I am completely opposed to artificial sweeteners. I believe that butter is better than margarine, by that same token, that sugar is better than aspartame or Splenda. So you can imagine my hesitation when a bunch of products from Xyla arrived at my door late last year. The marketing materials that came with it state that it’s made from 100 per cent North American hardwood and actually has health benefits, like preventing cavities by up to 80 per cent. The part I was interested in was that it has zero sugar and far fewer carbs than the real thing. As with any product claiming health benefits, do your homework and talk to your health-care providers if you’re concerned or confused. As you’ll read in a CBC piece about this product, it can cause digestive issues if not introduced slowly. We’ve been using Xyla and its sugar-free jam for about two months without any problems. We put it in coffee (a dead ringer for sugar) and use it following a 1:1 ratio for baking on the rare occasion that happens. That said, if you’re eating too much sugar to begin with, this probably won’t solve your problems. But for a house that uses very little sugar overall, it suits us just fine. Just please don’t feed it to your pets!