Is Birch Xylitol Better Than Corn Xylitol?

Is Birch Xylitol Better Than Corn Xylitol?

Birch TreesI recently wrote an article on the sweetener xylitol, which quite clearly stated that if you choose to consume xylitol then you need to look for a product that’s made with birch not corn. But I didn’t tell you why! And some of you have asked so I thought I’d better clarify why I made that statement.

Originally xylitol was quite expensive and always made from Birch trees. It wasn’t until companies in China decided to figure out how they could make a cheaper product that the cob of corn started to be used in place of Birch.

I’m not a big fan of corn. I’m sorry, but it’s just not that great and it’s absolutely not a health food. To begin with, if consuming any corn products it’s super important that the corn is organic. Of course all the food you eat is better organic, but with corn it’s even more important.

CornYou see, a lot of the corn grown out there is genetically modified. This is hugely political so I’m not going to go into too much detail. Instead I encourage you to do your own research if you want to find out more. All you need to know for now is that corn has unfortunately had a history of being mucked around a little too much in laboratories instead of doing its own natural thing.

So if you eat xylitol made with corn, there’s the possibility that you’re eating a genetically modified product. Not good. You could contact the manufacturer of the xylitol product and verify with them that they have in fact used organic or at least non genetically modified corn. Hopefully they’ll know and hopefully they’ll tell the truth.

And unfortunately some of the corn based xylitol producers are less concerned with the health and quality of their product than how much profit they can make. So as a result, some xylitols have been found to be “cut” with sorbitol which looks the same, tastes very similar but unfortunately is not in the category of a health food. Again, you want to know where your xylitol comes from.

According to research it’s also been proven that the Birch xylitol is better at gum and teeth protection. And I realize that your primary reason to consume xylitol is most likely not for oral hygiene, but isn’t it nice to have that option?

As a side note, Dr Gabriel Cousens from the Tree Of Life Rejuvenation Center in Arizona has done extensive testing on xylitol. His recommendations on the best brand is SmartSweet which is definitely made with Birch. He also advises to use Birch xylitol over corn. He’s a very smart man, a doctor and he’s done a lot of testing. I trust that.

But … I can’t end this article without giving you the WHOLE truth. In my research I did stumble across an article written about corn versus birch xylitol. The author had conducted their own research by purchasing several brands of xylitol in the U.S and doing the laborious task of phoning up each manufacturer and inquiring where their xylitol came from and how it was derived.

Interestingly in his argument he included the very valid fact that we need to consider how much impact on the environment our chosen brand of xylitol has made. He also went on to state that the Birch tree is in fact chopped down during the production process of xylitol. I’m okay with this if the trees are planted and then replaced specifically for the production of the sweetener. But I’m not okay if xylitol all of a sudden becomes ridiculously popular and we start chopping down whole Birch forests.

And well, since we’re talking ethics lets throw it all in! For the argument against the production of corn xylitol, there is the fact that most manufacturers in China are utilizing some of the poorest areas in the country and paying terrible wages. Not particularly ethical.

So, in my opinion it’s much better to consume a high quality Birch xylitol from a company that takes care of its trees. They need to have some form of reforestation plan in place.

However, if you can only get your hands on corn xylitol then I don’t think it’s a bad thing as long as the corn is non GMO and the manufacturers treat their workers well. You may need to particularly go for this option if you live in Australia for example where shipping over a good quality brand of Birch xylitol like SmartSweet will cost you around US$120 just for shipping!!

Your decision :)

19 comments… add one

  • the real thing

    To the person who inquired: do not fall for Truvia or PureVia which are trademarked highly processed “adaptations” of stevia rebaudiana by Coke and Pepsi that are being marketed as natural.
    Large companies want to make billions from sweeteners but as they cannot trademark (yet) a natural plant they alter it, in this case by extracting rebaudiosides (Reb A) from the stevioside molecule – – and combining it with something else… in Coke’s case, erythritol (from GMO corn) and “natural flavors” (an ingredient that is extremely prevalent even in health foods & supplements, yet there have been claims re the “natural” part) and in Pepsi’s case dextrose (also from GMO corn), cellulose & natural flavors.
    Erythritol causes a lot of bloating and gas by the way.

    These companies have pointed to the incredibly safe history of stevia use as proof of their own product’s safety even though it is actually not stevia.

    Interesting how the FDA approved these untested stevia derivative products but has never allowed plain stevia to be approved as a “safe food”. I hate to break it to you Bill, but food and politics are entwined big time (watch “Farmageddon” or listen to Gary Null any day of the week) and there are many of us who would rather not eat your “solution”: GMOs.

    There is currently a walk, it reaches Washington on Oct 16th, against laws that allow companies not to label GMOs.

    Fran, try only four to five SweetLeaf clear stevia drops in oatmeal or a smoothie and you will have no aftertaste, just sweetness. Hot drinks are a bit trickier for stevia I think, but some people like the powder in tea/coffee. One has to keep in mind that a pure stevia serving is 1/32 of a teaspoon (KAL make a pure one) so often companies fill out their powders with, for eg. inulin. Stevita and Nu-Stevia are popular.

  • Cat

    @Bill – apparently you have not done much homework on GMO plants. First, there have been no long-term studies on the effects of GMO on humans, but the research on hamsters is horrifying. They are all sterile by 3rd generation. I find it hardly a coincidence that the Gates Foundation, who are actively promoting population control, suddenly jumped on the GMO bandwagon. There is an excellent article called “how to grow 1 million pounds of organic food on 3 acres” here: We would all be better off if food production was small and localized – healthier food, less environmental damage, and far less health issues for both humans and animals. Until we have had the chance to study the effects of GMO plants on 3 generations, we are playing russian roulette. And thank you Fran for a great article, I will definitely be buying the birch product from now on.

