Best Sugar Substitutes For Baking
Some of the best things in life are baked, especially when homemade.
We all have fond memories of fresh cookies out of the oven, bread fresh from the bakery, and pies made from scratch.
Being diabetic doesn’t mean you can’t relive those memories or make them for your children. Here are some easy replacements for sugar so that you, too, can indulge once in a while in homemade goodness.
Baking without sugar is not as easy as just throwing in some substitutes. Sure, some of those powders work great in coffee, but when you subject them to the prolonged heat of the oven, they often fall flat or, worse, go sour. To save you some trial and error, here are some good substitute options for the best baking results.
Probably the easiest option to use in place of granulated sugar, whey low is three naturally-occurring sugars blended together . While individually they can raise blood sugar levels, when blended they counteract one another and have about one-quarter of the calories and one-third of the glycemic index of cane or beat sugar. Your body’s absorption of this sugar is also slower, so when used in moderation it can be a great way to substitute for regular sugar in your recipes.
Note: Laboratory testing of Whey Low’s claims of lower glycemic uptake has not been completed and reported however, preliminary results from the University of Maryland in College Park have been issued and are promising.
Try these sugar cutters and enjoy baking again!
Types Of Artificial Sweeteners
There are various artificial sweeteners licensed for use in the UK. These include:
- aspartame, used in Canderel, Hermesetas granulated
- saccharin, used in Hermesetas mini sweeteners
- sucralose, used in Splenda
- acesulfame potassium , used in Hermesetas Gold sweetener
- cyclamate, used in Hermesetas liquid.
Some products are made from a combination of two artificial sweeteners. For example, Hermesetas Gold sweetener is made from a blend of aspartame and acesulfame-K.
The Less Worse Sugar Substitutes
#5 Brown Sugar
Brown sugar is white sugar with some molasses remaining in it or added back after processing. Yep, its that simple!
And the difference between light and dark brown sugar? The amount of molasses in them. Molasses is also what makes brown sugar soft and moist. Turbinado sugar and evaporated cane juice are essentially less processed versions of brown sugar.
Pros: Because of the molasses, brown sugar offers more nutrients than white, like small amounts of calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
Cons: The nutrients brown sugar contains arent enough to write home about. One ounce contains 0.2 mg of iron, whereas the RDA of iron for the average person is at least 8 mg per day. And it has almost all the negatives associated with white sugar.
#6 Barley Malt
Barley malt is an unrefined sweetener thats made from sprouted barley. It contains 65% maltose , 30% complex carbohydrates, and 3% protein.
Pros: Barley malt isnt as sweet as many other sweeteners. Because it has some complex carbohydrates and a bit of protein, it is milder in its impact.
Cons: Since its high in maltose, barley malt can contribute to rapid blood sugar spikes. Also, barley contains gluten. This makes barley malt inappropriate for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
#7 Maple Syrup
Best known as a pancake topper, maple syrup is a thick, dark sweetener made by boiling down maple tree sap. Im talking about pure maple syrup, not corn syrup imitations, like Log Cabin or Aunt Jemima.
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Fat Cells Treat Sucralose Just Like Sugar
In the study, led by Sabyasachi Sen, MD, associate professor of medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, in Washington, DC, the researchers first looked at human fat-derived stem cells in the lab, adding the sugar subsitute, sucralose, to some cell samples but not to others.1 “We wanted to see if adding sucralose contributed to the process of making fat,” Dr. Sen tells EndocrineWeb.
Stem cells can change into mature fat, muscle, cartilage, or bone cells. After about 12 days, ”we could actually see the sucralose-added dish had more fat accumulation compared to the ones that did not get it,” Dr. Sen says.
Why did the cells accumulate fat? In the lab samples, Dr. Sen explains that the sucralose seemed to change the expression of a gene known as the glucose transporter gene. The glucose transporter gene helps sugar or in this case, sugar substitutes enter cells better.1 However, he says, when too much gets into the cells, it gets stored as fat.
Not what youd expect. They found with the stem cell research that the low-cal sweeteners promoted additional fat accumulation within the cells, compared to cells not exposed to these sweeteners. And, the higher the concentration of sweeteners introduced to the cells, the more fat that was accumulated.1 “The cells perceive as glucose,” he says.
Artificial Sweeteners Might Also Contribute To Weight Gain
Obesity and being obese is one of the leading predictors for diabetes. While sweetening agents are U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved, it doesnt indicate they are healthy. Food lead you to think non-caloric artificial sweeteners help with weight loss, but research studies show the opposite.
Thats because artificial sweeteners:
- dont decrease weight when used alone
- can still considerably increase body mass index
- reduce energy consumption
- are less efficient than calorie restriction and exercise
- can set off continuous consuming so energy consumption is continuous
- can lead to overeating when mixed with routine sugar
For people with diabetes seeking to handle their weight or sugar consumption, artificial sweeteners might not be a good substitute. Being overweight or obese can likewise increase your risk factors for several other health problems such as high blood pressure, body pain, and stroke.
