Xylitol is a popular natural sweetener that looks like cane sugar but contains fewer calories than table sugar and is often used as a healthier alternative. It is found as natural alcohol in plant materials like fruits and vegetables which makes it easy to believe that it suits a plant-based diet.
So, is Xylitol plant based? No, Xylitol is not plant based. Xylitol is not suitable for a whole-food, plant-based diet because it is not used in its natural form as obtained from plants. It involves some processing to extract the sugar alcohol element from natural sources like corn, making it inappropriate for a plant-based diet.
Read on to find out whether there is any alternative to Xylitol that you can consume on a plant-based diet.
Top 3 Xylitol Substitutes For A Plant Based Diet
Though Xylitol is an excellent choice for a natural sweetener, the extraction method of this sugar alcohol makes it inappropriate for a plant-based diet. However, there are some alternatives like maple syrup that you can use to sweeten your dishes when following a restricted diet that limits the use of animal-based ingredients and processed foods.
This natural sweetener is a better choice than Xylitol as it does not involve chemical processing and is often available in an organic variety to suit a plant-based diet. It is a thick, sweet liquid made by cooking the sap of maple trees and can be used to sweeten several dishes including desserts as a sugar replacement.
Maple syrup contains good amounts of minerals like manganese, iron, zinc, calcium and potassium and is rich in antioxidants. While it is not a low-calorie option, it can be included in your plant-based diet in moderate quantities as a substitute for sugar options like Xylitol.
Obtained from coconut cream, this natural sweetener is an excellent plant-based alternative to Xylitol. You can find several brands in the market offering this product in their pure, organic varieties. However, it is important to read the label for ingredients to make sure the variety you select contains no animal-derived components that could interfere with your diet.
Coconut sugar contains beneficial nutrients like antioxidants and minerals and a type of fiber that helps slow down sugar absorption. An organic variety of coconut sugar contains zinc, iron, B vitamins, potassium and magnesium and has a low glycemic index than other types of sugar. But it should be used sparingly to keep your diet healthy and balanced.
When on a plant-based diet, one should focus on limiting the use of processed products and turn towards whole, natural foods for nutrition. Dates are one of the best alternatives to Xylitol for a plant-based diet as it is loaded with nutrients and health benefits. This natural sweetener provides decent amounts of iron, copper, manganese, vitamin B6 and other minerals.
Dates are easy to digest and can help lower cholesterol as well as reduce the risk of stroke. Dates can be used in recipes in place of sugar and other sweeteners that a plant-based diet does not permit. You can soak dates in hot water, make a paste and add to your dishes to sweeten them naturally.