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Xylitol vs Sorbitol

Posted Jul 13 2009 11:44pm 1 Comment
Dear Dr. Ellie:

Hello -- I'm interested in purchasing some of the Zellies products, and I was hoping to ask a question. If someone is especially sensitive to digestive side effects from sorbitol, would you expect xylitol to have similar effects? I understand that, in general, xylitol is less likely to cause those problems. But my husband is unusually sensitive to sorbitol (even 1 or 2 pieces of sorbitol-containing gum are too much for him). I was wondering if it would make sense for him to avoid xylitol as well -- or, alternatively, if you'd suggest that he start off slowly with the xylitol and increase his intake over a period of time. Hope that makes sense, and thank you for any advice you can offer.


Dear YT
I love to dispel the notion that sorbitol and xylitol have any relationship to each other - they have no relationship - except a similar-sounding name! ( I wonder if this was purposeful????) Sorbitol is one of the ugly artificial sweeteners on the market - sorbitol is cheap and is used by many companies who put profit before health.

Research shows that sorbitol will grow plaque in the mouth.

It takes about three pieces of gum for harmful plaque bacteria to learn how to use sorbitol as an energy source for growth and to multiply. People who eat sorbitol often have symptoms of acid reflux ( ? possibly from similar harmful bacteria growing in their esophagus). It is interesting that regular use of 100 percent xylitol can often reduce symptoms of acid reflux in six months (the same time it takes to change the bacteria of the mouth and get rid of harmful plaque bacteria)

2-5 grams of sorbitol can set off disagreeable digestive problems with gas, bloating and diarrhea.
I do not believe that Sorbitol is even FDA approved for use with children under five years of age.
Laboratories that grow bacteria often add sorbitol to the culture medium. Yuck!

Xylitol is natural, healthy and has health benefits for teeth, bones, is anti-fungal and pro-biotic for healthy digestive bacteria. Our bodies make 15 grams of xylitol naturally each day by the process of metabolism.

Xylitol helps us preserve muscle and break down fat doing exercise. It can be safely eaten in any quantity - even as great as a quarter pound per day (although I do not recommend this amount, but it tested safe!)

I would suggest that you divide the recommended 6.5 grams of xylitol and consume it on five or six separate times each day. (This would be about a quarter of a teaspoon or 1 gram, six times a day.) This could be granular on a spoon, dissolved in water or as a couple of Zellie mints (each mint 0.5 grams) or a piece of gum.

Xylitol is best taken after meals and snacks.

If you divide the dose and possibly start with a little less - say (4 grams) then work up to 6.5 grams in about a week I think you will have no problems.

Xylitol behaves like fiber so it will move through the intestine like fiber. There may be a possible mild laxative effect but there will not be gas or cramping at all. In fact, many people with digestive problems have found their problems IMPROVE when they incorporate xylitol into their diet in this way.

I hope this answers your question,

This site is privately and personally sponsored, funded and supported by Dr. Ellie Phillips. There are no financial or personal ties to Johnson and Johnson or to Pfizer Corporation and the endorsement of their products is based on clinical observation, and independant ADA endorsement. To contact Dr. Ellie, email
Comments (1)
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It was stated that "they (Xylitol and Sorbitol) have no relationship - except a similar-sounding name!"  Are BOTH of these substances not commonly known as sugar alchohols (thus a relationship), which is a hydrogenated form of carbohydrate (a "processed" ingredient vs. naturally occuring)?  Also, wouldn't the "similar sounding name" be consistent with most all of the other substances known as sugar alchohols (eg. Maltitol, Lactitol, Sorbitol, etc.)

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