Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
CH2OH(CHOH)3CH2OH a polyhydric alcohol (pentitol), an optically inactive isomer; colorless hygroscopic crystals with a sweet taste. Xylitol is soluble in water, alcohol, glycols, acetic acid, and pyridine. It has the same calorific value as sugar (4 kcal/g) but is twice as sweet; however, it has no biological value. It has no adverse effect on organisms and is therefore used in the food industry, for example, as a sugar substitute in the manufacture of sweet edibles for individuals suffering from diabetes and obesity.
Xylitol exhibits a cholagogic and aperient effect; the prescribed daily dosage should not exceed 50 g. It can also be used in the preparation of esters, surface-active agents, and synthetic resins. In industry xylitol is prepared by the reduction of xylose; vegetable byproducts such as corn cobs and cotton husks serve as raw material for this process.