Xylitol Research and Evidence
Xylitol is a non-sugar sweetener extracted from the birch tree. It is a five-carbon polyol that has effectively demonstrated itself to be cariogenic, by its action of neutralizing plaque acidity on teeth and repairing tooth enamel. Hence, it is also called the “magic bullet.”
The major production of xylitol goes to the pharmaceutical and oral hygiene industries and to confectionary manufacturers. It has 30% less calories compared to table sugar (calorific value of xylitol is 2.4 kcal/g, while that of sugar is 4 kcal/g) and is used in different food products for children like chewing gum, candies, gelatin, and in lozenges, toothpaste, and mouth rinses.
Xylitol and Dental Caries
Clinical trials on xylitol show that it plays a major role in prevention of dental caries in babies and teenaged children and in the fetus through the mother. Use of xylitol chewing gum is directly related to reduction of dental caries. Moreover, xylitol also reduces the s. mutans transmission from mother to infant.
Another research on children has found that xylitol candy, pops, ice, gums, puddings, and cookie help in arresting dental caries. Follow-up studies five years later showed that xylitol gum resulted in reduction of caries by 59% against no gum use.
Trials conducted in Finland, a major producer of xylitol, proved that children of xylitol-treated mothers’ had lower levels of s. mutans than those treated with fluoride varnish or chlorhexidine.
Other Impacts of Xylitol
Accumulation of excessive xylitol in the intestine leads to retention of water, which results in diarrhea. Consumption of excessive volumes of xylitol can lead to side effects such as gas and bloating. Xylitol which remains unabsorbed is eliminated after being broken into carbon dioxide. A report published by the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Food in 1985 stated that consuming 50 g of xylitol per day can lead to diarrhea. The Committee also affirmed that tabletop sweeteners that contain xylitol must be highlighted with a warning saying: “Too much of consumption may lead to laxative effects.”
The impact of xylitol is much less on the blood sugar levels compared with natural sugar, because of the gradual absorption rate of xylitol. This fact was approved in a xylitol review by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). This indicates that xylitol could help people with disrupted tolerance of glucose, a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Health benefits and risks of chocolate
Chocolate is made from tropical Theobroma cacao tree seeds. Its earliest use dates back to the Olmec civilization in Mesoamerica.
After the European discovery of the Americas, chocolate became very popular in the wider world, and its demand exploded.
Chocolate has since become a popular food product that millions enjoy every day, thanks to its unique, rich, and sweet taste.
Fast facts on chocolate
Chocolate consumption has long been associated with conditions such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, and hypertension.
Chocolate is believed to contain high levels of antioxidants.
Some studies have suggested chocolate could lower cholesterol levels and prevent memory decline.
Chocolate contains a large number of calories.
People who are seeking to lose or maintain weight should eat chocolate only in moderation.
History of Candy
Candy is made by dissolving sugar in water or milk to form syrup. The final texture of candy depends on the different levels of temperatures and sugar concentrations. Hot temperatures make hard candy, medium heat make soft candy and cool temperatures make chewy candy. The English word ''candy'' is in use since the late 13th century and it derives from Arabic qandi, meaning ''made of sugar''.
Honey has been a favorite sweet treat throughout recorded history and is even mentioned in the Bible. The ancient Egyptians, Arabs and Chinese candied fruits and nuts in honey which was an early form of candy. One of the oldest hard candies is barley sugar which was made with barley grains. The Mayans and the Aztecs both prized the cocoa bean, and they were the first to drink chocolate. In 1519, Spanish explorers in Mexico discovered the cacao tree, and brought it to Europe. People in England and in America ate boiled sugar candy in the 17th century.
Sour candy trends
Sour candy has captured the attention and taste buds of consumers who look for confectionery experiences outside of the standard of sweet, says Steve Schuster, president of Wisconsin-based Schuster Products, which makes a line of sour products called Face Twisters.
“It is extreme, and people like to push their sensation of taste,” he said. “They are now accustomed to this taste sensation and seek it because it moves beyond the norm.”