Safety score for sweetening agents
Presently, the safety ranking for artificial sweeteners is incomplete. The FDA checked and authorized 5 sweetening agents prior to the newer research studies were released. Sweetening agents are presently ranked as AVOID, by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Prevent suggests the product is risky or inadequately checked and unworthy any risk.
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Questions For Your Doctor
- Is one sugar substitute better for my health than another?
- Is it better to use real sugar in moderation than to use a sugar substitute?
- Is sugar-free eating better for my overall health?
- Can sugar substitutes make me fat?
- Im pregnant. Are sugar substitutes safe for me?
- I have diabetes. Which sugar substitutes should I avoid?
What To Look For In An Artificial Sweetener
There are tons of types and divisions of artificial sweeteners out there. There are different kinds of sugars, different added ingredients, different brands, and so on.
On this sea of choices, do you know which one is the one for you? Among the many options all around, which one fits your needs and your health situation the best?
There are some ways to find out what sugars are best and how to choose among them. Some of them are:
- Compare the many brands available
- Look for zero-calorie varieties
- Do prior research about the side effects of the type you are looking for
- Consider your uses of sugar and look for baking sugar, cooking sugar, or table sugar, separately
- Consider your other health issues like â blood pressure
Other factors also include differences in sweetness concentration, texture â powdered, granule, or liquids, and so on.
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Sugars Sugar Substitutes And Sweeteners: Natural And Artificial
If youre living with diabetes, or even if youre not, you might think sweet foods are a barrier to your healthy, balanced diet. As a general rule, everyone should be eating less sugar but sometimes, only something sweet will do.
If want to lose weight, or youre trying to keep your blood glucose levels stable, you may want to know whether artificial sweeteners could help. If you browse around your local supermarket, youll see a huge range of sweeteners on offer, so it can be baffling to know which, if any, to go for.
What Is The Best Sugar For Baking
Granulated sugar has had all of the naturally present molasses refined out of it. It is the sugar that is most commonly used in baking. The fine crystals in granulated sugar dont cake together, which makes it perfect for measuring, sprinkling onto food and dissolving into drinks.
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Drawbacks Of Using Substitutes
Some studies show that eating foods with zero-calorie sweeteners may have the opposite effect intended and may promote weight gain. For instance, some research shows that an increased intake of very sweet substitutes may boost ones desire for sweetened foods. Theres also no telling what the long-term impact of consuming sugar substitutes may have on the body and overall health.
Certain substitutes may have immediate concerning effects on the body. Some people, for instance, may have allergic reactions to specific substitutes. Other individuals complain that alternatives like aspartame cause headaches and may act as a trigger for migraines. Several sugar substitutes also cause gastrointestinal distress.
Ways To Enjoy Sweets Without Added Sugar Or Sugar Alternatives
- Add a splash of unsweetened vanilla-flavored almond milk to your coffee
- Grate some carrots into your tomato sauce or bake some moist carrot muffins
- Slice some roasted beets into your salad or bake into a chocolaty red velvet cake.
- Add a splash of fresh orange juice to your homemade salad dressing, or your French toast batter.
- Stir some pineapple chunks into your stir-fry or top your chicken or fish with sliced pineapple or orange before baking.
- Defrost frozen berries and add, still warm, to a bowl of oatmeal or mix into plain yogurt, and sprinkle with diced walnuts.
- Top your burgerbeef, turkey, salmon, veggiewith caramelized onions.
- Dates, not terribly appealing to most of us on their own, have great qualities for replacing cane sugar in your favorite baked recipes try brownies, peanut butter pie, or no-bake cheesecake.
- Prepare your pancake batter with some unsweetened applesauce or grated apple.
As a last resort, Stevia, plant-based alternative sweetener, offers a very concentrated sugar like flavor when none of the options above work for you just go sparingly and use only occasionally. The more you rely on intense added sweeteners, the more you may crave them and nothing else.
Dr. Sen and Dr. Gardner have no financial disclosures.
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Buying Guide For Best Sugar Substitutes
For centuries, pure cane or beet sugar has been the most common form of food and beverage sweetener. While its inadvisable to consume large quantities of added sugar, entirely avoiding sucrose and high fructose corn syrup is a nearly impossible task. Sugar is naturally occurring in healthy fruits and vegetables, but its also often hidden in popular everyday foods.
Fortunately, there are a number of sugar substitutes on the market. Many are derived from natural sources and can be swapped out for sugar in recipes without sacrificing taste. These sugar substitutes also have the benefit of being much lower in calories than sugar and dont necessarily produce unwanted glucose spikes in the bloodstream.
Indeed, diabetics and dieters alike can benefit greatly from the introduction of these sugar substitutes into their daily routines. But which one should you try? To learn more, read on. If youre ready to buy, consider one of our top picks.
The Best Sweeteners For People With Diabetes
I am often asked about what the best sweeteners are for people with diabetes and what can be used as a replacement for sugar that wont raise blood sugar. Thats why I have created this in-depth guide to natural and artificial sweeteners for people with diabetes.