  • Very nice article – The corn Xylitol seems very scary for several reasons – we carry the birch tree kind and we are in canada so the shipping is good – after doing more research and reading our articles on our site maybe try some of our xylitol – just google xylitol fresh and we will pop up – Thank You

  • C S donnell

    Emerald Forest Xylitol is from U S grown hardwoods. Forget Australia.

  • As I read through this article it becomes apparent that your are talking about sweet corn rather than the yellow dent corn used for ethanol processing.

    The xylose obtained from birch would is chemically processed with lithium aluminum hydride to reduce the xylose to xylitol. The xylose obtained from corn cobs is also reduced chemically to xylitol.

    The real “crime” of GM corn is that it is not being used in countries that typically grow corn but aren’t growing enough and, so, are starving.

    Finally, the GMO causes real changes in the genetic material of the plant which happens to be a protein. The corn cob does not contain any appreciable protein. However, the corn kernal contains 5-10% protein that may or may not be a problem. This is not the correct forum for the politics, but GM corn and other GM crops are a solution not a problem.

  • I had bought NOW! Xylitol, assuming that it was birch. I thought it was all birch. But investigation found it to be made from the byproducts of corn ethanol processing – in China!
    I even wrote to them and they told me you couldn’t get organic hardwood sources in the US. Here’s their exact quote ”
    Our product as is the case with most xylitol is made from corn cob in China . There is no Organic USA source at this time.”

    I used to trust their products. I don’t any more.

  • Sue

    I avoid corn like the plague unless it’s organic. That includes maize starch and the like. When you eat anything made from GM products you really have no idea what effect they may have on your body. I’m quite convinced a problem I had with itchy arms for many years was the result of eating GM corn products without realising. Good to see your site back online also!

  • ZackM10

    Isn’t Xylitol artificial in a a way as it seems to be refined too =/?

  • Justine

    I used to like your blog…but now you just sound pretentious.

  • Debra- If I’ve got time I’ll look into it :)

    Dottywine- Yep!! It’ll be available in just over a week! It has heaps of information on how you can get rid of hyperpigmentation x

  • Is it true you’re making a scarring ebook? Do you know how to CURE hyperpigmentation? I want it GONE.

  • Tereza

    Normally, my doctor told me, when she was testing me for allergies:) I´m allergic to its pollen and I sneeze a lot when I´m near it during spring. I was just wondering if there´s any chance I could consume product derived from a birch since there may not be any pollen in it. I´ll just ask my doctor when I see her. I´m not consuming any xylitol at the moment and I´ll just stick with honey for now. Thanks!

  • Debra

    That’s the thing, I’ve had the stevia drops before and honestly could not adjust to the taste either, but I had a cup of hot green tea today and my co-worker suggested I try truvia. I did and to my surprise, I quite enjoyed it. The big questionable ingredient that makes me wonder is the “natural flavors” listed…I guess that’s a big reason why I was wondering if you were going to review this product…I know you conduct thorough research, etc.

  • Eddie- You can’t go wrong with green leafy veggies :) But if you want to learn more about each individual fruit and vegetable, check their glycemic index and how acid/alkaline they are. It’s better to go for low glycemic and alkaline forming in the body.

    Tereza- How on earth did you find out that you were allergic to a tree?? If I were you I’d go for the corn xylitol, it’s best to stay away from allergens and intolerances if you can.

    Debra- I’m a fan of stevia because it’s a great sweetener but I still really don’t love the taste. So I won’t be doing a review unless Truvia wants to send me one! I’ve you’ve tried it out less us know what you think :)

  • Debra

    I know you have written a few articles about stevia.
    I would like to hear your review of this new stevia product – truvia.


  • Tereza

    Hi! Thanks for the info, good job!
    Do you think it´s safe for me to eat birch xylitol even though I´m allergic to birches? Don´t worry I would definitely consult my doctor if I decided to eat it. But maybe you have read something about it…
    Thanks! I really like your blog.

  • Eddie

    Wow, I never looked at it that way. I never even knew. This is why I like your site so much. You always learn something. I liked the high fructose corn syrup thing. I had never thought of that! And it all just makes so much sense. Thanks for the info.

    Do you feel the same about sweet potatoes? What are some vegetables you feel good about? Someone once told me peas weren’t a vegetable because they were just basically a starch. It just makes me think about all the stuff we eat. Sometimes we think we’re eating super healthy when we’re actually not…

  • Hi Eddie, it’s one of those veggies that I class as not that great. Potatoes are another one.

    If eating corn it’s VERY important to get organic. A large portion of corn grown all throughout the world is genetically modified. A lot.

    It’s also incredibly sweet. It has a high glycemic index (above 70). And it’s high in fructose too (think about it, where does high fructose corn syrup come from?).

    Now I’m going to get a little more serious!

    Then there’s the problem of the mycotoxin load in corn which is quite high. There are about 25 mycotoxin fungi in corn.

    The International Journal of Cancer also cited several published studies that state that eating corn is associated with cancer of the esophagus and gastric cancer. That’s full on and makes it not really worth it to me.

    You can link these 2 above statements together. Cancer is often linked to Candidas, fungus, yeast and mold in the body. Some would even say that’s what Cancer is. Mycotoxins are basically the waste produced by fungi so this all kind of spookily links together doesn’t it.

    Sorry if that answer is a bit full on!

  • Eddie

    Can you tell us why corn isn’t all that good for us? I’ve always thought it was supposed to be “healthy” I just did a little research online and apparantly it’s not even a vegetable. What? lol I’ve always thought it was.

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