How Xylitol is Produced

In the 19th century, chemists from Germany and France discovered a safe sugar replacement or sweetener that we call xyiltol. The taste was roughly the same as sugar though it had innumerable benefits over sugar use. It was a huge breakthrough and popularized in Europe because it had no effect on insulin levels, meaning people with diabetes could use it safely.                                                                                 

Typically xylitol is made and produced chemically from wood sugar or xylose. Xylose is formed in the tissue of many plants such as corncobs, coconuts, and birchwood.  Here in the United States, there is a procedure that has been developed to produce xylitol from GM microorganisms. It is also noted that glucose can be the main substance for the production of xylitol.                                                                                                                                                               Xylitol is produced to be a sugar replacement but is also harvested by tapping birch trees that produce birch sap. Birch sap is used in many foods, drinks and flavored candy. Xylitol is also produced and extracted from corn. Although there are a few different ways that xylitol is produced, the most common way is by hydrogenation of xylose, a conversion process that turns the sugar into a primary alcohol. It can also be produced through microbial processes.

An interesting debate in the xylitol world is if xylitol extract is superior from birch trees or corn. Although there isn’t extensive research and hasn’t been clinically proven, what we do know is that the corn source of xylitol is less expensive to produce, much more environmentally friendly and the chemical composition is nearly identical.

Xylitol is also found naturally in low concentrations of fibers. It can be found in berries and other fruits, it is in mushrooms, and vegetables.