I get a little frustrated when reading or hearing outright incorrect claims and marketing spin about how some of the natural and artificial sweeteners affect your blood sugar.
As a person with diabetes, I want to know exactly what will happen to my blood sugar when I eat or drink something, and I dont take kindly to half-true marketing claims.
Ive decided to focus on which natural and artificial sweeteners are good for people with diabetes as it relates to impact on blood sugar, rather than on whether they are healthy choices in general since I think that is somewhat out of my domain and because plenty of others have already covered that.
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Artificial Sweeteners: No Better For Those With Thyroid Disease
Besides promoting fat accumulation, artificial sweeteners have been linked with the kind of hypothyroidism known as Hashimotos thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition.2
In a study presented at the International Thyroid Congress in 2015,2 researchers reported a link between artificial sweetener use and Hashimotos disease. The research team looked at 100 patients with Hashimotos thyroiditis and another 125 people with a healthy thyroid, and they found a strong link between use of sugar substitutes and a link to this thyroid condition. They note that sugar substitutes also have been linked with autoimmune problems in animals.
Best Not to Rely on Sugar Substitutes for a Sweet Fix
The evolving research on sucralose and fat accumulation offer an important warning, especially for those who are struggling with undesirable weight gain, says Christopher Gardner, PhD, professor of medicine at Stanford University and director of nutrition studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. The researchers found a plausible mechanism to explain a compelling downside to using artificial sweeteners, he tells EndocrineWeb.
What Is The Best Substitute For Sugar
Stevia is probably the healthiest option, followed by xylitol, erythritol, and yacon syrup. Natural sugars like maple syrup, molasses, and honey are less harmful than regular sugar and even have health benefits. Yet, they should still be used sparingly. As with most things in nutrition, moderation is key.
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To Satisfy A Sweet Toothnow What
“These products are geared to those who are obese,” Dr. Sen says, worse “It’s giving them false hope.” The message that comes with these product is, if you eat these sugar substitutes you won’t put on weight.
“That’s unfortunately just not true,” Dr. Sen says, given the findings from his research.1 Yet, he is not saying to turn to sugar either, but rather to be aware of the downsides of both ”real” sugar and its artificial substitutes.
“Try eating more whole foods,” Dr. Gardner says. “I’ve never seen a food with an artificial sweetener that is not a junk food,” he says. Fresh fruit delivers plenty of sweetness. Frozen berries that can be thawed and added still warm to oatmeal or yogurt for a very comforting meal.
How to give up the sugar substitute habit? Gradually, Dr. Gardner says. Think transition, not ”cold turkey.” For instance, if you love yogurt sweetened with sucralose, gradually replace your yogurt with vanilla and added fruit, or looking for low sugar brands. Give it a couple of months, he says, to change your habit and retrain your palate.
Add Veggies For Extra Moisture And Nutrients
To instantly increase the nutrient profile of baked goods, mix in half a cup to 1 cup of shredded or chopped vegetables. Shredded zucchini and riced cauliflower are my personal go-tos in muffins and quick breads, as they provide moisture and fiber, while retaining the taste quality, Zanini says. One cup of chopped zucchini, for example, adds some fiber and only 21 calories, according to the USDA. Shredded carrots and spinach are other great options to add to baked goods.
Depending on how much moisture there is in the veggies, you may want to cut back on oils and fats a bit. Check the consistency of the batter as you go.
But Weisenberger doesnt typically adjust her recipes too drastically when incorporating produce. I add veggies as a booster and dont subtract much else, she says.
What Is Granulated Sugar
The sugar you usually use every day in addition to food and beverages is cane sugar. This sugar is obtained from sugar cane plants that are processed and heated.
The result of this process is crystals, or more commonly known as granulated sugar. The limit of consumption of granulated sugar in a day according to the Ministry of Health is 4 tablespoons or the equivalent of 148 calories.
How Sugar Affects Your Health
Sugar sweetens, preserves, and enhances the flavor of food. This makes it hard to avoid and resist, but the health benefits of reducing your sugar intake are clear. A diet high in sugar has been associated with a wide range of health conditions, either directly through its effect on the body or indirectly due to complications from obesity.
- High triglyceride levels
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Recommendations For Maximum Sugar Intake For Diabetics
According to medical experts, there are mentions that the intake of sugar under normal conditions is a maximum of 50 grams or the equivalent of 4 tablespoons per day.
Diabetics are recommended to consume no more than 50 grams of sugar per day. These sugars include white sugar, palm sugar, and sugar in other forms. Keep in mind, carbohydrates are also one of the sources of sugar, and diabetics are recommended to consume carbohydrates amounting to 45-65% of the total caloric intake.
Although limited, using sugar or sugar in seasonings remains allowed so long as its not excessive. This is so that diabetics can still eat with the family.
However, diabetics are advised to limit the consumption of foods or soft drinks, sweets, cookies, fizzy drinks, packaged fruit juices, canned fruit syrup, which has fairly high sugar content. Instead, it is recommended to eat natural foods, such as vegetables and fruits.