Birch sugar (xylitol), erythritol and co – This is what I think of them

Written by Marina Lommel
3 minutes reading time
19. April 2023
Xylit_Erythrit

Here is a brief overview on the subject of xylitol, erythritol and other sweeteners.

Quite often I am asked: xylitol, erythritol, honey, tralala… Marina, what should I take now?

For Paleo people I rather recommend xylitol, also called birch sugar. Low carb and keto followers often advocate erythritol (sukrin is the same thing, just a brand name) because it has 0.0 effect on blood sugar levels.

The reason is this: honey, agave syrup, apple slaw, etc. may sound healthy and natural, but in my opinion they are not suitable as sweeteners in quantities. For people who want to lose weight, it makes sense to reduce carbohydrates. In addition, these sweeteners are full of fructose. The Paleo diet has evolved in the meantime. In the past, there was a stone-age romantic view of eating only foods “from back then.” This argument was not completely tenable because most of the foods we eat today as Paleoans were not even available back then, and if they were, they were not in the same region. Paleo is now seen as more about “cutting out harmful foods” and “eating healthy foods.” So omit grains, legumes, dairy, additives… instead, good animal sources of protein, vegetables, some fruit, nuts, seeds, and other good sources of fat.

Then there are foods in a neutral zone that do no harm, but don’t do as much good either. This includes xylitol.

It’s a crutch to get around the high-carb, high-fructose sweeteners. Ideally, you don’t eat any replicas at all – neither with honey nor with xylitol. But if you want to make yourself something sweet once a week or less often, I always advise xylitol, even under Paleo, because the metabolic response to a high fat low carb pastry is much better.

I prefer xylitol, because of the better taste in my eyes and because of the benefits for dental health and bone density.

In the established Paleo community, xylitol also belongs in a gray area:

Chris Kresser points out the benefits to dental health: http://chriskresser.com/are-xylitol-sorbitol-and-other-sugar-alcohols-safe-replacements-for-sugar/

Nico Richter doesn’t see it negatively, as long as you don’t overdo it with the amount: http://www.paleo360.de/gesunde-ernaehrung/welche-suessungsmittel-sind-paleo/

Felix Olschewski sees it as unproblematic in normal: http://www.urgeschmack.de/welcher-susstoff-ist-gesund/

You cannot use xylitol under a low FODMAP diet.

Consumed in large quantities, especially in beverages, xylitol has a laxative effect. Some are more sensitive, some are less sensitive. You have to find your own way. For example, I can eat several cupcakes with xylitol and drink a soda without any problems. Others notice it after just one cupcake. Erythritol hardly shows this laxative effect.

And another WARNING: Xylitol is toxic for dogs! http://www.wissen-hund.de/lebensgefahr-birkenzucker-xylit-fur-hunde/

I hope I have been able to provide some clarity here. Soon, as I said, I have planned a detailed article about it anyway.

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Where can I buy xylitol?

In our online store we offer both birch sugar (xylitol) and erythritol.

Photo: Shutterstock.com / qoppi

This article was written by

Marina Lommel

Marina gründete Foodpunk nach ihrem Abschluss in Ernährungswissenschaften und ist aktuell CEO des Unternehmens. Während ihres Studiums arbeitete sie in verschiedenen Bereichen, darunter in der Wissenschaftsredaktion beim Radio, Redaktion beim TV und Uni-Wissensmagazin sowie im Labor am DZNE in der Parkinsonforschung. Marina ist außerdem Autorin von 5 ernährungswissenschaftlichen Sachbüchern.

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