Pros: Natural, sweet with no aftertaste, healthy
Cons: Not great in coffee, can't be found locally
Recently I contacted the Xlear company concerning their Xlear Nasal Spray. I have been using it on and off for the last few years, and I had a question about it. They were very congenial, and sent me padded envelope full of samples to try. One of those samples was their XyloSweet All Natural Xylitol Sweetener.
They sent me a generous sized baggie filled with the sweetener, which I have been trying out in different ways. I am somewhat impressed, but this sweetener has it's pros and cons.
What Is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that is derived from the "fibrous parts of plants", such as plums, strawberries, and corn. I first found xylitol in gum, which it is perfect for since it is supposed to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
It claims to have the same taste as sugar, but without the aftertaste that occurs from consuming certain sugar substitutes. Xylitol has been used since the 1940's in Scandanavia, and has undergone vigorous tests and studies (over 1500!), proving it's health benefits.
Some studies have been very interesting, showing that xylitol has a positive effect on certain bacteria. When xylitol is present, these bacteria aren't able to stick to mouth tissues, nose, or even the upper respiratory tract.
It contains zero carbs, is as sweet as sugar but has 1/3 less calories, and it has a low glycemic index of 7, making it a good choice for diabetics or people who are trying to control their sugar. Xylitol has 2.4 calories per gram.
XyloSweet All Natural Xylitol Sweetener is available in two forms. You can purchase it in 1, 3, 5, and 55 pound bags, and it is also available in the form that I have, individual packets.
The packets are a little larger than the more commonly found blue, yellow and pink packaged sugar substitutes, but it's still small at 2 1/2" by 2". The packet is white with the picture of the product being sprinkled over a bowl of fruit. The packet reads:
* 100% Pharmaceutical Grade Xylitol
* Sugar Sweet / No Aftertaste
* Safe for Diabetics & Hypoglycemics
* 0 Grams net carbs
The back of the packet states that one packet contains 9.6 calories, zero fat, 4 grams of carbs, 0 sugars, 4 grams xylitol, 0 sodium, and 0 protein.
I found it confusing that the packet says Xylo Sweet contains 4 grams of carbs, but at the bottom of the packet it reads "net effective carbs = 0".
I just called the company and the gal who answered didn't know how to answer that question and gave me a specialist to speak with.
His reply was that technically and chemically it has 4 grams of carbs, but these are polyols (sugar alcohols) that will not raise blood sugar levels, so they are subtracted out.
He said more and more companies are now calling sugar alcohols "polyols" because they get calls from people who are recoving alcoholics concerned about this being a safe product for them. Sugar alcohols aren't really a sugar or an alcohol.
I have been watching what I eat, and cutting down on sugars, so I have been experimenting with some of the newer sugar substitutes such as Truvia.
I did some experimenting this morning with XyloSweet, sugar, and Truvia. Both the Xylosweet and Truvia packets contained just shy of one teaspoon of granules. XyloSweet is made up of slightly larger crystals than both sugar and Truvia, and in my opinion it has the sweetest taste, even tasting slightly sweeter than pure cane sugar.
Just as Xlear states, I found no aftertaste with XyloSweet, it does make a fantastic sugar substitute in that regard. The Truvia has a slightly bitter taste compared to the other two substances.
Having said that, I find it very odd that one packet of Truvia does a great job of sweetening my thermos mug of coffee, while the Xylo Sweet didn't seem to make it as sweet. Very strange. Maybe the Truvia is actually sweeter but tasting it directly on my finger I don't notice it because of the slight aftertaste - but yet this could possibly be compromised when added to other drinks or foods? Not sure, but that certainly was the case with me.
The information that came with my samples states that XyloSweet contains 40% fewer calories and that it has no additives, flow agents or fillers. All good things. It is "non-GMO", which means it contains no "genetically modified organisms". Another good thing. Xylitol has been approved by the World Health Organization and the FDA as safe. And you can cook with it! Xlear says that XyloSweet is interchangeable with sugar for most cooking applications.
I sprinkled some XyloSweet on some strawberries that weren't the best tasting berries I have ever had, and this really did give it a nice sweetness without any bitterness or aftertaste. The larger crystals take a bit longer to dissolve in the mouth (as compared to sugar), but that's the only slightly negative I can come up with. That, and one packet alone doesn't sweeten my coffee as much as a packet of Truvia does.
Xlear XyloSweet comes in boxes containing 100 packets, and retails for $9.95. If you want to buy it in bulk for cooking, you can get the larger bags, but ten bucks for 100 packets isn't a bad price. The price of Truvia is comparable, my 50 count box retailed for almost $5.00 here in Alaska.
The biggest downfall I see is that I have yet to find Xlear XyloSweet in any local stores, so it appears I will have to order it via the internet. A call to their toll free number didn't allow me to reach a customer service rep.
To conclude, I do like XyloSweet, and any product that sweetens with less calories, does not have an after taste, is all natural, and has a positive effect on bacteria gets two thumbs up from me.