anyway to be honest!)

          This set of messages are here mainly for those who have developed epilepsy and started taking this stuff recently at all. I say if that is the case – get rid of it. See what happens, perhaps it will work for others who develop epilepsy so late in life.

          February 1st, 2015 8:51 pm Reply
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  • zeeq

    Do you even know what a GO is? Genetically modified organisms are everywhere. Your dog is genetically modified unless it is a purebred wolf. Corn was originally “genetically modified” through selective breeding. How exactly does that make a GMO dangerous?

    November 20th, 2014 12:56 am Reply
    • Randi Finn

      Dogs are not GMOs. Genetic modification and selective breeding are two entirely different concepts.

      November 21st, 2014 7:21 pm Reply
    • carla

      Do your homework on GMO’s. Cross breeding two plants from nature is night and day from how a GMO plant comes into existence. When two plants from nature are grafted and nature accepts the grafting, than its origin and derivative is from nature. Ignorance is no longer bliss, it is deadly. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. They cite animal studies showing organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Human studies show how genetically modified (GM) food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.

      Many governments have banned GMO’s because the evidence of their harm far outweighs the proven false arguments of higher crop yields, etc. Monsanto is suing a new farmer very 3 weeks… Seriously, wake up and smell the double deccepicinno. GMOs are causing infertility and has been directly linked to many diseases. And, if you dig deeper, you will find the pandemic rise in gluten insensitivity and celiac disease just so happens to be related to when GMO’s were laced into our food supplies.

      There’s a depopulation agenda, aka soft kill technique that’s in full force… is that easy to swallow or fathom? No. However, the alternative is to continue to stay anesthetized by the mass weapons of distractions and pretend that WE are complicit and the problem if WE don’t own our responsibility and sovereignty, individually and collectively.

      December 23rd, 2014 9:51 pm Reply
      • Vee

        You are so right on, I’ve been doing a lot of reading on population control, and global warming, and mas confusion about diets, vegan, paleo and on and on. We can’t eat anymore without a degree in chemistry and nutrition. I’ve been experiencing weakness in my legs, bloating and leg cramps and lack of concentration and am giving up xylitol immediately to see if these symptoms go away. I don’t bother chewing gum anymore, its loaded with artificial sweeteners..

        March 9th, 2015 12:29 am Reply
    • Tom

      I think you need to research what a gmo truly is it is not a high bred its been genetically altered in a lab do your homework

      January 26th, 2015 4:58 pm Reply
  • Joy

    I’m rather new to the idea of making all-natural personal care products, but just wanted to remind all of you that everyone is different, and what may not affect one person, may affect another extremely adversely. A few years ago, my husband (not into “natural” at all) purchased some chewing gum sweetened with xylitol. I’m not a gum chewer normally, but ended up chewing one stick 2 or 3 days within a 4-5 day period, and shortly after putting that last piece in my mouth, I experienced severe vertigo, with severe nausea and uncontrollable vomiting. Concerned that the xylitol might be the culprit, I abstained for about a month and tried again – with even worse results. Not to be a “negative Nellie”, but beware! I think I’ll try this mouthwash with stevia, and continue with oil pulling.

    November 19th, 2014 10:09 pm Reply
  • Brandon

    Hi Sarah, long time reader!

    I tend to be in the minority when it comes to my toleration of xylitol. I can often consume a large amount of it without any distress. Erythritol, on the other hand…well, let’s not get into that.

    I’m having a challenging time trying to find evidence that xylitol destroys gut bacteria/microflora balance. I love xylitol, but would definitely reconsider if there are any real published studies showing its affect on flora.


    October 29th, 2014 3:04 pm Reply
    • Brandon May

      P.S. The only study I could find so far is this one: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17995737. It states that the fermentation of xylitol increases butyrate and other short-chained fatty acids, and possibly has a positive effect on gut health. This is in vitro, mind.

      October 29th, 2014 3:13 pm Reply
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  • Amy

    A scientist from a non-GMO xylitol company sent me the following information:

    Hydrogenation occurs in nature and sugar alcohols in berries etc. are also hydrogenated starches. Of course, this is unrelated to hydrogenated oils and their very real dangers, since oils aren’t naturally hydrogenated. Is this an attempt to imply guilt by association?

    Xylitol is produced in countries that don’t allow GMO corn for human consumption; therefore the assertion that much is GMO is a wild guess unsupported by real world data.

    The fact that pets can’t safely use xylitol is meaningless for people. Some pets can’t eat chocolate either. So what? Assuming that these examples are somehow meaningful for human health without some explanation of how they would be is unscientific. Other foods that are harmful to dogs (ASPCA) include: avocado, bread dough, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, onions and garlic. By the same reasoning, people also need to avoid these foods if they need to avoid xylitol because of its toxicity to animals. Really?

    The safety data on xylitol is robust and it is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by health agencies around the world. Certainly, toxicity and cancer studies have been done, regardless of what an author claims to have not found.

    October 2nd, 2014 12:01 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      If you don’t worry about sugar hydrogenation, that’s your choice. Xylitol is still harmful to eat just by virtue of the fact that it rips gut balance to shreds by feeding pathogens and starving probiotics.

      October 2nd, 2014 1:48 pm Reply
      • Lis

        Hi Sarah,

        Just wondering where you evidence for xylitol ‘ripping gut balance to shreds by feeding pathogens and starving probiotics’ comes from? I’m really interested in the safety issues surrounding use of polyols both for medicinal use and as occasional sugar/high gi sweetner substitutes, because we have chosen to use them at home and, on balance, love them! Because of this have done a lot of research on the web. There appear to be a lot of published journal articles suggesting that xylitol (and other polyols like isomalt) are in fact pre-biotic and have positive effects of gut microflora. Interested to hear what you have found that suggests otherwise?

        October 24th, 2014 4:33 am Reply
        • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          Sources at the end of the post :)

          October 24th, 2014 10:21 am Reply
          • jen

            is that the gmo ones that rip gut s apart or the non gmo ?

            November 29th, 2014 11:01 am
          • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

            Nongmo xylitol is also highly gut imbalancing. People are way too flippant about their gut health these days.

            November 30th, 2014 9:04 am
      • Carol

        I disagree with you. In moderation xylitol is a good choice. No sugar is good for us, but you obviously have not done your homework on this one. There are many other articles giving the pros and cons, just google it.

        January 17th, 2015 6:44 pm Reply
  • Deliciously Organic via Facebook

    Tara Broms Shaw I should have clarified – I’m not a fan of using xylitol as a food, but I agree with Healthy Home Economist that used therapeutically or not as a food it can be ok. I still highly recommend Jack and Jill toothpaste especially since it has a 0 EWG rating. I think it’s a great toothpaste to start kids on!

    September 29th, 2014 12:34 pm Reply
  • Tara Broms Shaw via Facebook

    Does that mean you don’t recommend Jack & Jill toothpaste anymore? I think I decided it’s impossible to find a good toothpaste for kids!

    September 29th, 2014 12:19 pm Reply
  • ws

    Your point about the hydrogenation of sugars possibly being the dangerous health equivalent of hydrogenation of fatty acids is really reaching. Partial hydrogenation of a long-chain fatty acid causes a double bond somewhere in the center, which can potentially give it a “trans-” (vs “cis-“) formation, causing the fatty acid to be more likely to block small blood vessels. Long-chain fatty acids are many, many carbons (18+), whereas simple sugars are 6 carbons in a ring, not in a chain, and xylitol is a 5-carbon sugar alcohol (which means it has an -OH group on it instead of a hydrogen, not that it’s alcoholic). I understand your concern about anything “artificial” (although it springs to mind that arsenic is plenty natural, but I would rather not consume any), but please remember that the plural of “anecdote” is NOT “data,”

    September 28th, 2014 10:02 am Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      The fact that xylitol contributes to a destroyed and imbalanced gut environment and feeds pathogens in the gut rather than beneficial flora is plenty enough reason for me to avoid it. :)

      September 28th, 2014 12:21 pm Reply
      • Joyce Mccathie

        I was all excited about discovering xylitol because for the last two years now iv’e had upper respiratory infections . Now i’m confused . I want to know what a thereputic dose is ?

        July 22nd, 2015 4:43 pm Reply
    • Beckie

      Peer-reviewed published research has shown the contents of clogged heart arteries during bypass surgery is equivalent to margarine or hydrogenated oils. And the heart cannot heal itself. If Xylitol is dangerous, then it must take large quantities or specific allergies, specific sensitivites. I suffer Gulf War Illness, which means my heart is damaged and my gut is infected with no less than 3 specific chronic infections. I am sensitive to almost everything; and I can eat almost nothing for Lactose Intolerance, systemic fungus (in remission), and pancreatitis from a Hep B “cocktail” vaccine. I never eat hydrogenated oil. But I chew enough cinnamon Xylitol to clear my sinuses and my palette. It’s a substitute for brushing my teeth too many times per day. My gut has never reacted to 2 small bits of gum, as long as I avoid aspartame. And my gut, unlike my heart, can eventually heal from everything.

      September 29th, 2014 3:33 pm Reply
      • Victoria

        @Beckie, if you see this – what you really need is to start using Prescript-Assist ~ Probiotic & Prebiotic Blend. If I ever heard of someone who desperately needs it is you. As for Xylatol, a friend with Lyme was told by her NMD to eat 2 tbsp. of it daily to bust biofilm cysts formed by borrelia and co-infections. Both of us are MTHFR mutated, mine works than hers but we both have to watch what we injest. I originally jumped on board with it (also struggling through tick borne illnesses). Still, after two days of just one tbsp. my kidneys feel odd. I might stick with Serrapeptase enzyme for cyst busting and just use Xylatol to sweeten a tea or two.

        October 6th, 2014 5:25 pm Reply
        • mary

          And extra virgin coconut oil…but if you have not added that to your diet, be aware it has to be added slowly or you can get the trots. It is antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial. Get the cold pressed, extra virgin, organic type thoug, not the expeller pressed that uses chemicals.

          Google Dr. Mary Newport to get some good directions on adding it to your diet. She is not selling the stuff but using it to help (semi-cure) her husband from Alzheimers. She gives some good info on it, such as it can kill herpes, in part by destroying the biofilm surrounding the herpes virus.

          March 23rd, 2015 3:43 pm Reply
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  • Amy Danz Petrucci via Facebook

    What about erythritol? It doesn’t cause the same gastro symptoms…

    July 25th, 2014 2:53 am Reply
    • Desiree

      I would like to know where you received the information that xylitol can trigger seizures in epileptics. I read this about dogs, not humans.

      Please remember people dogs can not eat the same foods as us. My dog is a husky and he isn’t supposed to eat certain berries and beets. Summarized up, we are different species with very different intestines.

      I have used a birch based xylitol for years. I have never had problems and I have IBS. I can’t eat to much of the xylitol or I do get diarrhea. HOWEVER, I also get diarrhea if I eat to much salad greens. Humans were not designed to survive off sugar so of course I don’t think you should eat the stuff out of its packaging. I do really like it for my tea, coffee, and the occasional baked good. I have never heard some of these arguments so I’m very interested on the studies to back them up.

      September 14th, 2014 3:46 am Reply
  • Jennifer Esposito Fedrizzi via Facebook

    Totally agree with you…. I wanted to share so other wonderful products that i am taking and using but wanted to get your approval first… I am trying to reach out to groups if individuals who are on the same path as myself… My family and i have been eating clean/organic for several years now… Please let me know if i can share… Thank you

    July 23rd, 2014 1:44 pm Reply
  • Mary Stoy via Facebook

    Gum with xylitol tore up my gums.

    July 23rd, 2014 10:16 am Reply
  • Nicole White via Facebook

    Any suggestion on safe chewing gum? I was using a brand with xylitol thinking it was a better choice than most. But now…..???

    July 23rd, 2014 9:20 am Reply
  • Pete Bouras via Facebook

    Its funny, Dr Mercola puts it in the toothpaste he sells. I found that odd as he is usually against these kinda things

    July 23rd, 2014 8:27 am Reply
  • Carol Glavin via Facebook

    it is notorious for causing diarrhea.

    July 23rd, 2014 8:18 am Reply
    • Amy

      Only if you way overdue it. In moderation, it’s fine.

      October 2nd, 2014 11:49 am Reply
      • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        Actually, many people experience gut wrenching pain and digestive issues from just a small amount.

        October 2nd, 2014 1:49 pm Reply
        • Hedi

          “Many” people? I think data would be in order to support the this claim more specifically.
          So far, I have given xylitol as a present to many people (that would be around fifteen, give or take one or two, which is “many” considering the average social circle of a person with a moderate amount of “friends” and acquaintances).
          I have given them packages of 500 g each. NONE of the have reported any nuisances at all. I myself only experienced diarrhea the first or second time, after eating quite a few tablespoons of it (and I have IBS). As a matter of fact, I often try to INDUCE a “loosening” of my bowels by using xyltol, but it just doesn’t work that way with me. No cramps, either. Ever.

          I am sure xylitol has some shortcomings, too – as do most (or all) foodstuffs, especially if ingested in massive quantities. But so far, I’ve found it to be a boon in more than one way. I love it.

          N.B. I live in the EU. There is no GMO in the xylitol produced here, because GMO are banned for consumption and all imported foods that may contain GMO (such as Hershey’s chocolate bars) have to be labelled appropriately.

          December 29th, 2014 7:56 pm Reply
          • AJ

            Lucky you in the EU. They have to label organic here, or non-GMO. How backwards is that.

            June 30th, 2015 11:36 am
    • Tim

      Moderation is the key. Good discuss though.

      April 26th, 2015 6:41 pm Reply
  • Lauren Muier via Facebook

    i used it for toothpaste…..not any more!

    July 23rd, 2014 7:54 am Reply
  • Kelley Stone Williams via Facebook

    What do you think of stevia?

    July 23rd, 2014 7:39 am Reply
  • Natalie Mino via Facebook

    I was using this everyday for a few years, and was having crazy gastrointestinal symptoms. I never thought it was the xylitol until I went a couple days without it and all of a sudden my tummy was feeling better! I haven’t used it since.

    July 23rd, 2014 7:29 am Reply
  • Angelina Roush Killingsworth via Facebook

    Wow. I had no idea …

    July 23rd, 2014 6:09 am Reply
  • Lisa Gregory via Facebook

    What’s a good sugar for type 1 diabetics to have?

    July 23rd, 2014 2:46 am Reply
  • Pam Finn via Facebook

    And it causes multi-organ shut down in dogs…even in small amounts.

    July 23rd, 2014 2:12 am Reply
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  • MC

    I would say, listen to your body. I have tried using granular birch xylitol many times, following a dentist’s regimen for upwards of several weeks hoping my body would adjust, but it always made me feel sick and nauseous, so I gave up. Who knows why, but there are clearly some people who have problems with it and never do tolerate it. Don’t beat your head against the wall if that’s you. You can still have healthy teeth without it. It’s not really a natural substance anyway. (yeah – it is found in our bodies at a metabolite – but in minute amounts ranging from 5-15g/day – so any amount used to sweeten is a huge increase compared to what is naturally present in the body).

    June 19th, 2014 5:14 am Reply
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  • Kristin Kauffman via Facebook

    Interesting…I got a recipe from youfor homemade toothpaste with this ingredient

    May 7th, 2014 7:17 pm Reply
  • Erica Paulk Roberts via Facebook

    Aimee Paulk

    May 7th, 2014 4:58 pm Reply
  • Diane Boyer via Facebook

    Wow, so glad to know. I thought it was ok to chew “sweetened” gum with it, but now no more.

