Because we may be confused about this at times, I thought that I would share with you things You May Not Know about Sugar Alternatives
The information that I am sharing comes from the experts.
Things You May Not Know about Sugar Alternatives
For those of us who are sensitive the sugar, sugar alternatives are a way of life.
If you have been around here, you have noticed that the 'sweet' recipes that I share do not have sugar added to them. While I may avoid the sugar that is added to a 'normal' cookie, I also can appreciate a good piece of fruit (within moderation).
There are many reasons beyond the medical ones, that people choose to use a sugar alternative.
Cutting calories is one popular reason to avoid sugar. Having a medical condition, such as diabetes, is another one.
I should note that I have never been medically diagnosed (beyond a gestational issue once) with anything specific to keep me away from sugar. My decision to do so is purely by choice. I know how sugar affects my body and mind as well as my teeth.
What you May Not Know about Sugar Alternatives
I am not endorsing or trying to sway anyone with this information. A lot of it can amaze you or assist you in your choices. I urge you to read up on what you may want to learn more about with some of the links that I have provide below.
- There are categories of sugar alternatives that you may be familiar with. These categories are natural and artificial sweeteners.
- Natural sweeteners, such as stevia, are derived from natural sources such as plants.
- Artificial sweeteners, such as saccharin and aspartame, are created via a chemical process.
- Sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol and mannitol, , come from plant products such as fruits. These usually come already added to products rather than us purchasing them to add to our creations.
- You may have wondered if sugar alternatives in the US are safe? According to the American Diabetes Association, and the National Cancer Institute, yes. They say that there is no significant evidence that any of the sugar substitutes approved for use in the United States cause cancer or other serious health problems.
- Have you ever baked with 'natural sweetners'? We know them a'natural sweeteners'. However, they can have sugar in them and thus, affect us as sugar would. Natural sweeteners that are used include honey, maple syrup, Agave Nectar,and Molasses.
Read about the research
- The NIH (national institute of health) says that a sugar substitutes are a food additive that duplicates the effect of sugar in taste.These sugar alternatives usually have less food energy than sugar. This means that consuming a sugar alternative probably will not give you the energy that you may get from a regular candy bar.
- Are you concerned about research about the safety of artificial sweeteners? A lot of people are concerned about getting cancer from sweeteners. You can read about the research from the National Cancer Institute here
- You should read the labels before you purchase sweeteners. This is because some sugar substitutes are “blends” or “mixes”. You can add a blend or mix to your recipe. However, you may be adding some sugar too because they contain a mix of the sugar substitute and actual sugar.
- Some folks add sugar in the form of 'blends' when baking. This is because the sugar is important for moisture, browning, and rising. Sugar and yeast have a relationship when brought together in a recipe.
You may want to know what is sugar free anyway
- According to Medline, a sugar free food has less than ½ gram of sugar per serving. This means that there can be a small amount of sugar in something that you think is sugar free. Remember that your portions can add up so reading the label can be important to you.
- Another FYI from the same source, a calorie-free food has fewer than 5 calories per serving and a reduced-calorie food has at least one-quarter fewer calories than the original food.
- Using artificial sweeteners in place of sugar can help prevent dental decay. This is one big reason why I try to avoid sugar.
- The FDA says that aspartame is safe for the general population under certain conditions. However, people with a rare hereditary disease known as PKU have a difficulty with this sweetener . If you have PKU you should probably use something else.
- High-intensity sweeteners include Saccharin and Aspartame. These are many times sweeter than sugar. However, they are calorie free or low in calories.
- You may be consuming more calories in something even though it is sugar free. It is common for manufacturers to mask the lack of a sweet taste in something by adding something additional such as fats.
- Stevia may help you lower your blood pressure. There is some research which suggests that Stevia might lower blood sugar levels. Also, if you have diabetes and you eat stevia you should monitor your blood sugar.
- Also, consuming Stevia might have an effect on you like a water pill or "diuretic."
- The artificial sweeteners that you consume are regulated by the FDA. The FDA has set an acceptable daily intake which is the amount that you can consume.
The next section is about certain alternatives that see often.
- Aspartame- such as Equal, is 220 times sweeter than sucrose (sugar).
You cannot bake with it, as many of use have probably tried (raising my hand). This is because it loses its sweetness when exposed to heat. Thus, aspartame is seen a lot in beverages that we enjoy instead.
- Splenda is 600 times sweeter than sugar.
One reason why this is so popular is because we can use it in so many ways. We can bake with it. And we can add it to beverages. Also, we can simply serve it with coffee and tea.
- Saccharin- remember Sweet 'N Low? This is 200 to 700 times sweeter than sucrose (sugar).
We do not use saccharin in cooking and baking. However, many of us remember the aftertaste that comes from saccharin in it. I have many a memory for the aftertaste from drinking my Tab.
- Stevia is a popular sweetener with my readers. The popularity of Stevia may have something to do with it being a plant-based sweetener. The Stevia that we buy can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar.This is why a recipe is adjusted as we need less Stevia than we would need sugar to sweeten it.
- The lesser known (in the US) Neotame is used in diet foods and beverages. From what I have read, this is an artificial sweetener made by NutraSweet. It is between 7,000 and 13,000 times sweeter than sucrose (sugar).
- Monk Fruit is a powdered extract from monk fruit. Monk fruit is a melon found in Asia. This sweetener can be up to 200 times sweeter than sucrose (sugar). It is sweeter than sugar and thus, a recipe must be adjusted to use this.
- Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for use in Food in the United States
Do you want to read more about sugar alternatives?
You can find a lot of research. The research can help you make decisions on the best sugar alternatives for your needs. I bake a lot but, I also like to vary my choices. I use certain sweeteners specifically for certain recipes as they seem to work better.
Mayo Clinic . “Artificial Sweeteners and Other Sugar Substitutes.” .
U.S. Food and Drug Administration . “High-Intensity Sweeteners.”-
- Read about Saccharin
- Learn about Aspartame
- Find out about Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K)
- Read about Sucralose
- Learn about Neotame
- Read more about Advantame
- Find out about Steviol glycosides
- Learn about Luo Han Guo fruit extracts