Xylitol is a pentose sugar alcohol having the formula C5H7(OH)5. It is presently used in chewing gum, gumdrops and handy candy, mints, toothpaste and mouthwashes, mainly because of its noncariogenic property (it has not been found to cause tooth decay).
Xylitol’s intense and distinctive cooling effect in combination with its equal sweetness to sugar make it perfect ingredient for use in chewing gum especially sugar free chewing gums.
Xylitol is a white crystalline substance that for all purpose looks and tastes like white sugar.
It occurs naturally as a constituent in raspberries, strawberries, plums and some vegetables, and is a normal intermediary product of carbohydrate metabolism in humans and in animals.
Because xylitol is slowly absorbed into blood stream and is only partially metabolized, it has a much lower caloric value about 40 percent lower than white sugar.
Xylitol was discovered in wood chips in 189o. It is as sweet as sucrose and was approved as safe for use in humans in 1986.
Commercially, it is produced by the hydrolysis of xylan (which is present to many plants), to xylose. Which is then hydrogenated to produce xylitol.
Xylitol is then purified and crystallized. Xylitol impart a sweet taste, which also appears to have a cooling effects. As it is metabolized by many organisms, it is quite stable.
Xylitol does not encourage growth of yeast, including Candida albicans. In contrast to ordinary sugar, xylitol increases the absorption of B-vitamins and calcium.
Recently, xylitol has been credited in reducing the transmission of cariogenic, bacteria from mother to infant and has been shown to have bactericidal qualities.
Xylitol as food additive
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