    May 7th, 2014 11:59 am Reply
  • Steven R. La Bay via Facebook

    Swish don’t swallow.

    May 7th, 2014 11:54 am Reply
  • Jamie Monaco via Facebook

    Lindsey Kay Malisa J Garibay-Lamison

    May 7th, 2014 9:51 am Reply
  • Rita Gibson via Facebook

    It also breaks up bio films which is useful to prevent cavities, ear infections and sinus infections. Bio film disruption may also be useful to repopulate the gut with healthier bacteria.

    May 7th, 2014 9:32 am Reply
    • Teresa Lawrence

      How do you use xylitol to combat an ear infection or a sinus infection? I am quite curious.

      September 19th, 2014 10:11 pm Reply
  • Jill Fox via Facebook

    What about Truvia…any thoughts on that?

    May 7th, 2014 8:24 am Reply
  • Janice Magers Duay via Facebook


    May 7th, 2014 8:23 am Reply
  • Bella Hannah via Facebook

    Shani Thaler-Bennish

    May 7th, 2014 8:02 am Reply
  • Misses Bennish via Facebook

    Bella Hannah

    May 7th, 2014 7:39 am Reply
  • Dana Pittman via Facebook

    Yes it is Lethal to dogs..mine almost died. He was in critical care but pulled through. He is only 6 pounds. Susan Claypopl, what does canned pumpkin do?

    May 7th, 2014 7:31 am Reply
  • Lisa Marie via Facebook

    Connie Ribley you might find this interesting!

    May 7th, 2014 7:10 am Reply
  • J-m Collie via Facebook

    Claire McGrath

    May 7th, 2014 6:46 am Reply
  • Neda W. Up via Facebook

    Jay Mann

    May 7th, 2014 2:58 am Reply
  • Lisa Gregory via Facebook

    You haven’t made any recommendations for an alternative in the article. What do you suggest?

    May 7th, 2014 2:35 am Reply
    • Sheena

      Exactly what I was going to point out! Thanks!

      May 15th, 2014 11:08 am Reply
  • Brandi Shaw via Facebook

    I use a birch one made in the US and have never had trouble. To each his own i guess, i wouk still recommend in toothpaste cus you don swallow it.

    May 7th, 2014 2:29 am Reply
  • Amanda Greene Bressi via Facebook


    May 7th, 2014 2:01 am Reply
  • Meghan Johnson via Facebook

    Josh Johnson,

    May 7th, 2014 1:55 am Reply
  • Beth Schultz via Facebook

    I put it in my homemade toothpaste . I found a brand made from white birch. Do you find that safe, I do not eat it? But it all absorbs?

    May 7th, 2014 1:34 am Reply
  • Chuck McKiernan via Facebook

    My dentist wants me to use oral hygiene products with Xylitol to keep my teeth and mouth clean and in place of sugar and chewing gum. He also said Xylitol would kill all strep bacteria in the mouth, throat and nasal areas. I’m looking at the pile of unopened stuff he gave me as I type this.

    May 7th, 2014 1:00 am Reply
    • Troy

      No, don’t worry about what she wrote. I had a search bring me to this page, and her arguments are poor. For example, feeds gut bacteria… uh, like a prebiotic… we have healthy gut bacteria, you know.

      June 2nd, 2014 2:46 am Reply
      • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        Feeds *pathogenic* gut bacteria, not beneficial probiotics. There are different kinds of but bacteria …. good AND bad.

        June 2nd, 2014 7:53 am Reply
        • GeneZ

          Sarah? Are you making stuff up? Or, were you the first to discover this factor? Xylitol feeds that bad bacteria in the gut? You mean its just as bad as sugar in the gut, but not in the mouth? What research can you cite, please?

          October 10th, 2014 9:32 pm Reply
  • Sunni Schulz Wheeler via Facebook

    I tried xylitol when I had gestational diabetes and it really bothered my gut plus gave me a headache. Stevia was a much better choice for me.

    May 7th, 2014 1:00 am Reply
    • Fifi

      I couldn’t figure why my calf had been hurting, about a week or so after taking xylitol, maybe two or three spoonfuls daily. Even after one day free, it has stopped. Maybe?

      January 22nd, 2015 9:20 pm Reply
      • Vee

        I had a spasm in my calf like I had never experienced in my life, Going back to sugar, 1/2 what I used before, only use it in coffee.

        March 9th, 2015 12:34 am Reply
  • Katie Dreibelbis via Facebook

    Shannon Stark

    May 7th, 2014 12:57 am Reply
  • Susan Claypool via Facebook

    It’s also LETHAL to pets. My parents dog almost died after eating bread made with xylitol. Thankfully the vet knew her stuff and told my parents to give their dog canned pumpkin. It worked!

    May 7th, 2014 12:22 am Reply
  • Lorraine Givney via Facebook

    Good advice based on my experience.

    May 7th, 2014 12:11 am Reply
  • Linda Lauritzen

    I do use the Xylo-Sweet that you show above, which does say that it is non-GMO … thank goodness! I know you feel that it is poison also, but it would be better to use one in your article that was more of what you are saying. Many things overdone are not healthy … I will look into it more.

    April 29th, 2014 12:35 am Reply
  • adam henry

    youre an idiot and this website is a joke. do you even know what the definition of a catalyst is? stick to baking cookies and doing laundry. thanks.

    April 9th, 2014 12:04 pm Reply
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  • Kathy

    Moderation. Our bodies can handle quite a lot. Its good to have awareness but it’s better not to be scared to eat.
    Personally I stick to 80/20 when it comes to healthy and things not so healthy.
    There’s plenty more harmful things in our every day life to our health than a little sweetener a few times a week.

    March 16th, 2014 5:06 pm Reply
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  • Robin North via Facebook

    Great for explosive diarrhea, if you enjoy that sort of thing. It makes for an interesting date night tho. (True story)

    March 12th, 2014 10:31 pm Reply
  • Lisa DaPolito via Facebook

    Xylitol goes right through me :(

    March 12th, 2014 5:01 pm Reply
    • Linda Lauritzen

      You do have to stop out small … I only have used it in my morning coffee and have no issues. But early on a friend baked with it and it was a real issue for me!

      April 29th, 2014 12:31 am Reply
  • Angie Thompson Huebner via Facebook

    Even in toothpaste for kids? What toothpaste do you recommend?

    March 12th, 2014 4:49 pm Reply
  • Kathy Garland via Facebook

    And xylitol is toxic to dogs. So if you have xylitol gum or candy lying around and a food-motivated dog, you could have a very sick dog on your hands.

    March 12th, 2014 2:35 pm Reply
  • Samantha Landis via Facebook

    Not that I chew gum often, but when I do, which kind do you recommend? I thought Xylitol gum was the safest.

    March 12th, 2014 12:34 pm Reply
  • Lacie Parker via Facebook

    I can’t even use it in toothpaste. It makes me nauseous.

    March 12th, 2014 11:37 am Reply
  • Healthy Homemakers via Facebook

    I LOVE stevia! To me, it is the best by far!

    March 12th, 2014 10:56 am Reply
  • Elizabeth Arce via Facebook

    I only use it in my home made tooth paste. It gets spit out no big deal

    March 12th, 2014 9:54 am Reply
  • Jessica Tingley Anderson via Facebook

    Xylitol had been found to actually kill off the yeast from thrush though! And helps your teeth and gum health.

    March 12th, 2014 9:42 am Reply
  • Vana Dabbous Keesler via Facebook

    Cindy Dabbous read this

    March 12th, 2014 9:42 am Reply
  • Elizabeth Lockhart Sept via Facebook

    Duane this is why you should avoid gum!

    March 12th, 2014 9:30 am Reply
  • Pat Baker via Facebook

    I use very very little and do chew the gum maybe once every two weeks.. No gut issues

    March 12th, 2014 8:59 am Reply
  • Brandi Shaw via Facebook

    Does it differentiate from birch xylitol or corn xylitol?

    March 12th, 2014 8:59 am Reply
  • Generation Kitchen via Facebook

    very interesting! thanks for sharing this. good to know!! i have poor gut health :(

    March 12th, 2014 8:37 am Reply
  • Jessica Cox via Facebook

    That’s promising haha

    March 12th, 2014 8:36 am Reply
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  • Altamisal

    pj, Sarah did reply to a few comments back when the thread was still new. I don’t think she’s even reading them anymore.

    March 5th, 2014 8:26 pm Reply
  • pj

    This is a fairly irresponsible article. And you’ll notice that “Sarah” the author has not commented on one comment through the whole thread.

    March 5th, 2014 6:49 pm Reply
    • Beckie

      When I was a professional journalist for 20 years, it was poor ethics to comment on my own articles. If a Letter to the Editor warranted, I pursued a follow-up story with new interviews and new research.

      March 12th, 2014 12:33 pm Reply
  • Altamisal

    yes, read the thread and make your own informed decision rather than blindly accepting the opinion of one nay-sayer. I too use xylitol every day and would not want to be without it.

    March 4th, 2014 3:49 am Reply
  • Sandi Gaertner (@sandigtweets)

    Wow I am glad I found your article. A company wanted to me to do a review/blog post of their healthy kid shake. I always check ingredients before agreeing to do reviews. The product contains xylitol contains and that is how I found your article. I am telling them no thank you.

    Thank you

    March 1st, 2014 7:46 pm Reply
    • Denise


      Before deciding no, you might want to read this thread and do some Internet research. Many others believe and have data to back up the use of xylitol as safe and beneficial. I use it every day.

      March 3rd, 2014 9:04 pm Reply
      • Samuel

        Hello. There is not a lot of negative data surrounding Xylitol on the internet for humans, however, I thought I would contribute my own personal experience. I began using Xylitol 1.5 years ago, and a bit over a year ago I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I put a lot of this in my coffee’s and drink a lot of coffee, so my consumption was rather large. Probably unreasonably so, but I was under the impression this stuff was 100% ‘safe’.

        We are now 95% confident that Xylitol was the cause of my epilepsy. I have only just stopped using it, and it is early days (too early to truly know for sure), but I feel so much better for stopping. My head feels so much clearer, almost immediately.

        It also caused my kidney function to drop to as little as 20% after one of my epileptic attacks (and all my vomiting) if our theory is correct.

        I would advise anyone to stay away from consuming very large amounts of this stuff, or to at least listen, closely, to your body. I might be the minority, but I still demonstrate a clear possibility of toxicity from this substance in humans in high doses.

        – Sam

        December 13th, 2014 6:54 am Reply
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  • PaytonB

    About rats…

    Consuming oranges/orange juice is detrimental to the health of male rats, potentially even deadly. So, should all human males now avoid oranges?

    If you say no, then think twice about automatically using a rat’s reaction to a substance as reason for humans not to consume something.

    February 10th, 2014 8:41 pm Reply
    • Gary Regnon

      Yes, and Penicillin is toxic to Guinea Pigs, chocolate can be toxic for dogs, etc. Giving people advice on what is safe for consumption based on an animal’s reaction is irresponsible.

      June 4th, 2014 10:41 am Reply
  • Van

    If 100g rat was given 1.6g xylitol, that would be like me eating 2 pounds! I would die too. Processed sugar and carbohydrates facilitate obesity, which is the number one killer. Xylitol is good in moderation. Processed sugar is not.

    January 25th, 2014 11:27 am Reply
  • Altamisal

    Wow, thanks for sharing that Sarah. I certainly wish I’d discovered xylitol before I had my son. I too breastfed him long-term and experienced a lot of dental issues. Fortunately, his teeth are better than mine, but I think that if I’d used xylitol, it would have improved his dental health.

    January 17th, 2014 4:35 pm Reply
  • Sarah

    Don’t be alarmed at this article since it contains NO REAL INFORMATION against xylitol. Way to scare people because you just “think” it must be bad, even though all of the evidence, both peer reviewed medical studies and anecdotes prove otherwise. Xylitol in pregnancy actually decreases cavity risk in the child after it is born. I ate very health natural foods, but after I nursed my first son for 22 months my teeth were trashed, I had 14 cavities at once, and wound up needing 2 root canals from all the damage. Poor kid also wound up having a lot of tooth problems and the dentist was baffled as to what was going on since we took such good care of his teeth. I had xylitol while pregnant with my next and even though he had the same diet as my older son, they both breastfed past one year, and we did the same oral health procedures, he has never had a single cavity compared to his brothers 10 cavities. I owe it to xylitol and I am so thankful for it.

    If “health” advocates are going to continue maligning EVERY single food in existance we might as well all become “breatharians”

    January 17th, 2014 2:49 pm Reply
    • Amy

      I agree with you. The author provides no scientific evidence (where’s the links to such evidence). I talked with a scientist from a leading organic Xylitol company who debunked everyone one of her assertions.

      October 2nd, 2014 11:54 am Reply
      • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        Yep, let’s preserve that paycheck at all costs!

        October 2nd, 2014 1:48 pm Reply
  • Debra

    What might be a safe, low-glycemic alternative to refined sugar? Molasses? Lucuma? Monk Fruit? Yacon?
    I have coconut sugar, and I used to use Sucanat. But I think these spike blood glucose levels.


    December 18th, 2013 9:22 pm Reply
  • Kristena

    Just curious but oil pulling with coconut oil is supposed to pull out toxic chemicals right? So brushing with xylitol in your toothpaste then pulling should cancel out the negative? I tried toothpaste with no sweetener and threw it up instantly. The least amount of xylitol in my toothpaste I can stand is 7 tbs… Is this too much? Overly dangerous, etc?

    December 14th, 2013 6:22 pm Reply
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  • Jenifer

    You are correct J Onehcud that the GMO concerns re xylitol are unwarranted. This is well covered here along with other xylitol misconceptions:

    Of course if is your choice whether to use it yourself, but re any possible digestive issues, there is this:

    Metabolic & Chemical features of Xylitol: The caloric content of Xylitol is approximately the same as that of “sugar,” however; it is not as well absorbed with approximately 25-33% staying in the GI tract where it is metabolized by gut flora. When a significant amount is consumed at once, only about 1/3 will be absorbed through the gut wall, thereby traveling to the liver via the portal vein, the rest stays in the GI tract and is utilized by the beneficial intestinal flora and broken down into SCFAs (short chain fatty acids) which are vital to proper gut cell metabolism. Significant quantities will cause transient soft stools (osmotic diarrhea). Once a person has become adapted to Xylitol, amounts up to 200+ grams per day can readily be tolerated without causing diarrhea.

    December 1st, 2013 8:37 pm Reply
  • J Onehcud

    A quick note on GMO:
    I think it is truly wonderful to see people taking such an active interest in the foods they consume. As a PhD candidate researching diabetes, I was considering trying xylitol in some Christmas baking for family members with type 2 diabetes with the goal of keeping their blood sugar in check over the holidays. Given the risk for intestinal discomfort and the scarcity of safety testing I have decided against it. Who want’s diarrhea at Christmas?

    However, I would like to share a bit about how I understand GMOs and why, with respect to xylitol from GMO corn, the GMO issue may not be as relevant as you might think. It all starts with DNA, the stuff in every cell of any living thing that serves as the master instructions for all of our cellular and body functions. The DNA is where all of our genes are. In a GMO, specific instructions (genes) in the DNA have been altered to produce a desirable outcome such as pesticide resistance, growth properties etc… As you very clearly pointed out xylitol extraction from plants (including corn) requires extensive industrial processing to arrive at the “purified” xylitol. As such, the only thing you end up with is the xylitol, not the GMO gene product that helps it survive pesticides, not the GMO gene product that helps it grow better….just the xylitol. So unless the corn is being genetically modified to specifically produce more or somehow better xylitol, the GMO argument is in my opinion irrelevant. You are not getting the altered DNA or any of the altered gene products in the final product.

