Sugar might be a popular product, but for those who are looking to lose weight or need to manage their blood sugar levels tightly, it isn’t a viable solution. Thankfully there are artificial sweeteners on the market today like Xylitol and Stevia that can provide a sweeter experience without the caloric or glucose spikes that sugar causes. The human body craves sugar. It can be a tough habit to break. These artificial sweeteners can make it possible.
Sometimes there is a medical need to eliminate sugar from the diet. A fungal infection like Candida, for example, requires a complete elimination of sugar. Both Xylitol and Stevia are found naturally, so they both have a similar advantage. Here is a look at the strengths and weaknesses of both products.
The Strengths and Weaknesses of Xylitol
Xylitol comes from a natural sugar alcohol that is found in many different foods. Oats, raspberries, and even mushrooms all contain it. When you purchase this product at the store, however, it usually comes from corn. Depending on your personal preferences, you may wish to seek out non-GMO suppliers of corn-based Xylitol to protect your health.
Here are the advantages of using Xylitol.
1. It doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels like consuming regular sugars do, making it a friendly food option for diabetics.
2. It reduces the levels of fungal byproducts that are within the body when an infection occurs, which helps to lessen the side effects that people experience.
3. It does not promote the same levels of tooth decay as bacteria in the mouth don’t recognize it as a food product.
4. It contains about 50% of the calories of a regular serving of sugar and has just a fraction of the carbs.
There are also disadvantages to consider while using Xylitol as a sugar substitute.
1. It can cause stomach discomfort when regularly consumed, including cramping and diarrhea. These symptoms tend to go away with regular use or if the total amount consumed is reduced.
2. It can be fatal when consumed by certain pets, especially dogs. You must keep Xylitol stored on the upper shelves of your cabinet or pantry and immediately call a veterinarian if a pet consumes it.
The Strengths and Weaknesses of Stevia
Stevia originates from just one plant that is native to Paraguay. Called “stevia rebaudiana,” it is now regularly grown all over the world. The sweetener comes from just one compound that the plant produces. It takes a little getting used to using this artificial sweetener because although it is very sweet, the flavors are very different when compared to regular sugar. Look for 100% Stevia products that don’t have other artificial sweeteners in them, like maltodextrin or aspartame, for the best experience.
Here are the advantages of using Stevia.
1. Although it is more likely than Xylitol to be recognized as sugar, it still doesn’t feed bacterial or a fungal infection like sugar will.
2. It has a lower Glycemic index rating than regular sugar, but a higher rating in some individuals when compared to Xylitol.
3. It contains no calories and many people use less Stevia than they do sugar or other artificial sweeteners because it is so sweet.
Here are the disadvantages of using Stevia on a regular basis.
1. Most of the Stevia products that are on the market today are not 100% pure. Many contain additional sweeteners. Some have even been known to mix in a little sugar.
2. It has only been approved the compound from which the sweetener is created in the US for use. Stevia itself is only approved as a dietary aid.
3. Regular use of Stevia may cause nausea and bloating.
Which Sweetener is the Best One To Use?
For many people, the choice between Xylitol vs Stevia comes down to the flavor of the product itself. Because Stevia products have such a unique flavor to them, some people opt to use Xylitol instead. Both are beneficial for those who need to control their blood sugar and both help to better control certain infections that may need a complete elimination of sugar from the diet.
Both products are also priced at a similar price point, although 100% pure Stevia may be more expensive than Xylitol in some markets because of its lower levels of availability. If baking with these products, consider adding avocado or nutbutters to create a more consistent end product. In return, you may not even miss the sugar from your diet.