"I Can't Believe It's Not Sugar!": an Introduction to Xylitol

XylitolYou've heard that Jöne's Gelato is dairy-free, nut-free, sugar-free, organic, and diabetic friendly, but how exactly does a normally guilty dessert satisfy all of these nutritional requirements? This next series of blog posts will expand on the nature, quality, and reasoning behind the ingredients we use to ensure that our gelato makes your body as happy as you.




XYLITOL: WHAT IS IT?

Naturally found in plant fibers, Xylitol is a sugar-alcohol used as a healthy alternative to table sugar. Having a glycemic index of 7, Xylitol has significantly less impact on blood sugar. Furthermore, one gram of Xylitol possesses about 40% less calories than one gram of table sugar. Its properties as a complex carbohydrate and partially absorbed substance allows its unabsorbed components to act as a dietary soluble fiber. All of these characteristics yield the following health benefits:

  • Balancing blood cholesterol and glucose levels due to un-absorbed components functioning as soluble dietary fibers
  • Less calories per gram comparatively to table sugar assists in weight-loss
  • Protects teeth; non-fermentable property prevents bacteria from digesting Xylitol, thus decreasing bacteria growth and plaque formation on teeth
  • Xylitol's efficient conversion to glucose and glycogen helps the body restock its energy sources after glycogen depletion due to exercise 
  • Xylitol is non-allergenic, with the likelihood of an adverse reaction being one in a million

One of the main reasons we use Xylitol as a sweetener is the fact that it is diabetic friendly. This is due to the fact that it has zero fructose. When the body consumes large amounts of sugar, such as from high fructose corn syrup, our blood sugar rises and subsequently our insulin levels. Over time, our bodies become so overwhelmed from spikes in blood sugar and may become insulin resistant, the main symptom behind a diagnosis of Type II Diabetes. Sugary substances are categorized using a Glycemic Index, a system measuring how fast a type of food increases the blood sugar. The higher the number, the greater the impact on blood sugar a food has. This being said, table sugar has a Glycemic Index of 68, maple syrup has a Glycemic Index of 54, but Xylitol has a Glycemic Index of 7, and is thus categorized as a natural sweetener with negligible impact on blood sugar!  

WHY NOT AGAVE?

Although Agave is low glycemic, its high amount of fructose and heavy processing strip the sugar of the health benefits known to the Agave plant. The result is a sweetener similar to high-fructose corn syrup. Fructose in low to moderate amounts may not raise blood glucose, but high amounts of Fructose overload the liver as it converts excess Fructose into fat. Especially in the US where sugar consumption is high, long term consumption of Fructose may lead to Insulin-resistance. 



Everyone should be able to indulge in gelato despite dietary restrictions. We intentionally source our Xylitol from Birch trees instead of GMO corn to avoid any possible adverse reaction. Because we use Xylitol, our customers enjoy quality gelato without having to sacrifice their health, and we can confidently state that not everything healthy is unappetizing!


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