    I’m not a GMO employee, or even a GMO supporter for that matter, just a scientist who believes people deserve to really understand what they are putting in their bodies. Although I don’t think the GMO argument holds much weight in rationalizing if this product is for you, I will be choosing to avoid xylitol.

    December 1st, 2013 10:39 am Reply
    • mimi

      You’re a PhD candidate and you say “who want’s?” Scary.

      June 13th, 2014 12:49 pm Reply
      • Kristen

        I am a former high-school grammar teacher, college-composition instructor, and professional writer. Even I make mistakes.

        June 18th, 2014 11:18 am Reply
    • Hedi

      Just FYI: you cannot bake with xylitol – it doesn’t react with yeast.

      December 29th, 2014 7:59 pm Reply
      • DJ

        You don’t actually need (table) sugar/honey.. for yeast to react with. Sugar is nothing more than a catalyst in the process. Yeast is going to react with ANY carbohydrate (found in every kind of flour, even in paleo types) it just needs a bit more time to do so.

        December 19th, 2015 6:48 pm Reply
    • Kimberley

      To people who are talking about what to use when baking for diabetics: it doesn’t matter. Baked goods are not a good idea for diabetics at all. Even a slice of bread can be just as bad as a snickers bar.

      May 24th, 2016 11:13 pm Reply
  • Michael

    I use Xylitol for quite some time now and I haven’t experienced any side effects by now. However, I think I use it in a moderate way. Usually I use it to substitute some sugar in baked stuff like cakes, muffins or brownies (especially when the recipe calls for a lot of sugar). It’s not that I eat sweet stuff all the time but there are some days every now and then when I have this craving for something sweet.
    When I heard the first time about Xylitol I read and researched a lot about it before I decided to try it. I haven’t heard about this rat tests mentioned above but I know that Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs (and supposedly cats too). I don’t have pets so this is not issue for me.
    As far as I know, the canine body and the human body react completely different to Xylitol. The human body can easily distinct between sugar and Xylitol. The canine body however reacts on Xylitol or sugar the same way. Its pancreas is triggered to release insulin, a lot of insulin. This rapid release of insulin results in a rapid and profound decrease in the level of blood sugar (hypoglycemia). The dosage needed to cause this effect is fairly low and can be life-threatening to the pet quickly.
    However, this toxic effect for some animals should not be confused with the effects on humans. But pet owners should be aware of it and be careful with products containing Xylitol.
    As I said above, I use Xylitol for quite a while now and no side effects at all. I think whatever we eat or drink, it should be balanced well. The same applies to fat or sugar which can be a normal part of our diet as long as everything is well balanced. In my opinion it would be stupid to avoid any sugar or replace it completely with other sweeteners. On the other hand consuming loads of sugar every day isn’t very smart either. My sister is a pharmacist and she always tells me that almost everything whether considered healthy or not can kill you if the dosage is just high enough (even vitamins or minerals).
    If I have a glas of wine or two in the evening I will be perfectly fine the other morning. If I drink a whole bottle or more I will most likely wake up with a headache.

    December 1st, 2013 3:55 am Reply
  • Jenifer

    Some really in-depth info on xylitol benefits:

    November 20th, 2013 7:25 pm Reply
    • Tim

      Jenifer, Thank you for taking the time to provide us with the rest of the story.
      This discussion has been very spirited with all sides believing they are right.
      For me it is all about making an informed decision, with all the information and
      opinions here it has helped me proceed cautiously. In the end it seems that
      moderation is key and protecting our pets from finding any Xylitol is a must.
      Adding Xylitol to my oral hygiene seems to be a good way to introduce Xylitol
      into my world. Good oral health leads to better overall health, if Xylitol can help
      I’m all in. Have a great day.

      April 22nd, 2015 11:26 am Reply
  • Richard M

    We are all going to die for some reason or another sooner or later, so worrying about occasionally using of any naturally claimed sweetners (not to be confused with Aspertame, sucrolose, sucrose, HFCS etc and any thing….obviously carsinogenic) should be trivial within the big picture of life. I recently discovered our new local frozen yogurt shop uses xylitol in their products. I have a cup seldom and find it is delicious compared to any of the other sweeteners used in other frozen yogurt treats. So, the old adage states; “Everything In Moderation” worry less about penny-ante issues, enjoy our existence as we pass through this short journey in the ways of the world and don’t sweat the small stuff.

    November 20th, 2013 11:12 am Reply
  • April

    I find it so interesting that people buy/use things that they don’t research themselves. I appreciate the blog but it does not really address that the good xylitol is birch. Naturopathic dentists are having patients use xylitol more and more. Poisonous to dogs due to the fact they do not have the same digestive enzymes as humans……obviously not able to digest things like we can and vice versa! As far as humans having digestion issues, anything you read about it will tell you basically that if your gut isn’t that healthy this will probably cause a poop-a-palooza.

    And just remember, no blog post the the “IT” of info, there can be stuff that isn’t included that really should be.

    November 14th, 2013 1:41 am Reply
  • lia

    Where did you get the information about “And, while it is true that xylitol itself does not feed candida directly like sugar does and is even promoted as a useful part of the Candida Diet, the fermentation of undigested xylitol in the gut most definitely can exacerbate yeast problems, so don’t be fooled by that argument!”
    I have not been able to find the research that backs this up and I am very interested to read about this.

    October 18th, 2013 11:39 pm Reply
  • Denise

    This is word for word from Ramiel Nagel. Sounds like all residues are removed.

    1. First the xylan needs to be broken down in a process called acid hydrolyzing. The results of this process leave us with xylose and acetic acid. The process of hydrogenation is carried out at higher pressures and temperatures ranging from 158 degrees Fahrenheit and higher. Hydrogenation needs a catalyst, so a substance called Raney nickel can be used which is a powdered nickel-aluminium alloy.

    2. The acetic acid needs to be removed as the material safety data sheet describes it as, “Very hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation. Hazardous in case of skin contact (corrosive, permeator), of eye contact (corrosive).”

    3. Then the hydrolyzing acid and organic residues must be removed, this is done by heating the mixture and evaporating it.

    4. The resulting syrup, now free of acetic acid, hydrolyzing acid, nick-aluminum and other residues.

    5. The syrup is crystallized by stirring ethanol into it.

    6. The crystalline xylitol is now separated in a centrifuge from the ethanol and from the sorbitol remaining in solution.

    7. Viola, you have xylitol.

    October 1st, 2013 3:56 pm Reply
    • NotQuiteSure

      Who is Ramiel Nagel? And where is this article, so that we all can read it if we would like. Most of your sources seem to come from http://www.NaturalNews.com, Amazon.com and your own site – not a whole lot of different sources.

      May 7th, 2014 6:12 pm Reply
  • Lynae

    A stick of xylitol gum can also kill a dog, which should be noted in your argument. But that, however, changes the rat argument to conclude that it’s probably something other than the size and it’s more to do with the difference in make up (ie dogs and chocolate).

    I think the key is everything in moderation. It’s still better than aspertame.

    October 1st, 2013 7:46 am Reply
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  • Jenifer

    There have been tons o studies done on it. Here’s one source, and a summary of benefits:

    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

    September 9th, 2013 8:25 pm Reply
  • Dina

    think this really is scary stuff and there should be some studies done on it. I used it in my coffee the past two days. I know this may be TMI, but it is scary and I think people should know… Day 1, about 2 hours after drinking had intense diarrhea. Didn’t bother me though as I usually have the opposite problem, so I thought, wow this is great stuff! Day 2, a few hours after drinking, have somewhat regular bm. Hmm I think, okay I guess you get used to it. About 4 hours later have serious bleeding from rectum. I am not one to have ever had any issues like this what so ever.

    September 9th, 2013 7:57 pm Reply
  • eeenok

    this is the most unscientific scare-mongering drivel i’ve seen on the internet today … and i’ve been looking around some god awful health sites. oh em gee … it’s hydrogenated and that sounds a bit like hydrogenated fats. i thought the “sounds a bit like” argument went out in the middle ages except for geniuses like sarah palin

    September 3rd, 2013 11:17 am Reply
  • Alexandria Sidah

    I was wondering where you get your information. I didn’t find any references to studies or other reasons for your comments. Any help this way?

    Please don’t sell my email.

    August 31st, 2013 10:52 am Reply
  • Kathryn

    Everything in moderation is the key, and no sweeteners should be consumed in large quantities on a daily basis. In my opinion, xilitol derived from north american birch bark trees is much healthier than refined sugar.

    August 25th, 2013 9:23 pm Reply
  • Rita

    You seem to be the only person who seems to be cautious even amoung natural health communities. I have tried xylitol and after a two weeks gave it up because of serious side effects, the least of them being intestinal, others were mental fog, headaches, insomnia and emotional changes. I only have two to three teaspoons in two coffees a day. I made sure the brand I got came from hardwood trees from North America. I have had some serious health problems in the past so this may be why it’s effects of me were stronger. I can’t believe other people are not complaining. I feel it had an effect on my liver or intestinal tract plus brain chemistry. I never use sweetener substitutes and just gave this a try because I don’t like using sugar….. Well never again. For all the evil they say about sugar, I find it to be the least harmful also the lesser of two evils.

    August 20th, 2013 6:41 am Reply
  • Jenifer

    “My other reason for being sceptical about Xylitol is that when we experience a sweet taste without any sugar, our bodies don’t quite know whats going on and sets off a cascade of reactions that are very much not helpful or healthy for diet or body. Me stays away from it.”

    Of course, you are free to do what you wish. But your statement about the effects of xylitol is not founded on anything factual.

    Anyway, as a longtime user of xylitol, I can attest that it has only contributed to my current superior state of health. If that sounds ad-like, so be it!

    August 16th, 2013 9:54 pm Reply
    • SusieD

      It rather IS factual, missy. Make your own mind up… but after reading articles like This –> http://empoweredsustenance.com/is-stevia-bad-for-you/ and the texts they link to, I don’t do artificial sweeteners even if they come from a natural source!

      Glad to hear you are healthy, despite sounding like you would really like us folks to use Xylitol :) Have a nice day!

      August 16th, 2013 10:35 pm Reply
    • Graham Ansell

      Brilliant comment :)

      I cleared up my eczema using xylitol, it lift my daily moods, helped me sleep better. My eczema was classed as fungal, I started taking xylitol as it was recommended for yeast overgrowths and my stubborn eczema patch moved from oneside of the body to the other and just disappeared :) ,. If you’ve just started taking xylitol your body will need a few days to adjust, take half a tsp day 1, then 1 tsp day 2 and so on, after a week you’ll be fine..

      September 18th, 2014 4:32 pm Reply
  • SusieD

    Thank you, Jan for the research and information! And thank you a little bit also to the debaters/nay sayers as well. This sort of debate will lead to us getting the right picture. Though I must admit that responses like “Use Xylitol. It really is as sweet as it’s cracked up to be” seem rather worrying and ad-like!!!

    Basically, I *won’t* be buying Xylitol, as a just in case measure, for a few reasons. I will stick with only rare treats made with ordinary sugar or honey (organic/ethical if possible) for me and the kids. :)

    My other reason for being sceptical about Xylitol is that when we experience a sweet taste without any sugar, our bodies don’t quite know whats going on and sets off a cascade of reactions that are very much not helpful or healthy for diet or body. Me stays away from it.

    August 16th, 2013 9:44 pm Reply
    • SusieD

      I meant, Thank you Sarah. *foot in mouth* I had just read Jan’s comment and Jenifer’s reply to it.

      August 16th, 2013 9:51 pm Reply
  • Jenifer

    Well said, Simon.

    More grist for the xylitol mill – here is a comment on an anti-xylitol article at Natural News:

    with all due respect to Mr Nagel regarding many of his very helpful dental ideas, this article ignores the LARGE body of research and evidence that supports all kinds of Xylitol benefits –

    we used Weston PRice guidelines AND xylitol to STOP COLD our 1.5 year olds tooth decay and have used xylitol extensively for 4 years with nothing but good results.

    Mr Nagel – xylitol is not a SUGAR it is a SUGAR ALCOHOL and if you have any chemistry knowledge whatsoever, you know there are two VERY DIFFERENT SUBSTANCES – and act chemically different in almost every way. That it is “processed” (the terror buzzword of natural food age) is to paint ALL processing of ANY substance with the same “it’s damned” brush and that is – in a word – ignorant. (and BTW – chocolate is deadly to dogs – care to extrapolate that one to humans and see how wrong you are??)

    At Daiasolgaia (just google it) you will find a pletheora of positive study references to the use and research on xylitol as well as our story about how xylitol was an integral part of our dental health program. (no i don’t sell the stuff….)

    Ravi Wells

    August 15th, 2013 4:26 pm Reply
  • Simon

    While I agree that any artificially derived substance should be studied extensively before being brought to market and the potential harmful effects noted, I do believe that your article is full of misinformation about the chemical processes which are used to create Xylitol. Though I admit I have not studied the actual processes used in manufacturing, I question your claims of “heavy metal residue”. First off, the definition of a “heavy metal” is often times misinterpreted and lacks a coherent scientific basis. Since you have seemed to classify Al and Ni as heavy metals, what would you say about our body’s physical requirements for other “heavy metals” such as iron, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum and zinc? Just because something is classified as some way, doesn’t mean it is toxic, which is the tone you took in your article. In any case, these metals are a catalyst whose sole purpose is to speed up the reaction, and are necessary in the chemical world, from the processing of crude oil to the manufacturing of foods. They could just as easily use steel wool as a catalyst if it was efficient. The other point of contention which jumped out at me is your claim that all xylitol from GMO sources contains a “dose of GMO”. Xylitol is a chemical compound extracted from another source. It has a chemical formula of (CHOH)3(CH2OH)2, which would be the exact same if it was derived from a GMO source, a natural soure, or just simply finding another (likely expensive) method of combining carbons, hydrogens and oxygens in a certain way. There are no GMO genes in the forumla, no mutated DNA to impact our own, only a relatively simple chemical compound held together by chemical bonds.

    I agree that Xylitol should be studied more, but trying to sway the argument against it using disinformation is an immoral tactic and is better suited for something like Fox News than a real discussion – you’re just trying to scare people by bending the truth.

    August 15th, 2013 9:22 am Reply
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  • Jenifer

    Jan, you may love Sarah’s article, but the info is in error.

    Use xylitol. It is indeed as sweet as it’s cracked up to be.

    May 27th, 2013 11:26 am Reply
  • JAN

    Hello SARAH!

    Love your article.
    Please tell me, what sweetener should I use then that is healthy or not toxic for human?

    I don’t like stevia because it makes food taste different.

    If not xylitol, what would you suggest? What to you use?

    May 26th, 2013 9:26 am Reply
  • Jenifer

    Why not put it in coffee and use it for baking? I think it makes perfect sense to use it both as a food and as an oral rinse. I do myself. And it is actually more effective and economical to use the granular form orally rather than gums or mints. The dentist Ulrich Bruhn who has researched it extensively, recommends using straight xylitol and has had great success with it. Please check out the article at healingteethnaturally.com, here is the link again:

    May 10th, 2013 1:54 am Reply
  • Lauren

    This is a terribly misleading article. There are countless scientific studies that prove the benefits of xylitol. The rat example would be equivilant to me eating 2 pounds of xylitol. I’m sure I’d be sick after that! Who eats 2 lbs of sugar!? Also, naturally manufactured xylitol will work wonders. Stear clear of candy bars and baked goods that only “contain xylitol” becuase that usually means there is some other type of synthetic sugar that is no good.

