Don’t you just love this time of year? The treats, the baking, the holiday parties and dinners are so special but can wreak havoc in our mouth and waistline! What if you could make all those dishes, snacks and treats healthier? We don’t have to give up our sweet tooth just because sugar is bad for us. Gaining full patient compliance in adjusting the diet to eliminate or control many of the “sweet” things in life is hard – especially in young people.

100% xylitol can be used in cooking, reducing calories by 40% and with a glycemic index of seven, can help keep blood sugar levels regulated. Lite&Sweet, a blend of xylitol and erythritol (both naturally occurring sugars) further reduces calories by 75%, has an even lower glycemic index of three and can be used in baking. Xylitol does not cause the dramatic increase in blood sugar levels or serum insulin response that occurs with other sweeteners and provides a stable source of energy to the cells. Individuals are less likely to experience a dramatic drop when the body releases insulin to cope with overconsumption. Xylitol makes a great option because it can reduce the cravings for refined carbs and sugary foods without avoiding a lot of our favorites! Since xylitol measures one to one with sugar, it is easily replaceable in your family’s favorite recipes, especially desserts without any bitter aftertaste! Xylitol doesn’t play very well with yeast, which is a great thing in your mouth, but not so much in the kitchen for baked goods that need the yeast to rise. A blend, such as the Lite&Sweet works much better for those recipes and those for hard candies. I have used it to replace sugar in my holiday pies for the last few years, and not one picky eater noticed the difference!

Eliminating or reducing the health problems of diabetes, prediabetes, rampant dental decay and obesity have great advantages for the individual and for society overall. It is estimated that in the US alone, one out of every ten dollars spent in healthcare costs can be tied back to diabetic care. Every dollar spent on oral health preventive measures saves as much as fifty dollars in restorative and emergency procedures. Without concerted interventions, these and other costs can be expected to increase in the years ahead. Finding sweetening alternatives that enable those with high dental risk, diabetics or those just interested in reducing sugar consumption to do so, while still maintaining some semblance of “normal”, is the key to successful change.

*There is a cookbook available with many tried and true recipes that would make a great holiday gift for the foodies in your life. There are also many recipes available on the website www.xlear.com The convenient packaging in tubes of 100% xylitol sweetened gums, mints and candies make for great ‘stocking stuffers’, party favors or Advent gifts!

Here is one of my favorite snack items that was an instant hit!

“XyloSweet”ened Pecans

Ingredients:

1 lb of pecans (can also use walnuts or almonds)

½ cup of XyloSweet®

¼ tsp of cinnamon

1 egg white

Dash of salt

2 Tbsp of butter melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°

Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper. Spread out pecans in a single layer. Lightly toast for 4-5 min. Remove and set aside.

Mix cinnamon into XyloSweet®, set aside.

In deep bowl, beat egg white with dash of salt until stiff. Fold in the XyloSweet®/cinnamon mixture and toasted nuts. Slowly drizzle butter over mixture and fold until incorporated. Pour the mixture onto the baking pan and spread into a single layer.

Bake at 325° for 10 minutes, stir, and bake for another 10 min and repeat for another 10 minutes (30 min total). Remove from oven and spread onto clean parchment paper and allow to dry for several hours.

by Kris Potts, RDH, BS, FAADH

Sweet Holidays
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