Effects of oral xylitol administration on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in normal subjects

Infusionsther Klin Ernahr. 1975 Aug;2(4):247-52. doi: 10.1159/000219627.


Oral tolerance tests with 30 and 50 g of xylitol were performed in 10 normal subjects adapted to taking this pentitol. A 50 g oral glucose tolerance test served as control. Continuous indirect calorimetry was carried out in 7 of these subjects to measure the effects on the metabolic rate and on the oxidation rates of carbohydrate and fat. A small and short rise in serum xylitol and low quantitites of xylitol excretion in urine were observed in both xylitol tests. Xylitol caused a small but statistically significant increase in blood glucose and plasma insulin concentrations. Plasma free glycerol diminished significantly. After xylitol the metabolic rate rose throughout the test period but the total increase was only half of that after glucose administration. There was no significant influence of xylitol on the oxidation rates of carbohydrate and lipids. The total increase in carbohydrate oxidation during 2 1/2 hours amounted to one fourth of that caused by glucose. It is suggested that xylitol, during the first two hours after ingestion, charges the body's metabolism much less than equal amounts of glucose. Therefore, the use of xylitol as a sweetener in the diet of diabetic patients seems to be justified.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism*
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Female
  • Glycerol / blood
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Male
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Xylitol / administration & dosage
  • Xylitol / pharmacology*
  • Xylitol / urine


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Glycerol
  • Xylitol