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One piece of xylitol gum wont give you the runs. However, if you replace all the sugar in a super sweet baked treat (oh, lets say something like fudge or cupcakes) with xylitol, then yes, it'll clear you right out. Um, so I've heard. (You can buy xylitol at places like PCC & Whole Foods, it's packaged just like regular granulated sugar and can be subbed in recipes 1:1. Just don't overdo it!)

Posted by meh | July 27, 2007 2:28 PM

I thing the name might originate from xylem which is the part of plants that carries water and nutriends from the roots to the leaves.

Posted by Morgan | July 27, 2007 2:30 PM

I think the name probably originates from the term xylem which it the series of tubular cells that conducts water and nutriends from the roots to the leaves of plants.

Posted by Morgan | July 27, 2007 2:33 PM

I can't spell. also see:

Posted by morgan | July 27, 2007 2:35 PM

Gum is so crazy artificial it blows my mind. I mean, it's basically a dozen mispronounceable chemicals compressed into a convenient quadrilateral stick that NEVER fucking disappears. What legacy are we leaving to our children, when we're all gone and our mounds of chewed gum lie scattered across the globe?

Posted by Virginia | July 27, 2007 2:36 PM

Or smashed into the sidewalk.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 27, 2007 2:51 PM

you're my favorite.

Posted by kim | July 27, 2007 3:10 PM

One of our dental carriers pimps this gum at our health fairs: It's tasty but the flavor doesn't last too long.

Posted by Jez | July 27, 2007 3:15 PM

Umm, Virginia? Most modern gum may be artificial, but gum is not. People have been chewing gum in some form at least since Ancient Greece, and until very recently all commercial gum was made from chicle. Now they use synthetic bases because it's cheaper.

Posted by Gum = History | July 27, 2007 3:35 PM

Things like this often remind me of an interesting item my wife and I came across while antique shopping in rural Virginia: a water cooler that advertised radium in the glass, to energize drinking water with invigorating radiation. Evidently someone noticed that radiation burns healed without scarring and decided that radiation must therefore be good for you.

They used to put radium in toothpaste. They made glow-in-the-dark radium body paint.

I am eternally skeptical of highly synthesized miracle ingredients.

Posted by Judah | July 27, 2007 4:09 PM

If you would read the article, you would see that xylitol is NOT a highly synthesized miracle ingredient.

Posted by Fnarf | July 27, 2007 4:52 PM

ur a d0rk. 'Sides, that doesn't dismiss gum's mind-blowing qualities, nor the looming crisis of billions of smeared sticks that our progeny will be burdened with. So there.

Posted by Virginia | July 27, 2007 7:33 PM

I have noticed that chewing a lot olf zylitol infused gum causes my taste buds to swell and sting for 1-2 days after so I tend to lay off the stuff though I have read about it's many wonderous benefits and am suitably impressed. You may note from the label that sorbitol, aspartame and other stuff are in the gum. Back in the day when I was a kid there was always a warning label that some of the ingredients were known to cause cancer in lab rats. Has the bubble gum and food industry in America lobbied to get those warnings taken off of labels?? Somehow I don't think our food products are getting any safer judging by the press, we are just less informed. The Trident gum is also made in Mexico which has a record of importing kids candy that contains lead and other delightful suprises(an American mainstream manufactorer just got in trouble again recently for continuing to import dangerous candy). I don't want to put a negative tilt on things because I would be ever so happy to have a product that is delightfully wholesome and healthy. Trident and other gums just don't seem to be it though........

Posted by zgirl | July 27, 2007 7:43 PM

Citrusmint? Does it taste like a gulp or orange juice right after brushing your teeth? Eww.

Posted by JakeLunden | July 27, 2007 10:08 PM

he can do extensive research into xylitol but he can't manage a Books column every week? WTF?

Posted by sally | July 28, 2007 9:58 AM

birch sugar is great. it's cooling and it metabolizes much more slowly than regular sugar and most people that can't eat regular sugar for one reason or another can eat it without problems. i have seen the xylitol in health food stores, but i haven't purchased it under that name yet nor have i looked at it very closely. i assume it's straight birch sugar.

there's something about the name xylitol that i have a hard time remembering and i have been using this brand for a long time and i love it!

Posted by sweet tooth | July 28, 2007 1:43 PM

Great posts, Christopher. More, more!

Posted by fun shaped | July 28, 2007 1:50 PM

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