    Xylitol is fiber-like, yes. It’s processed by our bodies like a fiber so it brings water into your gut, but that doesn’t turn negative until you’ve had too much. The recommended amount per day is 5-6 grams for a human. That’s all you need.

    So a guide to Xylitol:
    1. make sure your source is pure, non-GMO and minimally processed
    2. please don’t eat 2 pounds at once (stick to 5-6 grams per day)
    3. for oral benefits don’t mix into coffee or pastries but rather take in the form of gum or mints
    4. in order to see benefit it must be integrated into your daily routine

    For oral benefits check out this website

    May 9th, 2013 12:30 pm Reply
  • Jenifer

    I order xylitol by the 5-lb. bag. I use it to sweeten tea, occasional sweet treats (made chocolate pudding with it, turned out great) and rinse with it for dental health. I think a lot of people are turned off by the name which seems to imply something fake and chemical, but as a few have pointed out here, it’s a natural substance found in fruits, birch bark, and produced by our own bodies. I wouldn’t advocate eating it a cup at a time, but who would anyway?

    Even the argument against eating anything made from corn doesn’t stand up, where xylitol is concerned. Whether from birch or corn, it’s virtually identical.

    I wrote a post at my own blog where I recommend it in the strongest terms:

    And some may find this info on its dental benefits quite eye-opening:

    April 27th, 2013 11:11 pm Reply
  • Jennifer

    I appreciate your article, but I don’t think you back up your premise that most xylitol is made from GMO corn. If you really want to get that point across, I’d advise you not to use a picture of a xylitol product that specifically states it uses non-GMO corn.

    Having said that, do you think Splenda is a better choice?

    Thanks …

    April 27th, 2013 10:35 am Reply
  • Dave

    what about sugar made from pumpkin?

    April 2nd, 2013 12:56 pm Reply
  • Ted

    I am new to this website; I enjoyed reading this page. In 1973 I got my Biology degree and Chemistry minor. I felt good about my understanding of life, food, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, health, etc. Early I was exposed to Prevention magazine and some health-conscious people. I read that tooth paste was too abrasive, orange juice was too acidic, sugar was poison, and MSG was harmful. I thought, why don’t they tell me what I can eat or use, not what I can’t! It turns out that you can read something negative about practically everything we could eat. Furthermore, like many people, I’ve had to sort out the whole natural vs synthetic thing and the whole organic vs other stuff thing.

    So now I’ve just been exposed over the weekend to Xylitol in coffee given to me by a good friend, and it tasted great to me. Though most of the literature doesn’t find anything wrong with it, I’ve run into this blog today. I’ve seen a general bias against Xylitol here, but also some very good facts and hard science; and I think a generally good discussion. Hopefully I can add a little. My conclusion for now is that some people can’t drink milk, some can’t have wheat, some can’t have too much phenylalanine, some people can’t eat sugar, etc… But I can and do eat and drink all those things and orange juice too. So for me, if some people have digestive or other immediate problems with using Xylitol, that doesn’t disqualify its use for me; but it gives me pause before suggesting it to others without qualification. GMO is high on my suspect list right now because the literature is filling with negative issues, so that’s the other thing on my radar now to watch for. Thanks for bringing that up Sarah (By the way, nothing I learned in 1973 worried me about GMO).

    Regarding processing of foods and supplements, really, every vitamin bottle on the shelf is a highly processed and unnatural form of the vitamin. Where can you eat a gram of anything “natural” and get 1000 milligrams of vitamin C into your system? One other comment about what was said back on 12/06/12, “I never trust anything that is pure white”. I suppose many of your readers know that so very many natural components of our foods including all the amino acids are pure white crystalline substances. In our quest to beat down over-use of that empty-calorie, pure, over-processed sucrose table sugar… let’s not vilify everything that simply looks like white processed sugar. :)

    April 1st, 2013 12:52 pm Reply
  • Sherry

    This article is misleading. I have used xylitol (from birch trees) on a daily basis for years with zero negative effects. I purchase it from Globalsweet.com. Their product is made entirely from organic birch trees. The xylitol made from corn (most brands in America are made from corn) is the one to avoid. Do your research and buy the good stuff. Xylitol is an excellent, natural sweetener when processed from BIRCH TREES. Globalsweet.com has an excellent reputation and fair prices. Visit their web site which has a comparison of all popular brands of xylitol. ONLY Global Sweet is made from organic hardwood, has no GMO’s, and is made in the USA! http://www.xylitol-brand-comparison.com

    March 30th, 2013 1:41 pm Reply
  • Ernie

    According to the Material Safety Data Sheet for xylitol, the LD50 (dose that will kill 50% of rats/mice) is 22,000 mg/kg. By comparison, the LD50 for table sugar (sucrose) is 29,700 mg/kg and the LD50 for table salt (sodium chloride) is just 3,000 mg/kg. My point is that a lot of things that we commonly consume have the potential to be lethal in excessive quantities. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t safe to consume in moderation. According to the Dept. of Health & Human Services, the average American consumes 152 lb of sugar each year. At a rate of 15 g/0.5 oz per day of xylitol, your annual consumption would be just 12 lb per year.

    March 23rd, 2013 1:20 pm Reply
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  • Jordan

    I agree with some of the commenters here- it is silly to say something kills rats therefore it’s bad for humans. We metabolize lots of things differently than animals. If a dog eats a whole steak he runs the very real risk of pancreatitis, which is deadly. It’s absurd to compare anything to a rat. Xylitol has been consumed for over a hundred years, it’s not like it’s some new-fangled sweetener that hasn’t been researched in depth for safety. Where are the sources for this anyhow? We need to be cautious about what we eat, but we also need to not believe everything we read on the internet, especially when it’s written without sourcing the doom and gloom. Sheesh.

    January 17th, 2013 10:59 am Reply
    • Megan

      Thank you, Jordan, I was thinking the same thing. Folks, just because something is derived from another substance in a lab, does not automatically mean it is “unnatural” and thus dangerous (for example: baking soda). I would use some caution when trying to find any sugar substitute as the whole point is to change our tastes, no? Cut out the daily sugar and save it for special occasions. However, I don’t think a little xylitol here and there is harmful. It is found naturally in fruits and vegetables and is produced by our bodies during metabolism. I don’t think we need to freak out about it in our toothpastes. There is a tendency to jump on a bandwagon and use excessive amounts of something as the new cure all (butter oil anyone?) and I think all things need to be judged with caution. That being said, there is also a tendency amongst us naturally minded people to mistrust anything that remotely sounds like a chemical. I wouldn’t order it in bulk, but I wouldn’t throw out everything with a drop of it either.

      March 11th, 2013 9:25 pm Reply
  • Paulina Patsios

    Does anybody know of a xylitol-free gym. I’ve searched and have yet to find anything.

    January 7th, 2013 1:14 pm Reply
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  • Natural Nutrition Nurse via Facebook

    WOW!!! I had an intuitive feeling that this stuff was not good. A lot of people on my page have asked about this so this is a very timely article. Thank you Sarah!

    December 16th, 2012 7:16 pm Reply
  • Melissa Raye Patterson via Facebook

    I had a bad feeling on it but couldn’t find info, thanks for posting ….

    December 14th, 2012 10:07 pm Reply
  • Greg Brelinsky via Facebook

    I already stayed away from ALL artificial sweeteners after a bad “trip” from sweet n low years ago. Sugar may not be good for me, but it doesn’t make me want to do backflips off the roof…

    December 14th, 2012 7:40 pm Reply
  • Yvonne Mitchell via Facebook

    Any info on Stevia as a sweetener?

    December 14th, 2012 4:06 pm Reply
  • Kathleen Gorman via Facebook

    No more Spry gum for me even though the package is labeled non-GMO

    December 14th, 2012 2:23 pm Reply
  • Suzanne

    This is so discouraging. I love baking, and thought I had finally found a healthy sugar substitute. This article just tempts me to go back to using sugar – it’s way cheaper! I find stevia great for some things, but can have a bad after-taste and every brand is different as to how much to use… this is just really disheartening.

    December 14th, 2012 12:30 pm Reply
  • Rai Bernheim via Facebook

    xylitol also wreaks havoc with the blood sugar levels of pets who get into it, such as small dogs who find a pack of gum in their owner’s purse… veterinary emergency. at least 12-24 hours of crazy soaring and crashing blood sugar. not good.
    I shudder when I see the big bags of it at the co-op.

    December 14th, 2012 12:28 pm Reply
  • Shannon Gardiner Lesniewski via Facebook

    I felt duped for sure……again reconfirms if it comes in a package its crap

    December 14th, 2012 11:05 am Reply
  • Brittany Hughes Ardito via Facebook

    It upsets me because even the most healthiest gum options use xylitol! I don’t know what to do for gum now. I don’t chew it often, but every once in a while I want a piece after a meal.

    December 14th, 2012 10:39 am Reply
  • Terri Tomac via Facebook

    I used this for a while but it always gave me diarria…..not good.

    December 14th, 2012 10:29 am Reply
  • Karen Whisler via Facebook

    I appreciated the information. I’ve always reacted terribly to xylitol (stomach baloons to about 5 mos. pregnant size) much to my dismay. Thanks for posting!

    December 14th, 2012 10:14 am Reply
  • Melissa O’Callaghan via Facebook

    it did kinda make me mad because I give my gum addict children spry to keep them off sugary gum. My 3 yr old sometimes swallows it and yeah it made me mad cause we can go through a pack a day sometimes.

    December 14th, 2012 10:13 am Reply
  • My Primal Health via Facebook

    Xylitol seems to be one of those substances that opinions vary on widely. I don’t consider it to be an unprocessed food so I stay away from it. I don’t find stevia to have a strange taste so that is my go-to sweetener. That and bee vomit….errr… honey. :)

    December 14th, 2012 9:45 am Reply
  • Samantha Stickler via Facebook

    I thought xylitol was good for dental health? If it’s from birch and non GMO.

    December 14th, 2012 9:32 am Reply
  • Angela Davis via Facebook

    Thanks Sarah. I am so annoyed. I just got this toothpaste from Redmond called Earth Paste and I did not know it had xylitol in it. :(

    December 14th, 2012 9:05 am Reply
  • Mary McCandrew Babst via Facebook

    This tears up my digestive tract – don’t like it a bit

    December 14th, 2012 9:00 am Reply
  • Christina Cardwell via Facebook

    I was a bit surprised but only because we use it in our homemade toothpaste. The only “sweetener” we use in this house is local honey.

    December 14th, 2012 8:54 am Reply
  • Christina Cardwell via Facebook

    I was a bit surprised but only because we use it in our homemade toothpaste. The only “sweetener” we use in this house is local honey.

    December 14th, 2012 8:54 am Reply
  • Brittany Blankenship via Facebook

    I’m with Jennifer, it helped concrete the opinions I already had.

    December 14th, 2012 8:41 am Reply
  • Jennifer Smith via Facebook

    It confirmed my suspicions. I appreciate hearing the truth. Thank you, Sarah!

    December 14th, 2012 8:10 am Reply
  • Shirley Kuhn Dobbins via Facebook

    J. Davis Harte, a really good rinse option is organic coconut oil.

    December 14th, 2012 7:12 am Reply
  • Holly Delahaye via Facebook

    Not surprised at all. I’ll stick with honey and organic rapidura.

    December 14th, 2012 6:03 am Reply
  • J. Davis Harte via Facebook

    Good confirmation for my gut-sense. I value Stevia – I believe it helps to create an alkaline gut environment. (confirmation?). Any good recommendations though, anyone, for a “rinse and spit” tooth rinse? My 3 year old has taken to the teeth cleansing routine with a rinse and spit of Xylitoll – (eeks! – made from corn) – which she loves, of course in one part due to the sweetness factor. Does pure og honey/water provide a similar good rinse option?! thanks

    December 14th, 2012 5:04 am Reply
  • Tonya Jones via Facebook

    Kristin Sanders our family likes Eco-Dent. Our 1, 5 and 13 year old use it.

    December 14th, 2012 4:16 am Reply
  • Marie Carol Dolce via Facebook

    Years ago in The New Wholefoods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Woods, I read about Xylitol: “A byproduct of the plywood industry, xylitol is extracted from birch cellulose by an energy-intensive chemical process. It may also be made from other hardwood chips, almond shells, pecan shells, cornstalks or corncobs. It is linked to cancer, urinary kidney stones, and bladder inflammation. Not recommended.” Since reading her book, I never considered it an option for human consumption…. I’m glad the info on Xylitol is finally becoming more mainstream now… thank you for helping!

    December 14th, 2012 3:35 am Reply
  • Donna Molles via Facebook

    Thanks. Not angry. It’s just more processed food. We use honey and maple syrup, mainly. Occasionally, organic cane sugar. Just recently bought coconut sugar and used some in a batch of oatmeal cookies. They didn’t agree with me and I’m not sure if it was just the grains or possibly the coconut sugar. I eat other coconut products with no issues. ::shrug:: The less processed the better, I say. The only thing I really trust, food-wise, is what God has given us in nature. Everything else is suspect.

    December 14th, 2012 3:02 am Reply
  • Blanca Villanueva Perez via Facebook

    I’m shocked.

    December 14th, 2012 2:21 am Reply
  • Corey Freeze via Facebook

    Artificial and even natural sweeteners like stevia are the equivalent of nutritional transvestites.

    December 14th, 2012 2:17 am Reply
  • Mandy Leigh via Facebook

    Also http://m.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=92602708731

    December 14th, 2012 2:14 am Reply
  • Mandy Leigh via Facebook

    I found better sources that state otherwise but I’m always open http://www.laleva.cc/food/xylitol.html

    December 14th, 2012 2:14 am Reply
  • Morgaine Donohue via Facebook

    Out of curiosity, why not just use sugar?

    December 14th, 2012 2:11 am Reply
  • Morgaine Donohue via Facebook

    Out of curiosity, why not just use sugar?

    December 14th, 2012 2:11 am Reply
  • Crystal Cici via Facebook

    Stevia is all we use

    December 14th, 2012 1:59 am Reply
  • Lauri Manlove Clapper via Facebook


    December 14th, 2012 1:52 am Reply
  • Laura DeChamps via Facebook

    For those asking about toothpaste, I make my own with one part coconut oil, one part baking soda… that has been working quite nicely.

    There’s also this option: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CqR8UmAvZQ

    December 14th, 2012 1:48 am Reply
  • Rebeca Beldzik via Facebook

    I can only think either oralwellnes or toothsoap..? any suggestions?

    December 14th, 2012 1:43 am Reply
  • Rebeca Beldzik via Facebook

    I got nervous because I buy earthpaste that has xylitol and I brush my baby’s teeth with it!! now what?? should we just make our own? what do you use??

    December 14th, 2012 1:42 am Reply
  • Schtreet Performa via Facebook

    Wow, what about stevia, I heard it is actually alkaline, etc. is that true?

    December 14th, 2012 1:41 am Reply
  • Larissa Lee via Facebook

    I don’t eat Xylitol but it is close to heart because I am from Finland where Xylitol was invented from the layer underneath the birch bark.

    December 14th, 2012 1:40 am Reply
  • Heather Johnston via Facebook

    I had no idea! Than YOU very much.

    December 14th, 2012 1:35 am Reply
  • Roxie Curtis via Facebook

    and just one more thing. Why are they pouring an artificial sweetener on a beautiful delicious looking bowl of naturally sweet fruit in the add? Dumb!

