All those with a sweet tooth struggle with the same problem: the sweet sins go straight to the hips and kill our bikini figure. To chocolate and cake? No solution either. And you don’t have to: that’s what “Xucker” – or more precisely, xylitol – is for. This sugar substitute not only has fewer calories than normal sugar, but is also much healthier.
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Jasmin Mengele, expert in low carb, has long sworn by xylitol and uses it to create damn tasty, low-carb recipes for cakes, desserts & co. that you can read on her blog Soulfood LowCarberia or can taste it in their – first in Germany – low carb restaurant with café and shop in Nuremberg. We asked her how good the hyped sugar substitute really is and what you can conjure up in the kitchen with it.
In this article:
- What is xylitol or xucker?
- What is the difference to Xucker light?
- How is xylitol produced?
- Is “Xucker” healthier than sugar?
- In which products is xylitol used?
- What does xylitol taste like?
- How to use xylitol in the kitchen?
- Where can you buy xylitol?
- Does the sugar substitute also have disadvantages?
- Conclusion: Thumbs up for xylitol!
What exactly is xylitol anyway?
Xylitol (or xylitol) is a so-called sugar alcohol, also known as birch sugar. Xylitol is often equated with “xucker”, although xucker is merely a trade name, i.e. only the brand name of a particular company. There are other manufacturers of xylitol, such as Xylipur or Birch Gold. Our expert Jasmin Mengele also sells the healthy sugar substitute Xylitol “Like sugar” in her shop.
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The name “xucker”, however, simply remains better in the minds of many people and gives an idea of how similar xylitol is to household sugar. They are not only visually similar, but also come very close to each other in their sweetness. “Xylitol is the perfect low-carbohydrate alternative to sugar”, Jasmin Mengele puts it in a nutshell.
By the way: Although xylitol is a sugar substitute, it KEIN Sweetener. They are a hundred or a thousand times sweeter than sugar.
What is the difference to Xucker light?
Although Xucker light comes from the same manufacturer as Xucker, it is a completely different product: behind it is the calorie-free sweetener erythritol. Just like xylitol, this is of course also available from other manufacturers, such as Soulfood LowCarberia. Erythritol is also sweet, but you need a lot more, because it has only 70 percent of the sweetening power of sugar.
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Furthermore, the areas of application differ: While xylitol is great for baking, erythritol is not so good for baking because it has different baking properties. However, erythritol is the ideal sweetener for beverages such as coffee or sugar-free lemonades.
How is xylitol produced?
Xylitol is a vegetable sweetener that is naturally found in various vegetables, fruits or in the bark of certain types of wood. Hence the name “birch sugar”. Nevertheless, this name is misleading.
Birch sugar should actually be called corn sugar by now © I love photo / Shutterstock.com
Although xylitol is also obtained from the bark of birch trees, beech bark is much more common. The bark falls off as a waste product during tree felling operations, so that production is sustainable, as manufacturers emphasise. However, since the resources of wood are not sufficient, plant fibres from maize are also used for the production of xylitol.
Here, too, the manufacturers attach great importance to using only corn without genetic engineering, so that a high-quality end product is produced. Due to many steps in the production process, in which xylitol is filtered in several stages, the end product is very pure and has no residues of pesticides (the purity is between 98.5 % and 99.5 %).
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There are two methods for obtaining xylitol from plant fibers: One possibility is to use heat to extract xylitol, i.e. wood sugar, from xylan-containing tree or corn fibers, which is then processed into xylitol in a second step. Alternatively, xylitol can be produced by fermentation, in which certain yeasts are fed a glucose solution obtained from maize and wheat.
Tip: Inform yourself before you buy! The production of birch sugar varies according to the country of production. While European countries (mostly Finland and France) use a completely natural method, in China chemical additives such as caustic soda are regularly used.
Is xylitol really healthier than sugar?
The answer is a clear JA . In the direct battle “xylitol vs. sugar”, sugar alcohol scores in all categories. In terms of calories, household sugar can pack in 400 kcal per 100 grams. The same amount of xucker provides just 240 kcal. So you save 40 percent of the calories.
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Those who want to lose weight also benefit from a second advantage. “Xylitol is metabolized independently of insuli and is therefore ideal for a low-carbohydrate diet,” explains Jasmin Mengele.
Less ravenous hunger thanks to xylitol
Xylitol prevents ravenous appetite attacks during weight loss © nenetus / Shutterstock.com
This is despite the fact that sugar alcohols such as xylitol actually belong to the group of carbohydrates, which are nothing more than glucose, i.e. sugar. How can that be? Quite simply: household sugar (sucrose) consists of equal parts of the two simple sugars fructose and glucose. To provide energy, carbs are broken down into individual sugar molecules. Short chains, such as those of sucrose, are quickly broken down and thus also quickly in the blood.
That’s what’s so mean about them: Their blood sugar levels skyrocket, but they fall just as fast. This up and down triggers ravenous appetite attacks that put even more calories on your hips. A constant vicious circle.
