Pure, Sweet And Good For You

  • 1 Apr 2009
  • Reading time 4 mins
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When I first heard about xylitol, I was deeply sceptical – as I am about any 'sugar alternative'. I hunted for a downside and the more I searched, the more I became convinced that this entirely natural sugar is nothing short of a blessing.

An Amazing Discovery Xylitol was first discovered in the 1890s by scientists in France and Germany. But it wasn’t until after the Second World War – when Europe was experiencing a war-associated sugar shortage – that xylitol began to be used as an alternative sweetener. Researchers at the former Finnish Sugar Company developed a procedure to extract xylitol from birch trees. The result was a sweet-tasting granular substance that could be used in place of sugar. A scientist noted that something strange happened to those who consumed xylitol in place of sugar – their teeth looked clean and in excellent condition. The Finnish dental and medical professions became interested, and have been conducting research into the beneficial effects of xylitol since the 1970s. Then in the late 1990s, an American doctor called Lon Jones discovered the Finnish research.

Dr Jones mixed xylitol granules into a saline nasal spray to enhance delivery to the sinus tissues. In 2000, he founded a company to make his ‘Xlear’ nasal spray commercially available. The company now sells a range of xylitol products, including the excellent sugar substitute I mentioned earlier. But before I talk about that, let me explain more about how xylitol can help keep nasal cavities clean and clear. Clear Your Airways Xlear combines xylitol with a mild saline solution to wash, hydrate and moisturise the airways. Central heating reduces atmospheric humidity and can be very drying. This makes mucous thicker, drier and harder to clear.

Xlear’s cleansing and hydrating properties therefore come into their own during the colder months. It’s not just the winter sniffles that can be helped by Xlear. It also relieves irritation caused by pollutants and allergens. When I first discovered this product, I gave a sample to a colleague. “Just two sprays of Xlear in each nostril really made a difference,” she told me. “I was so impressed, I ordered a nasal spray for my mother, and she now swears by it as well.” An Aid to Weight Loss January brings resolutions to lose weight for many.

This is the other key benefit of xylitol – it contains 40 per cent less calories than conventional sugar, is sweeter than most other sugar substitutes but unlike artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or saccharin, it doesn’t contain any unnatural chemicals ......

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