    December 14th, 2012 1:19 am Reply
  • Cindy Mohammed Abril via Facebook

    Anything with the word corn in it run as far away as you can

    December 14th, 2012 1:18 am Reply
  • Danielle White via Facebook

    I’ve had my son chew Spry gum because I heard xylitol kills the bad bacteria in your mouth and reduces cavities. Is this not the case?

    December 14th, 2012 1:17 am Reply
  • Roxie Curtis via Facebook

    I’m interested in coconut sugar too. I just started making my own coconut milk, flour, amd coconut water and milk Kefir all from your videos. If you come up with video on how to make coconut sugar. I’ll make that next. :)

    December 14th, 2012 1:10 am Reply
  • Charles Clark Peebles via Facebook

    Chew some xylitol gum. 2 pieces every hour for about a week. THEN you will have your proof.

    December 14th, 2012 1:04 am Reply
  • Sarah Zarling via Facebook

    Definitely mad! I thought I had finally found one I could trust and now I’m back to the drawing board!

    December 14th, 2012 1:03 am Reply
  • Mandy Leigh via Facebook

    I use Xylitol sparingly with Stevia and Coconut sugar. I’m not saying that I trust xylitol 100% but I looked into the article you cited and it’s not what I would call a solid basis for supporting your statements. If there is good science (and recent) out there I would sure love to read it but the articles cited here give almost no support.

    December 14th, 2012 12:59 am Reply
  • Cory Tuchelt-Mohl via Facebook

    Not angry, just disappointed. I thought it was good for candida :-(

    December 14th, 2012 12:58 am Reply
  • Gayle Buxton Martin via Facebook

    What about coconut sugar?

    December 14th, 2012 12:57 am Reply
  • Roxie Curtis via Facebook

    I don’t understand how any of these artificial sweeteners can be good for you. I use raw honey, molasses and applesauce or juice to sweeten anything that needs to be sweetened. Agave nectar was so popular and still is but it also is so highly processed. I don’t understand why people don’t realize that God made evrything on this earth perfect and for us to thrive and greedy people have to go and mess it all up.

    December 14th, 2012 12:55 am Reply
  • Brittnee Turner Horting via Facebook

    I have actually found that most things don’t even need extra sweetening…I used to use stevia in my kefir smoothies but most of the flavors I make taste fine (or better) without it, I made homemade hot cocoa and the recipe calls for sugar and I left it out…it tasted great. I skip it as much as I can. And I’m with you Brenda…I looove dark chocolate!

    December 14th, 2012 12:48 am Reply
  • Rob Dollinger via Facebook

    Previously I had read lots of good things about this sweetener but being highly processed it doesn’t surprise me. Since I don’t use any sweeteners it doesn’t really matter to me. Thank you for the info though.

    December 14th, 2012 12:46 am Reply
  • Susan West Olvera via Facebook

    Alishia, try stevia..raw honey has a lot of good properties, but it can still cause caries. we’re taking natural, holistic approach to healing mine and my son’s teeth and raw honey ( local ) makes my teeth hurt that same way sugar does.

    December 14th, 2012 12:39 am Reply
  • Brenda Weston via Facebook

    The “gas” effect turns me off to this sweetener. I would like to give up all sugar because of health issues and to control blood sugar. But I don’t want to give up dark chocolate. I think I could handle not eating other sweets if I don’t have to give up chocolate. So I don’t know what to do to sweeten it at least a little. I can make my own chocolate to control what’s in it but I can’t eat unsweetened chocolate. Any suggestions?

    December 14th, 2012 12:37 am Reply
  • Brenda Weston via Facebook

    The “gas” effect turns me off to this sweetener. I would like to give up all sugar because of health issues and to control blood sugar. But I don’t want to give up dark chocolate. I think I could handle not eating other sweets if I don’t have to give up chocolate. So I don’t know what to do to sweeten it at least a little. I can make my own chocolate to control what’s in it but I can’t eat unsweetened chocolate. Any suggestions?

    December 14th, 2012 12:37 am Reply
  • Jeremy Rice via Facebook

    Unprocessed sugar and honey in moderation? Nothing wrong with that. I see no need to eat any sweetener other than those 2 nor would I.

    December 14th, 2012 12:34 am Reply
  • Alishia Maria Klynstra via Facebook

    anyone have a recipe for toothpaste with honey?? I need it for my 3yr old. I was using xylitol toothpaste but no longer… What do you know about Jack and Jill toothpaste???? https://www.jackandjillkids.com/usa/index.php?UID=751cabdec7cb9c66c160e443544b8da9

    December 14th, 2012 12:30 am Reply
  • Cheryl Trhlik Zacek via Facebook

    I had just read in a book about how it was ok to use and I hadn’t ever seen it or heard of it. So I bought a small package to try. Then your article came out. *sigh* I had been suspicious when I read on the package that it is a sugar alcohol. Thanks for the information!

    December 14th, 2012 12:23 am Reply
  • Louise Butler via Facebook

    I’m not surprised. I’ve had to avoid sugar alcohols as they cause digestive upset for me.

    December 14th, 2012 12:22 am Reply
  • Angie Stimac Sallows via Facebook

    I tried xylitol products to heal my sons dental varies, instead he rapidly developed more. I discussed it with a naturopath and his said that is what it does. Now, I am researching other options.

    December 14th, 2012 12:22 am Reply
  • Brittnee Turner Horting via Facebook

    I agree…stevia tastes horrible. I mostly use honey as a sweetener.

    December 14th, 2012 12:20 am Reply
  • Tim Swart via Facebook

    Not angry, totally expected. Pure Stevia is the only safe sweetener it appears. Not only is the gum sweetened with xylitol, but most likely it contains aspartame as well. I’ve done a ton of gum reading labels and it is all garbage. No need for it anyway.

    December 14th, 2012 12:16 am Reply
  • Ann Hibbard via Facebook

    Stevia rocks! Buy whole organic leaves and make an infusion (a tea) strain, and keep in the fridge to use as a liquid sweetener. Keeps about a week in the coldest part of the fridge.

    December 14th, 2012 12:15 am Reply
  • Kristy Pendergast via Facebook

    xylitol makes me nauseous. And I find stevia to be way too sweet. We only use raw honey and organic grade b maple syrup here. And rapadura very occasionally

    December 14th, 2012 12:14 am Reply
  • Denver Tina via Facebook

    Stevia tastes nasty. I can’t be the only one who thinks that, right? I’ve always stayed away from Xylitol.

    December 14th, 2012 12:14 am Reply
    • Sherry

      I’m with you, Denver Tina. You have to get past the bitter to get to the sweet. Yuk!

      October 9th, 2013 7:14 pm Reply
  • Annie Atkin Rasmussen

    ARGH. There’s xylitol in my Earthpaste! I know I can make my own toothpaste but I’ve been so happy not having to do so!

    December 14th, 2012 12:13 am Reply
  • Bailey Keenan via Facebook

    I have always avoided it, especially since I found out how it’s made.

    December 14th, 2012 12:13 am Reply
  • Shannon Rice via Facebook

    Angry because she disagreed or angry because she felt she could trust xylitol was OK, when it’s not?

    December 14th, 2012 12:13 am Reply
  • Jeannette Arrowood via Facebook

    loryjean thank you that’s good advice!

    December 14th, 2012 12:12 am Reply
  • Tim Swart via Facebook

    Agave is poison.

    December 14th, 2012 12:12 am Reply
  • Nickel Pawless via Facebook

    Thanks for this!
    Do you have the skinny on stevia and agave too? I think it was stevia I’d read negative things about but don’t remember why…. I’d just google it, but I trust your advice more! Thanks!

    December 14th, 2012 12:09 am Reply
  • Loryjean Pratt via Facebook

    grow your own stevia; dry and powder the leaves. Then you know where and how it was grown. Many seed companies sell seed or plants.

    December 14th, 2012 12:08 am Reply
  • Michelle Clipner via Facebook

    The article surprised me as it was the first time I heard of concerns over xylitol (apart from it being poisonous to dogs). I have a penchant for chewing gum and thought that xylitol was an acceptable sweetener that would allow me to indulge once again. :sigh: Is there any kind of safe, acceptable chewing gum? (My post keeps failing so please forgive me if it is appearing more than once. I cannot see it.)

    December 14th, 2012 12:08 am Reply
  • Sarah Couture Pope via Facebook

    Karen Lossing xylitol is still dangerous even if organic. there is no safe xylitol from the research I’ve done.

    December 14th, 2012 12:07 am Reply
  • Jeannette Arrowood via Facebook

    what do you all think about stevia?

    December 14th, 2012 12:06 am Reply
  • Ann Hibbard via Facebook

    I only use it in my mouthwash formula which is spit out after swishing. Peppermint, chlorophyll, and xylitol. And distilled water. Sometimes Celtic sea salt if a cold or flu may be around.

    December 14th, 2012 12:06 am Reply
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  • Kristin Sanders via Facebook

    It just sounds funky. I use it in my toothpaste, but after reading Cure Tooth Decay I would like to switch to a tooth powder.

    December 14th, 2012 12:02 am Reply
  • Karen Lossing via Facebook

    Just disappointed that you didn’t cover the complete truth when you :”reported” this. Leaving out facts is wrong and shouldn’t be done. Misleading is also wrong. Please include organically produced and PROCESSED Xylitol, and also helping people to know that you “findings’ are for those with candida or a compromised immune system.

    December 14th, 2012 12:02 am Reply
  • Diane Sanfilippo via Facebook

    Also, I shared it on my Balanced Bites page and people really loved it. You always do great work, Sarah!

    December 14th, 2012 12:01 am Reply
  • Diane Sanfilippo via Facebook

    Also, I shared it on my Balanced Bites page and people really loved it. You always do great work, Sarah!

    December 14th, 2012 12:01 am Reply
  • Elizabeth Anne via Facebook

    I am always skeptical of any “natural” sugar alternatives.

    December 14th, 2012 12:01 am Reply
  • Rachel Petmecky via Facebook

    Wasn’t that surprised. I’m just trying to stay away from sweet stuff all together right now. No matter if its honey or stevia I still seem to have more sugar cravings after eating them. Xylitol always tasted too chemical tasting to me.

    December 14th, 2012 12:01 am Reply
  • Barbara Meza via Facebook

    Was not keen on this long before the article. I did not feel “well” when I ingested anything that contained it.

    December 14th, 2012 12:01 am Reply
  • Diane Sanfilippo via Facebook

    Loved this post. I get TONS of questions about sugar alcohols, but my passion for researching the info isn’t there. I am just not interested in digging it all up because I am not personally looking for any reason to think it’s “okay.” So, thanks for this :)

    December 14th, 2012 12:00 am Reply
  • Alana Juliana Sheldahl via Facebook

    was she angry with you or angry at the facts?

    December 14th, 2012 12:00 am Reply
  • Sam Ann Bethune via Facebook

    I prefer to avoid it, just like all the other “natural” artificial sweeteners. It was a good post and I think people need to be aware of the unhealthy products being labeled as “healthy”.

    December 14th, 2012 12:00 am Reply
  • pd

    TMH –

    Thank you for your voice of reason. While I appreciate much of what Sarah has to offer on her site (the videos are great), many of her articles, including this one, are ripe with sensationalism without much evidence to back it up. It may be that she is right on the money…but there isn’t much evidence to support that. Nor is there much evidence to support she is wrong. A few months ago, Sarah had a post about a nifty way to remove embedded ticks, involving using soap. So many people responded to her, including those with direct Lyme’s disease experience, begging her to retract the article, which she eventually did. I appreciate Sarah’s presence on the net though I take what she says with a grain of…xylitol :)

    December 12th, 2012 9:10 pm Reply
  • TMH

    I don’t get this article. Is this just a try to throw as much dirt at Xylitol as possible in the hope that something will stick? There are hardly any facts in here, that would support the notion that Xylitol is not as warm and fuzzy as the big bad media would like you to believe.

    Of course, Xylitol is an industrial product, so yes, it is “manufactured,” and yes, it is hydrogenated. But how exactly is that bad? Just because some hydrogenated foods are not great, does that mean everything that is hydrogenated is bad? Under that logic, water would be bad, because it is hydrogenated oxygen. And to translate the use of a catalyst into the presence of heavy metals in Xylitol requires quite a bit of creativity. Where are the measurements of heavy metal residue in Xylitol to back up such fear mongering? If you don’t like GMO’s, just don’t buy GMO products. It’s just that easy. And no, just because Xylitol is made from corn does not mean it is as bad as HGCS, sorry. Many things are made from corn, some are good, some are bad. Same origin does not mean same quality.

    Similarly, the argument that because only part of the Xylitol is broken down, the unmetabolized portion ferments, which would lead to the growth of undesired bacteria, is hard to follow. I’m not sure I understand this: all bacteria in your gut “ferment” unmetabolized foodstuff. That is why they are there. They grow much slower on Xylitol than on sugar, because they cannot break it down as easily, just like they cannot break down other carbohydrates as easily, e.g., fiber. So Xylitol actually does not “ferment” as much as other things we eat, e.g., non-hydrogenated sugars. Most of it comes out the other end unchanged. That’s the whole point of eating it – tasting the sweet without ingesting the calories. Why would that invite any undesired bacteria?

    The prize for most creative argument, however, goes to “don’t eat anything that could kill a rat.” If you would go by this in your daily diet, you would have to strike a bunch of stuff off you food list. Why does it matter that rats or dogs cannot handle this stuff? Humans can. So by all means, eat it. Just don’t give it to your rat.

    Of course, there is anecdotal evidence of people getting headaches and so on, but does that mean this stuff is bad for humans in general? Does the fact that a bunch of people die each year from eating peanut butter mean that we should ban this food from our pantries?

    None of the arguments in the article are funded in fact. They are all just pretty ill-conceived comparisons and extrapolations without validity and without any true relevance to human diet. From the responses in the discussion here, it seems that that is enough to strike fear into many of the readers of this blog.

    December 12th, 2012 7:13 pm Reply
    • Kitter

      THANK YOU FOR THIS. Ugh, this article was getting on my nerves for just these reasons.

      May 26th, 2013 11:42 pm Reply
    • Amy @ simply necessary

      AMEN TO THIS! Xylitol has SO many wonderful benefits to the topical application to oral health that I feel this article (since your fan base is wide spread for this blog) is misleading and causes fear instead of causing people to do their own further research.

      March 22nd, 2014 3:38 pm Reply
  • hfhealy

    Thanks for this article! I’ve been using xylitol here and there for a few years and hadn’t heard much, if any negative findings on it. I always try to stay informed about what I put in my body, so it’s great to hear exactly how this is being processed. I had a feeling there was something fishy going on with xylitol. It always seemed too processed and artificial looking to really be healthy. Thanks for the info!

    December 10th, 2012 12:59 am Reply
    • Kerri

      Several LLMD’s (Lyme Literate Medical Doctors) are using it sparingly and only a small dose 3x a week to help bust open the Lyme Biofilms. So whatever little toxins it may have is being put to good use. And of course it’s spread out so you don’t take it for 2 weeks.

      December 10th, 2012 1:54 am Reply
  • Theresa L

    I have been chewing gum with Xylitol for the last few days and have just started noticing the end of my tongue feeling very irritated and strange. Wonder if it’s from the Xylitol. Will stop using the gum and see if the irritation clears. Could not find anything on the label to indicate the source of the Xylitol, corn or birch. One of last ingredients is soy lecithin. Is that bad?

