Does sugar free jello contain xylitol?

Sugar free jello is a popular low calorie dessert option for people looking to reduce their sugar intake. But some sugar free jellos contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which can be dangerous for dogs. So does sugar free jello contain xylitol?

The short answer

Some, but not all, sugar free jello contains xylitol. You have to read the ingredients list to know if a particular brand or flavor contains xylitol.

What is xylitol?

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol commonly used as an artificial sweetener in sugar free and low calorie foods and drinks. It looks and tastes similar to regular sugar but contains fewer calories.

Xylitol is found naturally in small amounts in some fruits and vegetables. But for commercial products, it is usually manufactured from birch trees or corn cob fibers.

In humans, xylitol does not significantly impact blood sugar or insulin levels, so it is popular in diets for diabetics and weight loss. It also does not promote tooth decay like regular sugar.

Dangers of xylitol for dogs

While xylitol is generally safe for human consumption, it can be extremely toxic and dangerous to dogs. The effects of xylitol poisoning in dogs can include:

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Liver failure
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Xylitol is toxic to dogs because their bodies mistake it for real sugar and start producing a large amount of insulin in response. This rapid release of insulin causes a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels.

Even small amounts of xylitol can be toxic for a dog. Consumption of as little as 0.1 grams of xylitol per kilogram of a dog’s weight can cause hypoglycemia. To put this in perspective, just two pieces of sugar free gum can contain 1-2 grams of xylitol and be enough to make a 10 pound dog seriously ill.

Xylitol in sugar free jello

Some, but not all, store-bought sugar free jello contains xylitol as the sweetener. You have to read the ingredients list to know for sure.

For example, the popular Jell-O brand sugar free gelatin desserts do contain xylitol. The ingredients list for Jell-O Sugar Free gelatin includes:

  • Water
  • Xylitol
  • Adipic acid
  • Fumaric acid
  • Gelatin
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Aspartame
  • Potassium sorbate
  • Sodium citrate

So Jell-O Sugar Free gelatin mixes contain both xylitol and aspartame as sweeteners. This means they should always be kept far away from dogs.

On the other hand, some store brands of sugar free gelatin desserts contain aspartame but no xylitol. For example, the ingredients list for Walmart’s Great Value sugar free gelatin desserts shows:

  • Water
  • Adipic acid
  • Fumaric acid
  • Gelatin
  • Aspartame
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Potassium sorbate
  • Sodium citrate

Since xylitol is not listed, Walmart’s sugar free gelatin would be safer for dogs (although aspartame also carries risks).

Sugar free jello products that contain xylitol

Here are some common sugar free jello products that contain xylitol as an ingredient:

  • Jell-O Sugar Free gelatin dessert
  • Jell-O Sugar Free pudding snacks
  • Jell-O Sugar Free chocolate flavor pudding
  • Jell-O Sugar Free vanilla pudding
  • Jell-O Sugar Free cheesecake flavor instant pudding
  • Jell-O Sugar Free tapioca pudding
  • Jell-O Sugar Free pistachio instant pudding
  • Jell-O Sugar Free flan flavor pudding
  • Jell-O Sugar Free banana cream instant pudding

Sugar free jello products without xylitol

On the other hand, some store brand sugar free jello products do not contain xylitol. Here are a few examples:

  • Great Value (Walmart) sugar free gelatin dessert
  • Great Value sugar free cheesecake pudding
  • Great Value sugar free flan pudding
  • Kroger gelatin dessert
  • Kroger sugar free chocolate pudding
  • Kroger sugar free tapioca pudding

Again, you have to read the ingredients list closely to confirm whether xylitol is included.

Making homemade xylitol-free jello

The safest option is to make your own homemade sugar free jello using xylitol-free sweeteners. Here are some simple recipes to try:

Homemade xylitol-free gelatin


  • 3 ounces gelatin
  • 2 cups water
  • Liquid water enhancer or other no-calorie sweetener like stevia or Splenda
  • Your choice of flavors like lemon juice, extracts, or fruit


  1. Add gelatin to 2 cups water in a saucepan
  2. Heat over medium, stirring frequently until gelatin is dissolved, about 5 minutes
  3. Remove from heat and stir in sweetener and flavors of your choice
  4. Pour into dishes and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours

Homemade sugar free pudding


  • 2 cups milk of choice
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package sugar free instant pudding mix (avoid ones with xylitol)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Whisk milk and pudding mix together in a bowl until thickened, about 2 minutes
  2. Stir in vanilla extract
  3. Pour into dishes and refrigerate until set, about an hour

You can add extra flavors like cocoa powder, peanut butter, or fruit purees. Top with whipped cream when serving if desired.


In summary, some but not all sugar free jello products contain the artificial sweetener xylitol. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs, so jello mixes containing it should never be given to dogs.

Always read the ingredients list carefully before feeding any sugar free jello products to your dog. Better yet, stick to homemade jello using xylitol-free sweeteners like stevia or Splenda.

While xylitol has benefits for human health, it can be deadly for canine companions. So be sure to keep all xylitol-containing foods safely out of reach of your furry friends.

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