Xylitol Sugar Diarrhea Alert

today I had a friend over for coffee , the coffee was too strong, added A LOT of Xylitol sugar to our  coffee. Both of has had breakfast , and both of us had diarrhea. Bad, recurrent diarrhea (two or three times in one morning , beginning only minutes after drinking the coffee).


 


The breakfast had been carefully prepared using fresh clean food and well cooked, so we ruled out the food. I did a google search on Xylitol and diarrhea and sure enough there are hundreds of search results referencing


Xylitol as a cause of diarrhea.


(btw, I will never buy it again. It has been making me slightly nauseous on every occasion that I use it, and the diarrhea that I had attributed to the MCT oil in BP Coffee recipe could actually have had Xylitol as its real cause. That is probably the case, actually. Not to mention that Xylotol is ridiculously difficult to dissolve in cold beverages, way too expensive, etc. Yech.)


 


Here is a particularly good article on the subject:


 


 


http://www.crunchybetty.com/xylitol-should-we-stop-calling-it-natural


Xylitol: Should We Stop Calling It Natural?


The name should’ve tipped me off.



Xylitol.



It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue like “meadowlark” or

“chamomile” or “cottonwood.” Not particularly authentic-sounding, that

xylitol.



But my box of xylitol sweetener said “natural” all over it. And each

individual packet told me “safer than sugar.” Not to mention, the brand I

had is made right here in good old Colorado. Where even the car exhaust

takes itself to be recycled.


So I pulled out a packet. One tiny packet. And I put it in my cup of coffee, completely oblivious to the nightmare that was about to ensue.


To save you the gory details, let me just give you a few key concepts and you can put it all together:


  • half a cup of coffee
  • crippling stomach cramps
  • an hour in the bathroom
  • severe dehydration
  • post traumatic sweetener disorder

It wasn’t until later that I noticed a warning, tucked right at the

very end of the paragraphs talking about how healthful and natural

xylitol is, that said:


 


xylitol.jpg


“Excessive use of Xylitol may cause a mild laxative effect.” I nominate this the understatement of my life.


 


So, xylitol is known to cause stomach problems and diarrhea if used

in large amounts. There are plenty of studies that confirm this, but

it’s always worded in ways that make it seem like you’d have to eat your

weight in xylitol to be affected.



And, you know, even ingesting too much water can kill you. So just

because I had a severe reaction after  just a teensy tinesy bit doesn’t

mean it’s not natural, really. Right?



And just because the FDA had to issue a warning stating that it can kill your dog (or ferret) … that doesn’t mean it’s not natural, either. (Remember chocolate and dogs?)


But, of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I had to

research. I had to talk to chemists. I had to break the spell that

xylitol is apparently putting over so much of the natural foods

industry.


Here’s what I found out.



Xylitol: Does This Sound Natural?


My initial Google search for “xylitol” and “safe” took me straight to this Natural News article that states:



Xylitol is a processed sugar. After being hydrogenated

and having toxic chemicals added to xylan from corn or other plant

material, and then removed, you get xylitol.



I love Natural News with all my heart, but sometimes they can be a little bit over the top. A little bit sensational. Kind of a drama queen.



Given the huge rash of xylitol ads I’ve seen recently, along with

what I can only assume is a push by the Xylitol Overlords to “health

bloggers” to promote their “all-natural, insulin-regulating,

super-sweetener” by way of 5000 blog posts in a month, I had to look

into it more.



Maybe, just this once, Natural News was wrong.


 


 


xylitol2.jpg


Natural? You decide.


 


 


My Chat With The People’s Chemist, Shane Ellison


So I reached out The People’s Chemist Shane Ellison, author of Over-the-Counter Natural Cures.

He also happens to have a master’s degree in organic chemistry. He

knows what he’s talking about. Big words. Fatty acid chains. Things like

that.



I trust him.



First question, “Can you tell me a little bit about how xylitol is produced?”



And Shane Ellison, Organic Chemist, replied: “Xylitol is a molecular

cousin to sugar and is derived from the crushed fibers of sugar cane

[...birch wood or corn...] using a multi-step chemical reaction that

involves the use of sulfuric acid, calcium oxide, phosphoric acid and

active charcoal. The end product is a a bleached, powdery blend of sugar

alcohols that taste sweet on the tongue but are not absorbed by the

body.”



Hmmmm, I thought.  That sounds fishy. But maybe not so

bad. After all, I haven’t a clue just what sulfuric acid and phosphoric

acid does to the molecular structure of this stuff.



(And then I felt really smart for thinking the words “molecular” and “structure” together.)



So I sent him another email, and asked: “Given all the

chemical processes needed to turn natural xylitol into what we consume

as a sweetener (or in gum), in your opinion, can it really be considered

a natural product?”



