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Have your cake and eat it - without a sugar crash later

We all know the feeling of the unpleasant sugar crash that comes after enjoying a delicious sweet baked treat. The sudden sugar rise then drop leaves you feeling distracted and unproductive, which is not how we want to feel after supposedly fueling our bodies. So can we still have our cake and eat it? Well, bakers including 'The Healthy Cake Co.' may have found an answer.

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, which has a similar physical and chemical structure to sugar, hence providing a sweet taste. However the difference is that has a very low glycemic index of 7, roughly 10x smaller than normal sugar. Even lettuce has a glycemic index of 15. This means that Xylitol does not raise the blood sugar levels to the same extent as sugar, and therefore avoids the 'crash' after.

The sugar alternative is naturally found in plants, and is actually used as a sweetener in toothpaste. Unlike sugar, the product does not feed bacteria in your mouth, so does stimulate tooth decay or pH change. It also has half the amount of calories as sugar, making it a popular choice with dieters.

'The Healthy Cake Co'. sources this sugar alternative from birch trees in Finland, but has openly admitted there is a more sustainable source. Xylitol can also be produced from waste corn husk, which is currently done in China. Unfortunately this is not yet available in the UK, hence 'The Healthy Cake Co.'s current supply.

Improving the availability of corn Xylitol in the UK would be key for the sustainability of this product, since using waste product is by far one of the most sustainable methods to providing any food. Also, to harvest the sweetener from birch trees, the trees must be killed, taking 15 years to grow again. However, 'Total Sweet', the UK's leading Xylitol brand, claim that their product is actually a bi-product of paper production and are participating in tree growing initiatives such as 'Trees for the Future'.

For those who are skeptical of sweeteners, the NHS has confirmed that Xylitol has been fully assessed by the European Food Safety Authority, and the common health claims can be confirmed. Cancer Research UK has also claimed that there is strong evidence to support that sweeteners do not cause cancer.

What's my verdict - I'm impressed and keen to learn more. Approval from the NHS has made me keen to try Xylitol out, and I'm re-assured that this is a product found naturally in plants. However, since I live in the UK, I'm keen to see progression towards making corn derived Xylitol more available - a journey I'll be keeping a close eye on.

If you want to try The Healthy Cake Co.'s treats for yourself, you can find more information on which food fairs and markets he's at here;



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