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What is xylitol? McDonald's ice cream rumored to contain toxic substance

Rumors that McDonald's uses xylitol in its ice creams are going viral on Facebook. (Image via McDonalds/ Instagram)
Rumors that McDonald's uses xylitol in its ice creams are going viral on Facebook. (Image via McDonalds/ Instagram)
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Mita Kataria

Rumor has it that McDonald's ice cream contains xylitol, a sugar alcohol that humans can consume but is considered highly toxic for dogs. A Facebook post doing the rounds in April has set off alarms.

Already under fire for its unhealthy eating options and serving junk food at extremely affordable prices, McDonald's is again in the limelight for the wrong reasons. But the primary thing to note about this information is that it is, so far, only a rumor, with no evidence of existence.

Per several reports, the fast-food giant's ice cream does not list xylitol as one of the ingredients. Nevertheless, people coming across the information are anxious. Let's take a deeper look into what xylitol is.


What is the rumored McDonald's ice cream ingredient?

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According to Healthline, xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is used as a substitute for added sugar in food products and even in some dental products. It has 40% fewer calories than sugar, making it a staple in many low-sugar or diabetic-friendly food products. From low-sugar chewing gum to candy and mint, xylitol is present in them.

In its chemical structure, xylitol is made up of sugar and alcohol molecules that leave a sweet taste on your tongue, imitating the taste of sugar. Another thing to note in the chemical structure is that alcohol is not something that makes you drunk. People with alcohol addiction are also allowed to intake sugar alcohol.

@McDonalds Pet Parents are sharing all over that your ice cream products contain XYLITOL ....Would appreciate knowing yes or no w/proof. Dangerous ingredient and potentially deadly to pets, if so.

With almost no fructose content, the rumored McDonald's ice cream ingredient does not have any impact or change on one's insulin or blood sugar levels. Found in stores in the form of white crystalline powder, the substance, though, does not contain any proteins or vitamins.

Still, due to its structural makeup and taste, xylitol is considered a great alternative to sugar, especially for people with diabetes and other metabolism-related problems.

Another thing that xylitol helps with is oral hygiene. The oral bacteria responsible for tooth decay often feed on glucose from sugar. With the usage of xylitol instead of sugar, tooth decay becomes less likely. But with all the advantages that xylitol provides to humans, there is a massive catch.

Is it true that @McDonalds is putting xylitol in their ice cream? Are they trying to kill dogs?

Xylitol is considered extremely harmful to dogs. When dogs consume the substance, their bodies produce insulin, thinking xylitol is glucose. When their body cells absorb excess glucose from their bloodstream, they can get hypoglycemia and low blood sugar or even die.

This is one of the main reasons xylitol rumors have caused such a reaction. The idea that the famous company might be using a harmful product for dogs is not at all acceptable.

Several posts on Facebook urged people not to feed the fast-food franchise's ice cream to their pets. While McDonald's has not commented on these rumors, what turn this story will take now remains to be seen.


Edited by Yasho Amonkar
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