1. The effect of xylitol feeding on the iron content of rat tissues was studied.
2. Adult male rats were fed on the basal diet containing (g/kg) 200 glucose, or 50 or 200 xylitol, or the same diet containing no added carbohydrates for 8 weeks. Each feeding group comprised nine animals.
3. Xylitol at 200 g/kg diet retarded the growth rate of the rats, whereas 200 g glucose/kg increased the weight gains compared with animals given no added carbohydrates.
4. Xylitol at 50 g/kg did not affect the tissue Fe concentrations, but 200 g xylitol/kg increased the Fe content of the livers, duodenum wall, spleen, bone marrow and serum.
5. Cadmium and lead contents of the livers were similar in all groups.
6. Xylitol–Fe complexes are suggested to be responsible for the increased Fe absorption during xylitol feeding.