    December 9th, 2012 2:08 am Reply
  • High Brix Nutrient Dense Foods

    Hi Sarah:

    Is xytiol necessary for preventing tooth decay? Using Ramiel Nagel’s diet for reversing tooth decay, taking mincol, and using other measures like oil pulling should do the trick. These measures have properties of healing the entire body, as opposed to treating a symptom, so I would start with these first.

    I think this is an isolated compound and too often these isolated compounds do more harm than good. Their action becomes more like a drug than a food, which means much more room for negative side effects.

    One of the less known reasons why people crave sweets is because many foods have lost the natural sweetness from being nutrient deficient because of inept soil management practices, not excluding the vast majority of organic farming out there. Have you tasted celery or broccoli grown in healthy fertile soil that is sweet like an orange? I have found people gravitate toward such superior foods when they are presented to them, which in turn satisfy their sweet tooth.

    December 8th, 2012 3:25 pm Reply
  • Andrea

    Sarah, I wish you had mentioned more about the research and usage of Xylitol in Europe. When I started using it several years ago for a sweetner for my family and diabetic daughter, I spent hours looking at information on the web about its safety and usage. I read many articles about how it had been used for over 50 years in Europe and was even used as medicine for children with chronic ear infections. I find your information a stark contrast to all the good things I read a few years ago. After pondering over it for a while, I am wondering if in Europe, they processed natural Xylitol from the original sources of Birch and Raspberry to create theirs while in America, the companies have found ways to make it faster and cheaper. The American processing and advertising could very well be what has lead to the increased usage of Xylitol in almost everything and the reports as you stated above about all of the negative aspects about Xylitol. As you don’t mention any more articles that you sourced your info from than 3, I am not sure that the whole picture is being portrayed here. I would be very interested in finding out if you had done more research about the European use and processing of Xylitol. I use it in my home and really would like the whole story. Thank you for thinking about our safety and reporting these things to your avid readers.

    December 8th, 2012 2:05 pm Reply
  • Janel B

    Just FYI for anyone out there looking for good natural toothpastes: my sis and I love Uncle Harrry’s toothpastes. You can buy them online from uncleharrys.com if they aren’t available in any local stores. They’re clay-based and all natural, so no artificial sweeteners like xylitol and whatnot. The texture is different than conventional toothpastes, but I love them and feel like they take better care of my teeth. Also, Dr. Bronner’s and other Castile soaps can also be used as toothpaste.

    December 8th, 2012 1:52 pm Reply
    • ATorrez

      another good clay-based one is Redmond’s Earthpaste (the cinnamon is yum)! :-)

      December 14th, 2012 2:34 pm Reply
      • ATorrez

        ok never mind…Earthpaste has xylitol…arr!

        December 14th, 2012 2:37 pm Reply
  • Diana Hirsch

    I too would like to know about Lakanto…as I have found it to be an awesome replacement for sugar although it is expensive….Can you let us know Sarah?

    December 8th, 2012 1:18 pm Reply
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  • Shar

    Any-thing in your mouth goes directly into your blood and to your brain so quickly!

    The whole principle behind homeopathics under the tongue.

    Regardless of spitting!

    December 7th, 2012 11:55 pm Reply
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  • Nourished for Life

    Even a small amount of xylitol (or any other sugar alcohol, for that matter) causes me severe intestinal distress, which is why I use strictly stevia for my sweetener (coffee, tea, baking), or honey when baking for groups. I wish stevia was easier for me to grow (I can’t get it to germinate hardly at all!) because it is so pricey to purchase!

    December 7th, 2012 6:42 pm Reply
  • Susan

    I wonder if Lakanto sweetener is produced in the same way as xylitol. I’d love to know. It’s by-product is erythritol, an alcohol sugar. It is promoted by Donna Gates and sold on her Body Ecology website.

    December 7th, 2012 5:32 pm Reply
  • pd

    Reading through the comments, I sense in many posts a sense of desperation…”What am I going to do if I can’t have my sweets and not pay a price for it?!”

    I certainly relate to “needing” sweets. I tell myself I don’t eat much of them, but every night after dinner I crave for them. I don’t need much…a couple pieces of dark chocolate or a couple dates are common. I’ve known people who have completely cut any and all sugars from their diet (including fruit, sugar substitutes, honey, dates, fruit juices, etc). I mean everything! And they say how much better they feel in generally, more stable energy, no more cravings, etc. I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do that. I notice that even if I do eat something larger/sweeter (such as a piece of pie), as long as I do it during a larger meal (such as the evening meal for us), I don’t get all wonked out (sugar rush/crash)

    But what of the logic of “sugar substitutes”? Is it so one can eat LOTS of sweet stuff and not pay the health price that Sarah reminded us all of?

    Of course there are the “healthier” sugars such as molasses and the dark sugar crystals such as Rapadura or Sucanat. These are much less processed than white sugar or the nearly white sugars such as Florida Crystals or what is often labeled as Organic Sugar. Molasses is actually the stuff taken out during the purifying of white sugar and contains a lot of minerals, but it has a taste fitting for some recipes, such as molasses cookies, or you could just get used to it.

    When we bake sweets at home (which is rare), we use whatever we have on hand. We use honey, organic off-white sugar, dates or Sucanat. No fake sugars. Neither of us has diabetes or blood sugar problems. We don’t worry too much about how nutrient-dense the sweetener we are using, though we certainly don’t use regular white sugar. We don’t eat too much of the home baked.

    My wife eats far less sweets than I do. I do have to stay away from things like cookies, because I just turn into the cookie monster! It’s funny though, because I actually prefer my desserts to be not too sweet, but most store bought cookies (aka Pamela’s choc chip) are certainly very sweet. Cookies for me seem to trigger that sort of mindless eating where I have eaten 3 or 4 cookies in a matter of 2 minutes and I haven’t had my evening meal yet. In Germany a few years ago, I went for a hike. I first stopped at the non-health-food grocery store and bought some things for a lunch. I also bought what looked like a peach puff pastry because I wanted a sweet and all the German baked goods were so good (yup, white sugar and white flour, except for their sourdoughs). I was pleasantly surprised when I bit into the pastry during my lunch break and noted how not-sweet it was. It was really good. It was made in the in-store bakery and had a list of ingredients on it. Out of the the 6 or 7 ingredients, the last one was “Zucker” (Sugar). I bet if American tastebuds where more like the Germans, we’d have a whole lot less diabetes, Sucanat or not. It’s ironic, too, because I had assumed that the German baked goods where just as sweet if not more so than standard American sweets.

    December 7th, 2012 3:52 pm Reply
    • Janknitz

      I cut out ALL forms of sugar and sweetner completely for about 6 months. It wasn’t as hard as it sounds, but I did often tire of eating so many things that tasted bitter. Sometimes I just wanted some relief from bitter.

      Not eating anything sweetened opens your tastebuds up to things that are naturally sweet. Most food tastes so much better and more intense. Who knew brussels sprouts taste like they have sugar sprinkled on them? But it also seemed to magnify bitter flavors–behind the sweetness of brussels sprouts there’s a hint of bitterness, too. On the rare occasion I’d taste something actually sweetened, it tasted horribly sweet, too much! I find I can also smell sugar and sweetener now–it’s not a pleasant smell.

      BUT, sometimes it’s just nice to have a treat. This winter I’ve been wanting some hot chocolate, for example. I make it with cocoa powder and coconut butter. It’s tolerable without being sweetened, but so nice with just a tiny bit of sweetness to counteract the bitter. Or I’ve made a homemade grain free “nutola”, but it’s not pleasant without a tiny bit of sweet.

      Dr. Jay Wortman (a physician who treats metabolic obesity–see the documentary “My Big Fat Diet”) says that he prefers his patients use artificial sweeteners rather than sugar in any form because while there’s speculation that AS may not be safe “we KNOW sugar is not safe.” It’s a little extreme, but it gets the point across.

      A little xylitol goes a long way–I use a fraction of what most recipes call for in the occasional things I use it in. For me, with metabolic issues and poor tolerance to sugar in any form, the ability to have a taste good sweetener like xylitol is a very nice–and very occasional–treat. I know I can survive without it, but life is better if I don’t have to.

      December 7th, 2012 5:14 pm Reply
  • Tracey

    This is great article. My husband’s doctor recommended xylitol for his candida. Now I’m wondering what we can use instead. Any suggestions?

    December 7th, 2012 2:51 pm Reply
  • Dawn @ peelingbacktheonionlayers.com

    Interesting! We just used xylitol to clear up a sore throat in my 4 year old. It is not something I like to use on a regular basis though.

    December 7th, 2012 2:49 pm Reply
  • Virginia

    I’m not sure I understand why so many people are opposed to natural sugars like raw honey or sucanat as an occasional sweetener? Just the term “sugar substitute” screams “unnatural” to me. If it is Candida problems they must realize there is more to it than just sugar consumption.

    December 7th, 2012 2:26 pm Reply
  • Janknitz

    Thank you for the info. I’ve been using small amounts of hardwood xylitol with great results (no abdominal issues, nor heartburn or reflux, etc). It’s really the only sweetener I can use–everything else tastes vile and causes problems for me. Stevia tastes like eat poison smells to me.

    I appreciate the info on how it’s refined (how can they call it a “natural” sweetener when it must be so highly processed?? ).

    But I was wondering, in the absence of studies, what your basis is for statements about the effects of xylitol in the gut during digestion? If, as you say “There is evidence that xylitol can indeed help encourage a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria found in the ear canal and sinus cavities and that a therapeutic dose of xylitol can help resolve an infection in these areas quickly with no medication required.” Why would this be different in the gut??

    And is there dicumented evidence of heavy metal residue in xylitol?

    December 7th, 2012 2:04 pm Reply
    • Janknitz

      Sorry, make that “rat poison”.

      December 7th, 2012 4:52 pm Reply
  • erin west

    I am REALLY bumming right now bcz I ordered a HUGE bag of xylitol (and I mean huge-50 pounds) to stock up for a couple of years. I tried and tried to research and could find nothing adverse in my findings. Gosh, I am feeling very uneasy now.
    Also, just in the last month, I’m finding myself outrageously emotional, nails are totally flaking in layers and a couple of joints are hurting. Makes me wish I had someone to really check me out! I need a naturapath!!

    December 7th, 2012 1:59 pm Reply
  • Adrienne

    I really appreciate helpful information, but this article does have self-conflicting info in it. Sarah, you mention the issue of possibly there being metals left in the xylitol from processings, but this quote from Natural News (the article written by Ravi) states that there is NO metal left in the xylitol:

    4. The resulting syrup, now free of acetic acid, hydrolyzing acid, nick-aluminum and other residues.

    This is the article you are citing above.

    Furthermore, everyone is in a tizzy about xylitol and dogs, but as few as 7 grapes or raisins can kill a dog: http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/raisins.asp
    and only 2 ounces of baker’s chocolate to kill a 20 pound dog: http://animals.howstuffworks.com/pets/question348.htm

    So I think we need to keep our heads on straight. I am sure few dog owners keep raisins and chocolate out of their homes.

    Also, I only use USA produces birch xylitol so I appreciate the concern about China.

    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/022986.html#ixzz2EOAsM2a4

    December 7th, 2012 1:44 pm Reply
    • Moe

      Thank you for your comment…you provided great info…I never knew grapes & raisins could be fatal if consumed by dogs!

      December 10th, 2015 3:07 am Reply
  • Monica

    I remember having to take my dog to the vet because she ate a package of gum with xylitol in it, which is apparently poisonous to dogs. I have seen so many bloggers recommend using xylitol in homemade toothpaste, and I have never had a good feeling about that. Thanks for this info!

    December 7th, 2012 1:32 pm Reply
  • Kim

    I’ve seen several comments on toothpaste, so I’m assuming mouthwash with xylitol would be a bad idea too? Tom’s is the only natural one I can find though. Since I use their toothpaste, it’s likely that I’m getting xylitol with that too.

    December 7th, 2012 1:18 pm Reply
    • Marcee

      I make a mouthwash using water, wintergreen EO and grapefruit seed extract. Refreshing and antibacterial.

      December 8th, 2012 12:52 pm Reply
  • abbeygirl

    my dentist was quite pleased when I told him I’d made toothpaste with xylitol in it (although the hygienist gave me a hard time for not having any fluoride in there), and my baby’s dentist gave me xylitol wipes and told me not to nurse him to sleep, and to wipe his teeth with the wipes after his night nursing session. (I haven’t done it, because it’s a hassle, and I don’t believe breastmilk gives babies cavities.)

    December 7th, 2012 1:15 pm Reply
  • maggie

    I get a neural responce that leads be to believe the refineing process has a chemical process with a protiene I cannot process….I get the same responce form MSG, Tapioca, Agar, Potato Starch, Corn Starch…………….its IN the Science somehwere!

    December 7th, 2012 1:03 pm Reply
    • jill

      Thanks for sharing this, as I too am sensitive to those things you mentioned, so would probably have the same issue with xylitol. I was going to make toothpaste with it since I’d heard so much about it helping with cavaties. Right now I’m using Tropical Traditions toothpaste and like it.

      December 8th, 2012 3:33 am Reply
  • Kathryn

    Aloha, I have been using JustLikeSugar for a few years now and reaaaly like it and believe it is safe. I would appreciate it if there were bad news about it, to be informed. Mahalo!

    December 7th, 2012 12:58 pm Reply
  • Jean

    I’m also curious about the issue of xylitol in toothpaste. I was under the impression it was added to help with cavities, not to sweeten the toothpaste. I assume that you’re not ingesting it in large amounts if you’re not actually swallowing your toothpaste, but I would like to know your thoughts on this. I don’t think it’s worth throwing out the rest of the bottle, but I’m thinking I will buy the version “without xylitol” next time.

    December 7th, 2012 12:32 pm Reply
  • Amy

    Please comment about gum alternatives. I did not know this information before and have been chewing B Fresh gum which is sweetened with non-GMO xylitol. I try not to chew much gum, but every now and then gum comes in handy when driving and I need something to help me stay awake. Or, like the person above commented, gum can help with a queasy stomach in a pinch. I will look forward to reading a response from you about gum. Thank you.

    December 7th, 2012 11:21 am Reply
  • Lori

    I’ve been lied to again. I thought this toothpaste was a safe one for my baby.

    December 7th, 2012 12:16 pm Reply
  • Sarah

    I knew I was right about Xylitol… Even when people said it’s good for you, I didn’t believe it. Thanks for telling the truth.

    December 7th, 2012 12:11 pm Reply
  • Shar

    Chewing on real mint is great too, for a breath freshener. Having a mint plant in the house is pretty easy. I find again, coconut oil is a great freshener, even with garlic overdose. Either pulling– or swishing, or brushing.

    December 7th, 2012 11:28 am Reply
  • Shar

    Staying awake in the car – kombucha and kefir water work for me. Have no idea how or why. Extreme cases, a few nuts :)

    December 7th, 2012 11:25 am Reply
  • Lisa P

    My husband needed some breath fresheners and tried sucking on Xylitol mints for a while. He started getting joint pain. It got pretty bad. He quite using the mints and his joint pain disappeared. So, I believe it is harmful.

    December 7th, 2012 11:24 am Reply
  • Shar

    To settle my gut, I use probiotic drinks, I love how easy it is to make kefir water, but homemade from raw milk kefir milk or counter top yogurt (get the culture on etsy). Drinking bentonite clay water was the most amazing clam gut feeling I had in forever….I feel normal! Probiotics, of other kinds as well, such as home fermented cabbage, or sauerkraut, or any other vegetable. Ferment. You gut may love it too. For instant relief, laying my belly on the earth works in less than 5 minutes. And it stays.