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How strongly carbohydrate-rich foods affect your blood sugar level is determined by the glycaemic index (GI ) on. For sugar it is 65. The glycemic index of xylitol is only 10, which means that the blood sugar level remains constant after xylitol consumption. So you don’t immediately feel the desire for sweets again and save twice as many calories.
Xylitol is good for the teeth
However, xylitol is not only ahead when it comes to losing weight: “The plant-based sweetener is also good for the teeth,” says the expert. Unlike sugar, which is a breeding ground for bacteria that cause caries, xylitol even cares for and remineralizes your teeth. This effect has been proven in numerous studies since the 1970s, so birch sugar is often used in dental care and dentistry.
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In which products is xylitol used?
Xylitol is used as a sugar substitute in many products. Mostly to save on calories, but not on sweetness. For example, it is found in the following foods:
- sweet beverages
- Baked goods
- finished products
- Light products
Because of its proven protective effect against caries, birch sugar is also used in dental care products. These include:
- Chewing gums
- Sucking Pastilles
What does xylitol taste like?
Unlike stevia or other sweeteners, xylitol no unpleasant own or aftertaste. Visually, as well as in terms of taste, it can hardly be distinguished from sugar. Once it ends up in desserts, you cannot taste it out.
How to use xylitol in the kitchen?
Use xylitol 1:1 like sugar in cakes, tarts and the like. © Oksana Mizina / Shutterstock.com
Our expert Jasmin Mengele knows from her own many years of experience: “Xylitol can be used just like sugar, because it has the same sweetening power. That is the beautiful thing. You don’t have to convert anything, it makes baking much easier”. This is exactly why she likes to use it in her sweet low carb recipes. With the help of the sugar substitute she conjures up delicious cakes, ice cream or jam.
For making jam, however, you should use a suitable gelling agent, such as pectin, as not all of them work in combination with xylitol. The same manufacturer as Xucker now even offers a special product for jams: Gelling Xucker.
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Also drinks like tea or coffee can be sweetened well with Xucker. But don’t overdo it, because too much Xucker can lead to flatulence. Xylitol is less suitable for cold drinks: “It does not dissolve as well, or quickly, in cold lemonades and syrups,” explains the expert. It is also not suitable for caramelising or for making sugar icing.
But for cooking or baking you should definitely try it. You can replace the indicated amount of sugar 1:1 with xylitol in any recipe. We already have an idea what you could try:
Low Carb Muffins Raspberry-Walnut (approx. 10 pieces)
- Preheat oven to 180 °.
- Separate 4 eggs and beat the egg white with a pinch of salt until stiff. Put the egg yolks in another bowl with ½ TL Mix the baking powder and 90 ml rapeseed oil.
- 1 TL Chia seeds, 2 EL Mix in xylitol, 200 g ground almonds and 15 g chopped walnuts. Then carefully fold in the stiffly beaten egg white.
- Finally add 100 g fresh raspberries. TK -Raspberries should be thawed first.
- Pour the mixture into muffin cups and bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.
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Where can you buy xylitol?
Meanwhile, xylitol is not only available in various online shops, but even in drugstores. You can also find it in some organic shops or health food stores. But if you shop online, you will of course have a wider selection. Because Xylit is not only available under the name Xucker, which is only a trade name, as already mentioned. Many other companies and manufacturers also offer this healthy sugar substitute – only the name is different, e.g.
Xylipur, Birch gold or xylitol “Like sugar by our expert and her soul food LowCarberia. Only the fun is not really cheap. Depending on the supplier, the kilo costs between 8 and 14 euros.
Does the sugar substitute also have disadvantages?
Too much xylitol leads to flatulence, how nasty! © Dean Drobot / Shutterstock.com
Besides all the praise songs we sing about xylitol here, we don’t want to underestimate one – rather unpleasant – fact: Sugar alcohols, which include xylitol, are laxative in large quantities. Therefore, when taking xylitol, especially at the beginning, flatulence and diarrhoea can occur. Above all, sweetening drinks should be taken with caution. In this combination, xylitol can lead to increased flatulence, as we often take in large quantities of the sugar substitute through drinking.
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But don’t worry: “The body quickly gets used to xylitol, then the effect is lost,” says Jasmin Mengele. Remember as a rule of thumb: Do not take more than 150 g of xylitol daily. Increase your consumption gradually and observe how your gastrointestinal tract reacts to sugar replacement.
Conclusion: Thumbs up for xylitol!
We are floating on a sweet cloud of seven: Xylitol actually makes it possible to have a low-calorie, healthy snack. It provides fewer calories, less carbs, it keeps the blood sugar level constant and even cares for the teeth. We like to look beyond a few flatulence. Food blogger and low carb lover Jasmin Mengele is also convinced: “Xylitol makes life much easier without sugar.
It is so easy to use and you don’t have to give up delicious desserts just because you want to limit your sugar consumption – that’s wonderful. We can only agree.