Xylitol is a sweetener alternative that is a sugar alcohol. Its sweeting qualities are comparable to sucrose or table sugar but it contains far less calories. Thought it is an alternative sweetener, Xylitol has been found to offer dental benefits. The sweetener was discovered by chemists in Fance and Germany during the 19th century.
The sweetener occurs naturally inside of the fibers of fruits, vegetables, berries, and other foods. It can be made synthetically using xylan extract. Xylitol has been found to offer additional health benefits beyond dental care including inhibiting the growth of Streptococcus pneumonia. Since it contains about 33% less calories than table sugar, it is absorbed slower and is not a contributor to high blood sugar; it has been found to be beneficial for those suffering with diabetes and insulin resistant disorders.
In the form of a chewing gum, Xylitol has been found to decrease the rate of otitis media in children; it has also been used in nasal sprays to decrease bacteria and pollutants.
In skin care products, Xylitol is used as a humectant, helping the skin to retain its moisture. Studies indicate that the ingredient is capable of increasing hyaluronic acid and collagen production. Because of its hydrating qualtities, it is said to create a natural barrier for the skin.