Xylitol (Zy-Li-tall) For One and For All

Posted on January 29, 2011

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Keep hearing that weird Xylitol word around your nerdy health friends or are seeing it on the shelves at your grocery store and wondering what the hell it is and why it’s so special? Me too!

Besides knowing that it’s a naturally occurring food substance found in many fruits and vegetables (a plum has about half of a gram) and is about as sweet as table sugar (sucrose) but with a third less calories, I didn’t know what to believe when little birdies kept asserting that it improves dental health too! “Say whaat!?” said Phat Chow.

I knew I had to dig deeper and check out some legit studies in peer reviewed medical journals about this stuff.

Your never going to believe what I found…

(except that I hope you do because no one wants to be the loser that’s still naively using Splenda…)!

If you’re like me and go through phases of extreme gum chewing (not like I’ve ever gone through a pack a day or anything…) get excited about the latest study findings regarding chewing gum and your health.

The department of Psychology at Coventry University in Coventry, UK concluded at the end of their study (1) involving thirty participants (who completed a 20-min multi-tasking stressor on consecutive days, both with and without chewing gum) that chewing gum was shown to increase alertness following the stressor. They asserted that such increases may be linked to greater cerebral activity following the chewing of gum (Fang Li, Lu, Gong, & Yew, 2005).

Oh and make sure that chewing gum your chomping on contains pure xylitol. You definitely don’t want that gross aspartame, sucrose, or other similar artificial sugars that are used in almost every sugarfree or otherwise gum in convenient stores coursing through your veins any ways).

A randomised clinical trial that studied a total of 176 children with high mutans streptococci (MS) scores (randomized into equal groups for 6 months, the xylitol group chewed five times during the day, 11.6 grams of a mixed gum containing 36.6% xylitol while the control group chewed an identical dose of a non xylitol gum) suggests that the use of high-dose xylitol chewing gum has beneficial effects on plaque pH and MS!

I know I know, now your really excited and are phening for some xylitol gum (err…) but don’t know what on earth brand you should choose?!

So there’s a few xylitol gum brands circulating these days…

Being that I’m addicted to gum, avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs, and work at a natural foods store, I’ve tried A LOT of xylitol sweetened gum.

This kind happens to be my very very favorite:

Can I get a drumroll up in here?

DA, DA DA, DA…Spry wins the award for the tastiest and most beneficial Xylitol (Zy-Li-tall) sweetened gum in my book. I carry the spearmint kind in my purse or car at all times (especially during my big stressor times, like that nasty college fi#@ls word).

Spry is pure xylitol sweetened gum, that’s right 100% xylitol (awesome, and so rare in gums that claim to contain xylitol).

So don’t delay, if you do anything for your teeth and gums this year (let’s assume you’ve got the brushing and flossing thing down by now, and hey,Spry even makes other sweet ‘no pun intended, heh’ xylitol products like mints and toothpaste) add chewing pure xylitol sweetened gum to your dental hygiene regimen today!

**CAUTION: Keep products contianing xylitol AWAY from dogs, as it is HIGHLY TOXIC for them to ingest!

(1) Johnson et al, Chewing gum moderates multi-task induced shifts in stress, mood, and alertness. A re-examination. Appetite, January 11, 2011: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21232569

(2) Duane, Xylitol gum, plaque pH and mutans streptococci. Evid. Based Dent. 2010;11(4):109:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21170011

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