Guess what he said?



Shane Ellison, Organic Chemist, replied: “I don’t consider anything natural if it’s processed with man-made chemicals.”



He said, “Xylitol will rip up your insides, namely the digestive

tract.  It’s being touted as a natural product, most likely so that it

can bypass regulation.  Thus, very little studies exist on its side

effects.”



To further this assertion, he pointed me to the Danisco site,

a European company nearly wholly responsible for the creation and

supply of xylitol, or what Shane called a “Franken-chemical.” (From

their website: “Danisco is the world’s leading supplier of xylitol.”)



Danisco actually happens to be a part of DuPont. DuPont, as you may remember, was sued several years ago by the EPA

for covering up – FOR YEARS – the scientific evidence that PFOA, a

substance in Teflon, is highly toxic, a carcinogen, and disrupts

reproductive processes.



So pardon me if I don’t have a lot of trust in a company who’s manufacturing questionable sweeteners and has that kind of track record.



Echoes of HFCS


You may have noticed that I haven’t included any of xylitol’s

purported health benefits, the claims that it’s great for dental health,

or regulating blood sugar, or anything of that kind.



At this point, I’m not debating those things. Frankly, I don’t care.

(I clearly can’t consume it anyway, unless I enjoy long-lived trips to

the bathroom.)



What bothers me – what ALWAYS bothers me – is when companies (or governmental regulatory bodies, even) tout something as natural, when its sole ability to exist in the way we consume it as a supplement is based on wholly unnatural, synthetic chemical processes.



It’s very reminiscent of another industry recently begging and pleading us to believe their product is natural. High-fructose corn syrup, anyone?

 



Now for the kicker.



A great amount of the xylitol that’s released for consumption (whether it be in gum, in food products, or in bulk that we buy to cook and sweeten with) is made from corn.



How far of a stretch is it to wonder if the Corn Refiners Association

finally came to the realization that the public would never get on the

high-fructose corn syrup bandwagon ever again? How in the world will

they recoup those losses?



What’s the logical next step for them?



Xylitol?



And if you think your xylitol made from birch (which is rare and

expensive these days) is better, from a chemistry standpoint, it is

structurally the same. Other than the fact that it’s not genetically

modified, like the corn might be. It does, however, contribute to

deforestation.


Can Someone Else PLEASE Tell This Story?


Hello? Media?



I am not a hard-hitting journalist. I am a sometimes-humorous,

sometimes-bossy, always-humble blogger who writes about putting food on

your face.



Not that you shouldn’t take me seriously. You can, but only if it makes you happy.



There is just SO little information out there that isn’t sponsored by the xylitol companies and industry. SO little information out there that’s purely investigative.



Can someone who IS a hard-hitting journalist please do something

about xylitol? There’s a juicy story just waiting to be told. Wouldn’t

you agree?



How Do YOU Feel About Xylitol?


Has this changed any feelings you may have about the wunder-sweetener?



What IS your sweetener of choice, if not xylitol?



(Also, one last thank you to Shane Ellison for all his help and

encouragement, as well as the great work he puts into on his own site – The People’s Chemist – where you can watch his PC Reality TV Clips and read his knowledge-packed blog.)



 



UPDATE – 6/10/13


Well, it’s been TWO YEARS almost to the date since I wrote this post, and the comments just keep coming in.



If you stopped by to leave a negative comment, let’s just get this

out of the way: Yes, I know your thinking skills are so much more

logicalistic criticaltastic than mine are. Yes, I know you think I’m an

idiot. No, I don’t want fries with that.



There is one redaction I’d like to make, and it’s this: The title

should have said “Xylitol: Can we stop calling the way we produce it and

consume it natural.”



Because, yes, I am aware (and I was when I wrote it) that our bodies

(and many living things) contain “xylitol.” Poor choice of title there,

and I know it gets your knickers in a twist.



But just because our bodies produce something doesn’t mean it’s

prudent to extract it en masse from living organisms (using questionable

synthetic processes) and then ingest it willy nilly. At least, perhaps

it’s not prudent for many people. As you can tell, plenty of people have

the same issue I had. And plenty of people will feel solace at knowing

they’re not alone, and exactly WHAT it was that caused it.



I can’t say what’s right for you. You get to choose. And good for you

for thinking your decision through critically to come to a different

conclusion than I did, but I can promise you I’m not stopping by your

blogs to call you names.



Here’s the deal: This is my blog. MY blog. My home. I pay hosting

fees. I poured my heart and soul into this blog for years. What doesn’t

get to happen is for you to come in and call me names. That just doesn’t

fly. So if you leave a negative comment, dripping with sarcasm and

self-righteous indignation, or call me names, it WILL disappear.