    December 7th, 2012 11:23 am Reply
    • maggie

      Hi Shar I do a lot of sauerkraut at home,rwa milk kefir etc,but never bentonite clay water can you tell me how do you do it please.I do make also kombucha from sarah the h.h economist recipe,well tomorrow is my date to check on it,so far looks good

      December 11th, 2012 7:52 pm Reply
      • MyNameHere

        Buy bentonite clay. put a heaping teaspoon in a glass 8oz or 16oz? dunno. drink it.

        July 21st, 2015 7:48 am Reply
  • Rob

    “..heavy metal residue” Yes! m/…..m/

    December 7th, 2012 11:16 am Reply
  • taylor

    any suggestions for a healthy peppermint gum to chew when needed. I tend to chew peppermint gum if my stomach is a little queasy and it helps. Years ago I gave up aspartime and sugar and thought the gum with xylotal (Peelu brand) was a healthy alternative. Would love to hear of an alternative to this as I was unaware of the risks of consuming.


    December 7th, 2012 11:11 am Reply
    • Jaime Lynn

      Have you tried using peppermint essential oil? doTERRA sells some that is encapsulated in little beadlets! Awesome! You can totally avoid the nasty gum base chemicals.

      December 7th, 2012 5:02 pm Reply
  • Shar

    Please please, remember homeopathic medicines, a direct bloodline in the mouth , DIRECT, to the blood stream, faster than the gut, and directly to the brain, the nervous system xylitol seems to target.
    I leave sweeteners out of my toothpaste, and they are fine, fresh….put essential oil of mint in there…even baking soda alone. Perhaps if you need sweet toothpaste, you have an addiction to sweets. Isn’t it counter-intuitive to brush with sugar???? Brush with just coconut oil….anti microbial, whitens teeth….or now, there is a stick off a certain tree, inexpensive, no plastics, and people report that it is better for mouth health all around. It is on amazon. How cheap and easy to pack for overnights and air travel! I understand they last a real long time, and I am anxious to try it.
    Sugar in toothpaste = oxymoron, to me anyway.

    December 7th, 2012 10:57 am Reply
    • jami

      Xylitol is a natural sugar. One of the major bacteria in your are S. Mucans, this is the main bacteria that causes dental caries in the oral cavity. This bacteria cannot ingest xylitol, which therefore just ends up being another bacteria in your mouth. When you ingest any other type of sugar, this bacteria will ingest it and produce an acid attack on your teeth that can last up to 20 minutes each attack, more true in high sugary drinks. The dental community places this substance in high regards, due to the lack of its carcinogenic effect. There is no other sugar that does this and based on scientific evidence and research which I have personally read up on, this is a great product for patients with Xerostomia, which is increasing due to medications and systemic conditions on the rise or children/adults with a high risk for caries. The reason we get caries is because of the pH in our saliva, if the pH drops below 4 in the mouth (which is the level where the enamel will start to deminerlize) the the caries process begins. As for xylitol, I have not seen any damaging effects from the numerous studies I have read except that is it dangerous to pets, especially to dogs. Besides name calling isn’t necessary.

      December 9th, 2013 2:38 am Reply
      • Amy @ simply necessary

        this is exactly right…the xylitol is mainly meant, and effective, for tooth exposure, NOT swallowing. Does nothing for cavities if swallowed but helps reverse tooth decay when applied to teeth directly (best through gum, brushing, and rinsing). Being someone who has spent WHOLE life battling cavities and dental disease and someone who researched out the wazoo and tried the Weston Price way, ONLY xylitol has helped with my problems!

        March 22nd, 2014 2:58 pm Reply
  • Michelle

    I bought a bag of xylitol a few years ago. Baked with it and when I ate the treat my mouth went numb! I returned the bag and never used it again. Yuck!

    December 7th, 2012 10:50 am Reply
  • Traudy

    how do you use treat ear and sinus issues?

    December 7th, 2012 7:29 am Reply
    • Lisa Buchanan

      I’d love to know too! I’ve been using tea tree oil and olive oil for my kids ear infections, but I’d be very interested to know if Xylitol worked too. Could you make a syrup out of it and drop small amounts in the ear so bypassing the digestive system? Or is that weird?

      December 7th, 2012 1:40 pm Reply
    • Liz

      There is a saline based nasal spray product called Xlear with xylitol in it. It has helped me with my chronic sinus problems like nothing else, and also helps with regular allergies. I use it daily and have even warded off colds, I believe, with increased use when I feel something is off. From what I have read by the Dr who developed it, the sugar alcohol looks like food to bacteria, but they can’t digest it and get removed as it drains from your sinuses. So you would indeed be ingesting small amounts. It’s the same method for why xylitol prevents cavities via bacteria in your mouth. There was a Finnish study that found the correlation of xylitol gum helping to prevent ear infections in children – but they needed to chew about 5 pieces a day, so pretty frequently.

      December 12th, 2012 12:07 pm Reply
      • Shar


        I enjoyed reading your explananation, as it is WHY it works, and why it is also dangerous at the same time.

        Thank you!

        December 12th, 2012 12:12 pm Reply
        • Liz

          I’m glad you appreciated my comment, though I’m not sure I really said anything about it being dangerous. Some people are indeed sensitive to xylitol as you mentioned, so any application of it, not just eating, may cause a reaction. And it is true xylitol is very dangerous to dogs (as is chocolate, other common human foods, and drugs like ibuprofen.) This nasal spray has literally been a godsend for me and I consider it *far safer* than any antihistamine or other OTC drug most people are more than willing to use, often daily and for the longterm. But I personally think the safest sweetener to use is… to break your sweet tooth addiction.

          December 13th, 2012 9:55 am Reply
          • Shar

            Oh, sorry Liz,
            My point being, that if this is how it acts, it explains how it may be useful on a zone and sparsely used, such as the ear or the throat, although, I would use other means that work if at all possible, as it seems it is like a pesticide or herbicide–it wipes out what is there – which is why if you consume it, or take it every day, or often, or ingest it – it is going to kill the beneficials as well as the ones causing trouble. Your explanation of how it works makes this entirely plausible. May help boost a weak system……that is if that is how our bodies work. I have heard recently a new theory on germs and blood and defenses that is very interesting indeed. Of course, way off the theories we have been “operating” under since they were proposed, on the germ theory – that the little dots in our blood are morphing cells that do their jobs, they can first become bacteria, then virus, then fungus, and if need be morph to decomposers, all doing their jobs in our body, trying to heal it, restore it…..and not the villians, not the ones in our blood anyway. If we breath at all we get all the germs there are in the environment.
            So, rinsing with a neti pot gives the body a break, a physical break from the air microbes, as X would also. But I wouldn’t use Roundup, glyphosate, or 2, 4 D (etc -the agent orange compound) either, not when nature has clean good options.
            I see how X works though, and why it can seem to be helpful to some applications, and very nasty too.

            Sugar – ferments kill that craving for me – and the desire for wheat binging. When I make my yogurt or milk kefir, I strain them, and have plenty of whey liquid in the fridge to cure the craves. Sauerkraut fresh ferment as well, kombucha, kefir water – ferments.

            I do not mean to be rude, Liz, just processing the contributions. I can see with your description why it works in the ear, on the throat, but also why it causes so much damage and is not a long term, or repeat performance chemical for me, nor my kids.

            It doesn’t know when to stop killing microbes either, it is rather indiscriminate.

            I would never use it, nor any other -itol

            Here we use raw local honey and maple syrup.
            To heal the teeth, I agree the X factor would be my first go-to, not a refined chemical.

            December 13th, 2012 10:45 am
  • Light

    Wow. I can vouch for several truths in your article from my personal experience. For 6 years, I drank a sport/energy drink sweetened with Xylitol on a daily basis. As the years progressed, the effect on my bowels became extreme – like immediate flushing! Also, a hair analysis showed a build up of heavy metals, especially lead (though not sure where that is coming from yet). All the effects you describe fit my experience to a T. Thank you for looking into this product!

    December 7th, 2012 4:12 am Reply
  • Leah

    If it comes from the birch “xyla,” then why is it hydrogenated sugar? Is the xyla from birch *not* considered hydrogenated sugar? I also thought that with corn they got it from the cobs, therefore not from the actual sugar, found in the kernels (though yes, I would not want anything from corn, especially GMO). I had seen on the WAPF website that xylitol was frowned upon for the way they process it, but I’ve also read they’ve been using it in Northern Europe since WWII and it was naturally extracted from birch trees. What’s the truth?

    And what about other “sugar alcohols” like erythritol, sorbitol, malitol, etc?

    What do you use for sweetener? I have coconut sugar and may just start using that… I just like a little in my cuppa coffee every morning, and of course sometimes need something for baked goods.

    December 6th, 2012 11:59 pm Reply
  • Jennifer Smith

    Thank you for doing the research on this, Sarah. I’ve been giving my kids non-GMO xylitol gum every day for several years now, in addition to using xylitol toothpaste. I stopped using xylitol for baking two years ago, due to it’s diuretic properties, which made me suspicious. I now use coconut sugar. What do you think of that?

    December 6th, 2012 11:00 pm Reply
  • Jenny

    We use xylitol toothpaste, so were not swallowing it, what do you think about that? Is it still bad that we use it 3 times a day? If so, would you recommend a different tooth paste?

    December 6th, 2012 10:54 pm Reply
    • Kim

      THE best, best toothpaste out there…BAR NONE…made by a company in Australia called miessence…no chemicals used in any of their products what-so-ever…not even in the processing of any of the ingredients. Their toothpastes (some) are sweetened slightly with stevia. Many of their products are certified food grade organic. You will not find better quality products anywhere in the world if you are concerned about keeping toxic chemicals out of you and your kids. See my website…

      December 10th, 2012 12:25 pm Reply
      • Kim


        December 10th, 2012 12:28 pm Reply
        • maggie

          Oh ,I just notice the name of the toothpaste from australia,thanks , I will check it up your website,

          December 11th, 2012 7:37 am Reply
      • Maggie

        Hi Kim, I use weleda sea salt toothpaste,which is your brand I would like to try it,thanks maggie

        December 10th, 2012 2:48 pm Reply
  • Brittany Howell

    What if it is in toothpaste and we aren’t ingesting it? Is it still that bad?

    December 6th, 2012 10:14 pm Reply
  • enny

    I make homemade toothpaste. Xylitol combats the bitterness of essential oils and baking soda used. So its no safe fir toothpaste either?

    December 6th, 2012 10:13 pm Reply
    • greg

      Instead of using the xylitol or any other sweetener for toothpaste for it’s antibacterial properties, try adding a few drops of tea tree oil to your homemade toothpaste. It has the same antibacterial properties with no side effects.

      December 9th, 2012 9:41 pm Reply
    • maggie

      Hi Enny how do yu do the homemade toothpaste

      December 11th, 2012 7:33 am Reply
      • maggie

        oops ,means How do you…

        December 11th, 2012 7:35 am Reply
  • Deanna

    Instead of xylitol what do you recommend be used for baking for people with diabetes or candida problems? Is coconut sugar good? I know honey is healthy but I’ve heard it’s not the best for people suffering from candida issues. I personally don’t like stevia because it tastes like artificial sweetener to me.

    December 6th, 2012 10:10 pm Reply
    • Alexis

      I know! I cant have Stevia either because I think its disgusting! Sucks :(

      December 7th, 2012 5:06 pm Reply
    • Crystal

      Coconut sugar is not sustainable. It’s continued use is going to do damage to the coconut oil business. Tropical Traditions has a great article on this.

      December 7th, 2012 9:55 pm Reply
  • Linda Stanhope

    Thanks for the info. I use stevia. Tried to grow it, but couldn’t keep it well enough for using. I get Green Leaf clear drops. A little goes a long way.
    Thanks again, very helpful. I enjoy your posts!

    December 6th, 2012 10:07 pm Reply
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  • Jessica

    I’ve always been leery of xylitol. The name makes me think of prescription meds, not a sweetener. Also remembering how agave nectar was all the rage. I almost bought some but glad I thought it was too expensive… then finding out how bad it really was. I hate wasting money. Thank you for bringing xylitol to light!

    December 6th, 2012 6:20 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Many people are giving xylitol to their children on a very frequent basis for the cavity prevention properties. This is concerning to me.

      December 6th, 2012 6:32 pm Reply
      • lisa

        I am really torn about this.. I have been giving my 2 year old the mints for a couple months after the dentist found cavities. The xylitol has been really helpful in stopping the cavity growth. I have also been giving her CLO and I have tried a couple different ways to give her butter oil but she does not like it. I am hesitant to give up the xylitol mints until she is older and until she is done breastfeeding ( I guess that can contribute to the cavities) Do you have any good ideas for sneaking butter oil into her diet?

        December 7th, 2012 11:02 am Reply
        • JP


          Don’t worry about breastfeeding and cavities. I have had this debunked so many times (Dr. Jack Newman, La Leche League…). In my own life, the child who nursed the longest has had the best teeth. Not exactly a scientific survey…He had a bad round about the age of two, when I was told to stop nursing. I was once a lactation consultant so I did the research…it is a rare child who actually has dental problems that can be tracked only to breastfeeding. Anyway, we persisted and his teeth remained nice and healthy after that first blip (which was probably an in-utero issue anyway).

          December 7th, 2012 11:31 am Reply
          • Carol

            I use Sweet Leaf stevia drops every day, about 10, and have for many years. No problems. Better than sugar.

            November 14th, 2013 10:23 pm
          • Carol

            So not true! You wouldn’t believe how many little patients in our office have had their front teeth extracted from prolonged nursing on demand. One had better make sure that all the preventive measures are in place.

            November 14th, 2013 10:28 pm
        • elise

          Hi Lisa,
          You are not alone in your concerns. Two of my four children have had serious tooth decay and all were breastfed on cue and at night as long as they desired. I have read Cure Tooth Decay and tried unsuccessfully to promote healthy teeth through diet, even putting our family on GAPS. I have come to the conclusion that, though the cause of tooth decay is multi-faceted, it is of paramount importance to brush teeth before bed and not nurse until morning. The mouth does not produce saliva during sleep and if there are cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth, they will have hours and hours to feed on the teeth. Daytime nursing is very different from nighttime nursing. I did not follow this advice and now, though I followed every bit of natural advice and researched ad nauseum, including the experts listed in JP’s response, my toddler’s top four teeth have crumbled to the gumline, the infection has spread to the roots, an abscess has developed to drain the puss, and three new cavities have taken hold of her molars.
          If what you are doing is not working, follow your instincts and use western medicine to save your child’s teeth and your sanity. Don’t take the advice from someone without personal experience to, “Don’t worry…” If you are worried, that is your inner wisdom telling you something needs to be done.

          December 9th, 2012 2:47 am Reply
          • maggie

            Hi Elise I was in the plan to buy the book of Cure Tooth decay,but after your post I’m not sure ,what you think

            December 11th, 2012 7:42 am
          • Elise

            I still think Cure Tooth Decay is an amazing book, however if your baby already has dental caries/cavities, a diet change alone is not sufficient to save her teeth. I have learned this twice the hard way. Reading the book will teach you a lot, but in addition to what you learn through the book, you might need to consider night weaning and a trip to the dentist. A book I wish I had read is called, Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye http://www.drellie.com/

            December 11th, 2012 1:00 pm
        • Olive Ralph

          Xylitol saved a trip to emergency for my husband. Some time ago my husband had a serious toothache. It was a weekend with dentist offices closed. I went to the internet to find natural remedies. I tried several and had little help for a short time. It got so bad I was about to take him to emergency when I tried Xylitol. I diluted it in some water and within a short time of flushing his teeth with the Xylitol mixture the pain went away. I am not giving up my Xylitol yet.

