Xylitol is a natural sweetener that is produced from hard wood sources, predominantly Birch and Beech. It looks and tastes the same to sugar and is interchangable in recipes - the only difference is a subtle minty aftertaste.
Xylitol contains 40% less calories than cane sugar, is low GI, non GMO and is 100% natural.
There are also subtle differences between xylitol and sugar when cooking or baking, xylitol absorbs moisture heavily and won’t help you like sugar does when trying to get something to raise using yeast.
During production the chipped wood is subject to hydrolysis which breaks down the xylan into xylose. The xylose is then reduced and crystallised before being dissolved in water and purified. Finally it is crystallised to produce high purity Xylitol.