Again, let me restate this: It has been TWO YEARS since I wrote this

post, and I am NOT some crazy “let’s take xylitol off the market and I’m

going to protest it and make everyone hate it” kind of person. In fact,

I haven’t said more than two words about xylitol in nearly two years.

If anyone’s propagating negativity at this point, it ain’t me.



I have nothing further to say about xylitol – ever. I have nothing

further to say about this post. What I said, two years ago, I said. I

have zero interest in or passion for discussing this further.



If you’re all riled up and want to talk about how stupid I am, or if

you’re a representative for a xylitol company who wants to defend your

company’s product (and yes, IP know you’re out there), there are MANY

other outlets on the internet just for that. I recommend starting with

www.wordpress.com. Setting up your own blog is really super duper easy.



Thanks for understanding. :)



 




          

                        

            




                        



                         




 


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Comments

  • Sounds like what started as a really nice morning got pretty grim. I'm sorry to hear it. I hardly ever eat it anymore, or Erythritol for that matter. There are other, less processed sweeteners in the Green Zone. I also use some Maple Syrup, from the Yellow Zone, a little bit.




    If you want to see more on Xylitol, here is a long thread. It's pretty recent, with one of our chemist members chiming in as well:


     


    http://forum.bulletproofexec.com/index.php?/topic/3141-xylitol-hero-or-zero/


  • Okay so I have to know is Xylitol healthy? I've done quite a bit or research and your story sounds like something out of a Stephen King novel but I am hearing left and right that this stuff is awesome. I've purchased quite a bit of it, had a few friends who recommend it over Splenda, even researched options to use it to reduce my sugar intake. 



    I know the key to losing weight is to minimize your fats and sugar intake only to maximize your body's ability to burn unwanted body fat quicker but what are your thoughts on possibly just using the product in maybe a milkshake in the morning or a smoothie? 


     


    Here's what I've founds so far : Here


     


    Also if you use a sugar sweetner for your smoothies how do you get over the after taste?


  • The best plan is just to avoid all added sweeteners as much as possible, and when you do consume them be it xylitol, honey, sugar, stevia etc. make it rarely and as a treat not as a staple in your diet.
  • edited July 2013


    Okay so I have to know is Xylitol healthy? I've done quite a bit or research and your story sounds like something out of a Stephen King novel but I am hearing left and right that this stuff is awesome. I've purchased quite a bit of it, had a few friends who recommend it over Splenda, even researched options to use it to reduce my sugar intake. 



    I know the key to losing weight is to minimize your fats and sugar intake only to maximize your body's ability to burn unwanted body fat quicker but what are your thoughts on possibly just using the product in maybe a milkshake in the morning or a smoothie? 


     


    Here's what I've founds so far : Here


     


    Also if you use a sugar sweetner for your smoothies how do you get over the after taste?


     




     


    Xylitol probably reacts differently in different people with different bodily chemistry.  Also, one's reaction to Xylitol would depend on how much Xyltiol one consumes in a single sitting, and probably partially depend on what else was consumed with the Xylitol.


     


    My own personal experience of Xylitol has been horrible. I found that it did not dissolve well in cold beverages and required that I use a lot more of it than I would have liked to use .  It makes me nauseous every time I use it, not to the point of vomiting, but to the point that my stomach is unsettled by it until the resultant diarrhea removes it from my system.


     


    I have not tried using Xylitol in very-much-reduced quantities yet. I fear that Xylitol will just make me feel ill again, no matter how little of it which I use.


     


    I know that Xylitol is a hugely distributed and consumed  product which is used my untold numbers of people who may be benefiting from its lower-calorie aspects.


     


    I felt that it was important to post this information here because I suspect that there are others like me who have been adding Xylitol to BP coffee and not realizing that the Xylitol may have been the true cause of their discomfort, and not MCT oil or butter.


     


    I would not want people to dismiss BP coffee (and miss out on all of its benefits to cognitional abilities, concentration, ketosis, weight loss, etc.), just because they are being sickened from adding too much Xylitol to their coffee.


     


    Ironically, I had avoided Xylitol until Dave Asprey recommended it as an alternative sweetener, and it is Xylitol which almost made me give up  MCT oil and BP coffee, initially thinking that it was the high fat content in the coffee which was causing my adverse reactions .


     


    I will stick with Stevia for now, until I either man-up enough to ditch my sweet tooth, or something cheaper and better and healthier comes along. Xylitol does not qualify , imo.


  • So, I still haven't seen any conclusive evidence that xylitol is bad for you, either. Just a lot of theories and circumstantial evidence. The People's Chemist seems pretty extreme with his views, and I think he tends to over-reach with his "evidence" as well. He said that vitamin D supplements are extremely toxic and are not to be eaten, but he never provides any serious evidence. He states that xylitol will tear up your insides. Based on what substantial evidence?