          March 17th, 2014 1:38 pm Reply
      • BeckieC

        Makes sense to give children Xylitol for sweetener, if children are already using Xylitol toothpaste and mouthwash regimen. I don’t like vast differences in sweetness – from toothpaste to mouthwash to food. My enamel is very thin, teeth are seriously cracked, splitting, breaking due to radiation poisoning (Depleted Uranium dust on contaminated military equipment returning to U.S. from Middle East battlefields). Anything acid-y or very sweet can trigger a response from my salivary gland, cause throbbing in my tooth roots.

        August 20th, 2013 12:19 am Reply
      • Carla

        I’ve found the best way to prevent tooth decay and bad breath is to put several tsp. of xylitol in a bottle of Plax or mouthwash and swish for about three minutes after brushing in the am and before bed, I do spit it out rather than ingest it at this time. I wake up without that ghastly morning breath and haven’t had a cavity in years! The Healthy Home Economist needs to site the actual studies that show harm. I’ve yet to find any valid double blind studies that demonstrate harm in humans. I have a small dog and I believe she did get a bit of Xylitol by mistake and she seems just fine. I do however keep anything with xylitol in it away from my dog. I don’t doubt that it can be harmful to dogs, just as dogs cannot metabolize grapes, tomatoes, onions or chocolate. And check this out, turkey is also bad for dogs!

        October 12th, 2013 11:10 pm Reply
  • Stefanie

    Is stevia okay?

    December 6th, 2012 6:17 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Yes, use the whole green stevia leaf. The extracts are highly processed. And don’t overdo … I’ve talked to folks who are absolutely addicted to stevia which is a problem just like being addicted to sugar or being addicted to anything. Nothing wrong with satisfying the natural sweet tooth, but moderation is always key and use whole, unprocessed sweeteners.

      December 6th, 2012 6:30 pm Reply
      • Allie

        What is moderation? I use the stevita liquid in my green tea, a few drops, a few times a day.

        December 6th, 2012 9:12 pm Reply
        • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          People’s definition of moderation varies, but to me, using something every single day multiple times a day is not moderation. Moderation is where you use it once in awhile maybe once or twice a week at most. Every day is a habit.

          December 6th, 2012 9:21 pm Reply
          • Allie

            I agree.

            December 7th, 2012 9:12 am
          • Maggie

            I agree

            December 9th, 2012 12:49 pm
          • Sam

            Once a day is a habit? Ok, that leads me to ask…..what makes a habit bad? I mean….an addiction/habit to a harmful substance…ya, I can see that….but if whole leaf stevia is fine…..why is ONCE a day…or even more than that….a harmful habit? An addiction can be formed to anything. You could eat chicken breast twice a day or lots of spinach but I doubt anyone would say that was a ‘habit’ that needed to be stopped. I’m so confused. I have nothing against honey and other caloric/natural sweeteners….but where is the problem in using stevia multiple times a day? And why are habits bad? Everyone has a routine/habits. Not all are harmful…many are even helpful…..if using whole stevia…why would stevia addiction be bad? And if someone doesn’t have reactions to xylitol…what then? Is it ok?

            April 5th, 2014 9:47 pm
        • Richard M

          Stevia is a beneficial natural sweetener, but when used in cooking and heated foods can crystalize therefore creating digestion issues.

          November 20th, 2013 9:55 am Reply
      • Jeanmarie

        Not so fast. This article gives me pause and has me ready to dump my stevia: http://empoweredsustenance.com/is-stevia-bad-for-you/

        December 9th, 2013 1:32 am Reply
      • Sheila

        I have ulcerative colitis, and Im trying to follow a very strick diet, and ran across this post on xylitol. Can anyone tell me with comparison to Stevia, if Monk Fruit (which is Dextrose, monk fruit extract) ok to use in place of or not?
        So Confussed:(

        January 30th, 2014 7:37 pm Reply
    • Lucie

      If you don’t mind DNA damage.

      February 21st, 2013 2:43 am Reply
  • Alison

    I never trust anything that is pure white, especially when it comes to sweeteners! Even a small amount of xylitol gives myself and my son violent intestinal distress. I had no idea it was helpful for ear infections. I wonder if ear drops made using warm water and xylitol would be helpful. Any idea?

    December 6th, 2012 6:01 pm Reply
  • Pavil, the Uber Noob

    It seems that anything Wall Street touches turns to crap.

    December 6th, 2012 3:23 pm Reply
  • Cassandra

    My husband and I both get the most horrific headaches after eating ANY sugar alcohol, even in small amounts. And it’s not a normal headache, it’s a tightening at the base of my neck that goes up the side of my head, as if the sugar is actually affecting my spine and nervous system directly.

    December 6th, 2012 3:17 pm Reply
    • Michelle

      The exact same thing happens for me. Same type of headache, too. Any sort of sugar alcohol, free glutamate(msg), or hydrolyzed protein. Don’t know if xylitol triggers the headaches though. I know that I can have sweet leaf with no troubles. Would be interesting to see.

      December 11th, 2013 12:46 am Reply
    • FSLJ

      I went to the emergency room last night due to what felt like an anaphylactic reaction to Xylitol. I have had shortness of breath ever since ordering and eating xylitol candies from the Internet. I had NO idea what was causing these symptoms for the last month, tired, diarrhea, and severe shortness of breath. Each day I would suck on these candies to take my mind off the SOB and little did I know I was poisoning myself!!!! Finally, last night my tongue felt like it was swelling and my throat felt like it was closing, went to ER…finally put it together that for the last 2 days prior to this, I had been eating these candies. I was feeling a little better when I had switched to Ricola the prior week and that’s how I finally made the connection. This stuff is going in the trash…I’m switching to raw honey and no more artificial sweeteners. Not worth my health!

      April 14th, 2014 1:47 am Reply
  • Daniel

    Do we know why the lab rats died? It usually says on bags of xylitol to not feed it to pets. Is that similar to the recommendation for not giving them chocolate?

    December 6th, 2012 3:14 pm Reply
    • Beth

      Some animals do not seem to handle xylitol well – it’s not clearly understood and needs further study, but dogs are particularly affected (also probably recognized more in dogs because they are most common table food thieves). The gist is, the dog’s body mistakes the xylitol for regular sugar, at least initially (within hours), and releases a large amount of insulin. Since there isn’t enough sugar there for all the insulin that is released, the blood sugar drops precipitously and hypoglycemic episodes occur. Later on (days), there appears to be a toxic effect on the liver and some dogs may go into liver failure. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much xylitol to affect pets, especially small breed dogs, and many people are unaware that it is harmful or may not even know that xylitol was in the food. If you think your pet may have eaten some, call your local emergency vet or Pet Poison Control right away.

      That being said, I don’t know anything about xylitol having any of those effects in humans.

      December 6th, 2012 7:11 pm Reply
      • Mary Beth

        Locally, xylitol is used by landowners to poison coyotes. It dosn’t take much. I don’t keep any of it in my home (gum, candy…) out of fear that my dog should find it. A stick of xylitol gum could kill a dog.

        December 7th, 2012 1:14 am Reply
        • Adrienne

          Mary Beth – just wondering if you keep raisins, grapes, and chocolate out of your home b/c they can kill dogs as well. I don’t mean this to be caustic – I am really curious. I think a lot of folks get really upset about xylitol but don’t think that there are other things that we eat that will kill dogs or make them seriously sick.

          December 7th, 2012 12:50 pm Reply
          • Janel B

            Chocolate and raisins won’t necessarily kill your dog, but xylitol will since it poisons them rather quickly. With “chocolate” these days, there’s so much variation, and it’s often so diluted with emulsifiers and other stuff (especially cheaper chocolate) that a dog wouldn’t likely get enough to die unless it’s pure dark chocolate. When I once spoke to a vet about feeding my dog fruits and veggies (or maybe we just discussed veggies), her main concern was the onion family. Also, problem wth xylitol and dogs is that many people do not realize it’s harmful since it hasn’t been listed for years on lists of things to avoid. So people don’t worry or realize until it’s too late.

            December 8th, 2012 1:41 pm
          • BeckieC

            I stopped buying grapes because my vet says they cause kidney failure in puppies, small dogs. I won’t eat raisins, so don’t buy them. And don’t buy chocolate because sugar content elevates my blood pressure, and because of my dog. I am seriously ill, house-bound and alone except for my dog. All foods that I have to cook from scratch because of my health are harmless to my dog. So we eat together at meal time. Organic pumpkin pancakes are one of our favorite foods, without syrup.

            August 20th, 2013 12:12 am
          • Jeannie


            I don’t mean to be extremely rude, however xylitol is far more harmful to dogs than grapes and chocolate combined. Our family learned this the hard way last night. Xylitol is one of the most poisoning products a dog can ingest. Even the smallest amount can be fatal. I was greatly ignorant to this prior to last nights events. Santa purchased gum for our boys stockings and our 1 year old boxer (70 lbs) got into a package. Within 30 minutes he was stumbling – then immediately started vomiting and collapsed to the floor. We rushed him to the pet ER and it was found that he was in extreme liver distress. He had to get IV fluids, he is home now however, he is on a medicine to help with his liver levels. It is not guaranteed that he is even going to be OK. We have to have blood tests daily to check his liver levels. Xylitol is EXTREMELY dangerous for dogs. Far more dangerous than grapes and chocolates.
            I realize this post was made over a year ago. I happened upon this page because I was researching more about xylitol and pets.
            Please educate yourself on what the REAL effects of xlyitol are before making such comments. Yes, chocolate and grapes can be harmful – but again, xylitol is far more dangerous. Even in the smallest amounts.

            December 26th, 2013 2:03 pm
          • gut wrenched

            I bought xylitol sweetener packs per dental hygienists emphatic advice & after cursory search on xylitol that presented it as miracle loved by ADA. This was about Dec 7. Was told by hygienist only needed 5 exposures per day to keep plaque from growing on teeth. I use turbinado sugar but mixed with xylitol to get my 5 exposures in. Each pack was 4 grams only used 5 a day. Until Dec 24. Excuse graphics but after 1st week my stools changed from soft to loose to water and no processing of anything to lots of mucus with water. Lost appetite – saliva affected too – and diarrhea got very severe and scary. By 29th I went to emergent clinic – no fever at any point in this, no blood either, got strongest anti diarrheal that did not help in 24 hours, went back – did stool sample (still don’t have those results but that’s for viral/bacterial anyway – know its xylitol) Also from 24 to 31 cramping, gurgling, weight loss – scary. 31st went to ER got IV, CT scan, blood/urine – all came back okay for what they look for. Now on BRAT diet. Every 2 hour diarrhea stopped by end of 31st but still liquid watery mucus stool. xylitol is rat poison for everybody and should be yanked from the shelves. I hope I get my gut back soon and have a normal bm again.

            January 5th, 2014 10:16 pm
          • Shannon

            I hear garlic was bad for doggies too. but very good for humans! 😉

            April 16th, 2014 9:27 pm
      • Adrienne

        I think it’s important to look into food products, but dogs die from raisins and grapes and chocolate but of course we don’t think we shouldn’t eating those as a result. Animals metabolize things differently than humans.

        December 7th, 2012 12:49 pm Reply
        • Mint

          Exactly. The fact that rats do not handle xylitol well does not stand as strong evidence against xylitol for human consumption. We all know that dogs should not be fed chocolate, as it can be deadly for them. However, well made chocolate (no refined sugar, organic ingredients, etc.) can be wonderful for the body. Unfortunately, the article is approaching xylitol from a biased viewpoint which does not present enough to counterpoint the research that suggest xylitol may have benefits.

          September 26th, 2013 9:41 am Reply
      • carmen

        I love alarmists, they always act like they’re taking your health seriously.
        The reason why it kills rats is because rats and mice can’t pass gas.

        Xylitol doesn’t raise insulin per the GLP-1. But on the other hand, you can take Metformin and get similar effects. and it does raise GLP-1 with the same side effects.
        Speaking of which, personally with my systematic mayhem, things like barley and yogurt makes me sick. I looked into probiotics and realized why my own body rejects them.

        Here’s a really novel thought. Sugar. Brown Rice syrup. Eating and drinking things without syrup. Portion control.

        The more INS-1 receptor you have triggering IGF-1 growth through the cavoelae-1 instead of all of these gimmicks, you might simply allow your body to sort itself out!

        September 24th, 2013 10:56 am Reply
        • Dead

          I love you.

          November 14th, 2013 2:34 pm Reply
        • patty

          the effects of aspartame (i.e. the only sweetened gum you can find in the store)
          will make a dog sick and if they eat enough can kill them just like grapes/raisins (kidney failure) or xylitol. patients with phenylketonuria need a choice. the list of side effects from aspartame are staggering; an yet, people continue to consume this product in mass quantities (soda, food, gum, sweeteners). all foods should be evaluated by the consumer and any risk to the household should be their choice based on informed consent. . personally, I want to be able to choose a gum without aspartame.

          November 18th, 2013 11:07 am Reply
  • christine

    Oy, scary stuff. We’ve been using a toothpaste containing xylitol, and it has definitely helped our mouths, seeming to help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria. No more waking up with a nasty taste in the mouth, and healthier gums. Mind you, at the same time we switched toothpastes, we took to making and eating fermented foods especially sauerkraut, and that, too had a profound effect.

    December 6th, 2012 3:13 pm Reply
    • BeckieC

      Read the label before you hit the panic button. And don’t worry. I use Spry cinnamon gum with Xylitol. Supposed to use in combination with Spry toothpaste and dental care products. Manufacturers do not use hydrogenated anything: vegetable glycerin (humectant), non-GMO soy lecithin (emulsifier) and only flavored with natural cinnamon oil. If this product or accompanying toothpaste caused gut problems or contributed to candida / Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, I would know immediately. I suffer Gulf War Illness, which means military vaccine destroyed my gut 23 years ago. I suffer pancreatitis from Hep B vaccine, plus a host of small intestine viral and bacterial infections from too many vaccines administered too close together, too many at a time, at much higher than “booster” serum amounts. I had to get away from High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) intoxicating everything at the grocery store. I was forced to start cooking from scratch because HFCS put on 25 pounds of fluids my heart and liver could not process (Congestive Heart Failure). It took almost a year to take it off, start feeling like a chronically ill human again, rather than walking dead.

      January 7th, 2013 4:47 pm Reply
      • Moirraine

        I am in the same boat as you are – decades of antibiotics, mashed together in basic training then more antibiotics and other chemicals destroyed my immune system.

        I have lupus, Sarcoidosis both of which cause painful tumors which grow in light.

        We need a class action lawsuit to address the chemical damage done to so many without a single care.

        Not a single doctor AFTER the military spouse access I had for 33 years has opened my military records – they don’t want to know the scope of the damage they are dealing with and keep trying to throw steroids at me while I get sick with pneumonias every year for the past five years.

        I can’t get medical care WITH insurance from these clueless and inept “doctors” in the “real world”.

        March 4th, 2014 10:08 am Reply
      • Shannon

        Thank you for your service for our nation, and good luck. I too cook from scratch and it took getting used to and now is so much fun! Eat to live, not live to eat.

        Warmest Regards!

        April 16th, 2014 9:26 pm Reply
  • Ali

    Point being, humans and other animals metabolize things differently. ^

    March 10th, 2014 5:39 pm Reply

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