I 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.
You 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!!