    Massachusetts Bulletproof Resources! (Local BP resources for food/vitamins, meditation, bio-hacking/tech-centers, etc.)

    If you know of a local resource that I haven't listed, or have a warning for known local health scams or bad "BP" businesses, please PM me.

    If it's a good resource, I'll add it to the master-list (I was inspired by suntoucher & Ron Swanson.)

  • yeah i dunno..i just bought some recently for the first time, mostly because i was curious as to how it worked with Get Some icecream vs. the stevia i'd been using. it MAY just be that i made this batch with chocolate as well, but god DAMN it made for some delicious, smooth, creamy ice cream. the best batch i've made. please don't kill me xylitol! 




  • yeah i dunno..i just bought some recently for the first time, mostly because i was curious as to how it worked with Get Some icecream vs. the stevia i'd been using. it MAY just be that i made this batch with chocolate as well, but god DAMN it made for some delicious, smooth, creamy ice cream. the best batch i've made. please don't kill me xylitol! 




    ===================


     


    Yes, me, too! I made a bunch of batches of BP ice cream with stevia, and it tasted ok, but it was as hard as a rock after only a few hours in the freezer. Once I switched to xylitol, the ice cream not only has a better taste, but it never freezes solid anymore. It has a much softer consistency.

    Massachusetts Bulletproof Resources! (Local BP resources for food/vitamins, meditation, bio-hacking/tech-centers, etc.)

    If you know of a local resource that I haven't listed, or have a warning for known local health scams or bad "BP" businesses, please PM me.

    If it's a good resource, I'll add it to the master-list (I was inspired by suntoucher & Ron Swanson.)

  • Star ChaserStar Chaser Powered by Shred

    I still have yet to use the stuff nor have i researched it what so ever, but i trust that since it is part of the bulletproof infographic that dave has done thorough research into it as with everything else that is on there. You wouldn't obsess over mycotoxins in coffee and then down significant quantities of something that "rips up your insides." Yet still, i'm not going to pass final judgement on something until i try it myself and stop being lazy and do the research. I definitely look forward to purchasing some this month, trying it out, letting my body pass the initial judgement and then afterwards doing the research as to avoid my experience being influenced subconsciously by fear mongering or unjustly praises. I've seen the "may cause loose stool" warnings on packages but here's to hoping i don't have an experience like yours  ;)


    I am a Video Game composer under the pseudonym Star Chaser.

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  • pmrtnzpmrtnz Peter Martinez

    Xylitol has been good to me.


     


    And i've had better dental checkups since I started using it. :) 


  • John BrissonJohn Brisson The Legend Formerly Known as Ron Swanson ✭✭✭

    It is always best to get xylitol that is from birch trees and not xylitol from corn if all possible. Also if sugar alcohols give you excess gas or stomach pain you might have SIBO.


    My book Fix Your Gut, is offered on Amazon for $9.99.

     

    I also offer coaching:  http://fixyourgut.com/health-coaching-information/

     

    Please join or like the Fix your Gut Facebook. Also please add me on twitter @FixYourGutJB.

     

    http://www.fixyourgut.com

     



  • It is always best to get xylitol that is from birch trees and not xylitol from corn if all possible. Also if sugar alcohols give you excess gas or stomach pain you might have SIBO.




     


    ===============================


     


    I've read from multiple sources that corn and birch xylitol have the exact same molecular structure. If they are the same exact molecule, what does it matter the source?

    Massachusetts Bulletproof Resources! (Local BP resources for food/vitamins, meditation, bio-hacking/tech-centers, etc.)

    If you know of a local resource that I haven't listed, or have a warning for known local health scams or bad "BP" businesses, please PM me.

    If it's a good resource, I'll add it to the master-list (I was inspired by suntoucher & Ron Swanson.)

  • Just tried it, gave me a stomach ache, fee sick, feel horrible.  What about these stevia products that are not really stevia, I think they're modified in some way for some reason (if that makes sense)?




  • ===============================


     


    I've read from multiple sources that corn and birch xylitol have the exact same molecular structure. If they are the same exact molecule, what does it matter the source?




     


     


    I don't know - but its my understanding that you're not just eating a bunch of Xylitol molecules when you eat food-grade Xlyitol. You're eating byproducts that our forum member TheBioChemist seems pretty wary of. In fact, he says that the food grade stuff allows for a lot of byproducts. So, while your question is extremely interesting to me, too... I also want to point out that there is some shady other crap in there, too, regardless of the corn-v-birch origins.



  • Sounds like what started as a really nice morning got pretty grim. I'm sorry to hear it




     


    Exactly , I had a friend over for breakfast, and it turned out she was over


    for diarrhea. I think I'll invite her again.

  • @ Hindredd Briggs - could you say more about that?


    ---

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