Xylitol and Diabetes
Diabetics are usually advised to cut down on sugar and simple carbohydrates. Although most experts agree that a diabetic diet can include small amounts of sugar, replacing it with sweeteners can be beneficial for the management of glucose levels, especially for people that have a sweet tooth. Xylitol is one of those sweeteners.
Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure of how fast a food causes a rise of blood glucose levels. Foods with high glycemic index cause a more rapid elevation of glucose levels. Xylitol has a glycemic index of 7 while white sugar’s GI is 68. That means that the consumption xylitol won’t cause a spike in blood glucose levels.
It has been demonstrated in several studies that a low GI and GL diet can help the prevention of type 2 diabetes(1). That means that replacing sugar with xylitol may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes (obviously this change won’t do any miracles by itself).
One more benefit, is that xylitol has 40% less calories compared to sugar. This may not be a huge difference but its use instead of sugar can help diabetics reduce their daily calorie intake and lose weight or control their weight, which is essential for the management of diabetes.
1.Schulze MB, Liu S, Rimm EB, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. Glycemic index,
glycemic load, and dietary fiber intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes in
younger and middle-aged women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Aug;80(2):348-56.