The effects of equal caloric amounts of xylitol, sucrose and starch on insulin requirements and blood glucose levels in insulin-dependent diabetics

Diabetologia. 1981 Jul;21(1):37-40. doi: 10.1007/BF03216221.


Xylitol has been suggested as a potentially useful sweetener in the diabetic diet. In 14 insulin-dependent diabetics a standard diabetic diet regimen was compared with diets in which starch was isocalorically exchanged in the breakfast meal by either 30 g xylitol or 30 g sucrose. Insulin requirement and blood glucose were measured using a glucose-controlled insulin infusion system. The results following breakfast with xylitol were similar to those after starch breakfasts. Sucrose, in contrast, induced a greater post-prandial rise in blood glucose levels despite counter-regulation by the glucose-controlled insulin infusion system. Insulin requirement after sucrose significantly exceeded (p less than 0.01) that after xylitol or starch during the first 60 min and 2 h respectively. No short-term side effects of xylitol were found.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • C-Peptide / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Energy Intake
  • Humans
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*
  • Starch / pharmacology*
  • Sucrose / pharmacology*
  • Xylitol / adverse effects
  • Xylitol / blood
  • Xylitol / pharmacology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • C-Peptide
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Insulin
  • Sucrose
  • Starch
  • Xylitol