Effects of xylitol as a sugar substitute on diabetes-related parameters in nondiabetic rats

J Med Food. 2011 May;14(5):505-11. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2010.0015. Epub 2011 Mar 24.


Abstract The present study was examined the effects of xylitol feeding on diabetes-associated parameters in nondiabetic rats. Seven-week-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into three groups: control (five rats), sucrose (six rats), and xylitol (six rats). Animal had free access to a commercial rat pellet diet, and ad libitum water, 10% sucrose solution, and 10% xylitol solution were supplied to the control, sucrose, and xylitol groups, respectively. After 3 weeks of feeding of experimental diets, food intakes were significantly (P<.05) lower in the sucrose and xylitol groups compared with the control group. Drink intake was significantly higher in the sucrose group but significantly lower in the xylitol group compared with the control group. Body weight gain was significantly lower in the xylitol group compared with the sucrose group. Weekly nonfasting blood glucose was significantly increased, but fasting blood glucose was significantly decreased, in the sucrose group compared with the control and xylitol groups. Significantly better glucose tolerance was observed in the xylitol group compared with the control and sucrose groups. Serum insulin and fructosamine concentrations were not significantly influenced by the feeding of xylitol or sucrose. Relative liver weight and liver glycogen were significantly increased in the xylitol group compared with the sucrose group, whereas no difference was observed between the xylitol and control groups. Serum total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol were significantly decreased in the sucrose and xylitol groups, and serum triglyceride of the xylitol group, but not the sucrose group, was significantly increased compared with the control group. Data of this study suggest that xylitol can be a better sweetener than sucrose to maintain diabetes-related parameters at a physiologically safer and stable condition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Weight
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood*
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Eating
  • Fasting
  • Fructosamine / blood
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Insulin / blood
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver Glycogen / metabolism
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology*
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Weight Gain
  • Xylitol / administration & dosage
  • Xylitol / pharmacology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Insulin
  • Liver Glycogen
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Triglycerides
  • Fructosamine
  • Cholesterol
  • Xylitol