Friday, October 26, 2007

Sugar Substitutes

I have been experimenting over the years with different sugar substitutes. I have not tried them all, so if you have any recommendations please let me know. Let me share with you what I have discovered.

Sucanat - this is the closest thing we can buy to unrefined sugar. Since the molassas has not been extracted yet, sucanat has a very "molassas" taste. It is a larger granule than white sugar so it does take longer to dissolve. I have substituted this for white sugar in equal amounts. It works great in baked goods and gives it a nice brown sugar taste. It does have it's own distinct taste to it so you may want to gradually add it in to your cooking. It will give anything you put it in a nice brown color. I'm not real sure on its affects on blood sugar, but it is still sugar so will affect blood sugar to some extent. We have noticed that it doesn't bother us as much as white sugar though. This can be bought at most health food stores and online.

Molassas - I use this in breads and my granola. It has a strong flavor, so use sparingly. Molassas will still affect your blood sugar, as do any liquid sugars. This can be bought at most grocery stores.

Honey - I love to use honey, but like Molassas, it will affect your blood sugar. Honey will differ in taste depending on where the bees gathered their pollen. Also can be bought at most grocery stores. Look for pure honey.

Stevia - this is an herb that is naturally sweet. You can purchase it in liquid, powder, or leaves. We have only used liquid. It is very sweet and we only put 3 drops per glass of tea. I have yet to try cooking with it. You need recipes tested with stevia because it takes very little stevia to equal the sugar called for in a recipe. They also now have flavored stevia. I have been wanting to try some of the flavored stevia in my homemade yogurt. You can purchase stevia in the pharmacy/herb section of your health food store. Some Wal-marts are carrying stevia granules in the sugar aisle. Since this is an herb it will not affect your blood sugar.

Maple Syrup - We only buy pure maple syrup, not corn syrup flavored like maple. But once again this will affect your blood sugar, but tastes wonderful in corn bread. But if you are going to eat cornbread what difference is a little maple syrup (since the corn will raise your blood sugar too)? This can also be found in most grocery stores. I found the best deal at Sam's.

Maple Sugar - Yum! This is crystalized maple syrup. This is wonderful to sprinkle over desserts or fruit or yogurt. I'm not sure how it affects your blood sugar since it is not liquid, but it is still sugar. You can find this at most health food stores or online.

Juice - This can be used as a sweetner when baking. Applesauce can also be used. It is a sugar and a liquid one at that, but I feel that the health benefits of juice balances out the affects on blood sugar. Of course I don't drink juice, but I will bake with it. Drinking juice causes it to be absorbed very quickly into your blood stream, but when it is baked into something it doesn't seem to have to same effect. When buying juice look for juice not made from concentrate.

Powdered Milk - Powdered milk is very sweet. Using it in baking instead of store-bought milk, will add a little sweet to your baking. I buy quality brands that are very fine, not granulated. You can find these at most grocery stores.

Agave Nectar - Since I wrote this article a year ago, we have discovered agave nectar. This has a low glycemic index so doesn't affect your blood sugar much. It has a mild taste and is wonderful in beverages. I have also used it to make sugar-free chocolate syrup. What would life be without chocolate?!?!? It is a little on the pricey side, but we are enjoying the benefits of using it.

Hope that will help you know what is available and give you a selection to chose from. Once again, please share your ideas with me.

4 comments:

ArahLea said...

Stevia is really growing in popularity. I have heard only good things about it!! I even noticed that our HEB has the packets. Good Luck!!

Becky said...

Thank you for all of this great information! I've heard about Stevia, too, but haven't tried it.

Delicia said...

Read more about Agave Nectar at www.westonaprice.org ... do a search on it at this website. Hope to meet you one day, we seem to have a lot in common. God Bless, D

Felicia said...

I enjoy that website actually. My blog has moved to the www.allthingsgranola.com website. But we had an interchange about Agave on my facebook page and didn't realize that I never put it on my blog. So here it is: I have read his article on agave. 1) He is referring to eating large doses of agave equal to the amounts of HFCS we are getting in sodas and every other package item. I don't consume that much agave. 2) If you read the article at http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/03/30/beware-of-the-agave-nectar-health-food.aspx he mentions what rare companies are doing to make a true organic healthy product. Read under "Is there really a safe organic agave?" This company produces a superior product compared to the popular brands. 3) Always use sweeteners in moderation! Like Dr. Mercola says - back in the day they only consumed about 15g of sugar/day.

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