Sweet Swaps: Sugar Alternatives
Trying to replace white sugar with healthier alternatives? In this second post in our Sweet Swaps series, we give you the scoop on the most common sugar substitutes. These popular sweeteners are both natural and low-glycemic (sounds like a win-win to us!).
Stevia is a very sweet herb. In fact, stevia extracts are up to 300x sweeter than sugar! It comes in convenient to-go packets, liquid or powdered extracts, and even naturally flavored liquid extracts. Wondering how much stevia to use? Sweeten foods and beverages to taste, or follow a conversion chart when using stevia to replace sugar a recipes.
Erythritol is a natural sugar alcohol with about 70% the sweetness of sugar. It is commonly derived from cornstarch, so be sure to look for non-GMO varieties. Since erythritol is not quite as sweet as sugar, you may want to combine it with a pinch of stevia when using in recipes.
Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol that comes from corn cobs, as well as some fruits and vegetables (as with erythritol, choose a non-GMO variety). About as sweet as sugar but with a low glycemic impact, xylitol swaps out easily in most recipes. Xylitol is also recommended by dentists to help control bacteria that cause tooth decay, which makes it a smile-friendly alternative to sugar as well! For additional oral health benefits, look for xylitol in natural toothpastes, mouthwash and even chewing gum.
Tips on using sweeteners
- If you're looking for an easy way to replace sugar in a recipe, check out a sweetener blend that's specifically formulated for baking. NOW® Sugarless Sugar™ blends erythritol with stevia to create a 1:1 sugar substitute (1 Cup of Sugarless Sugar is equivalent to 1 Cup of white sugar).
- Wondering about powdered sugar substitutes? Confectioner's Erythritol has you covered!
- As with any sugar alcohol, erythritol and xylitol should be enjoyed in moderation—excessive consumption of sugar alcohols can cause digestive upset or have a laxative effect. This is because of their slow digestive uptake, which helps lower their glycemic impact.
What's your favorite sweetener? Do you have any tips on reducing sugar in your favorite recipes? We'd love to hear from you! Please share in the comments below.
*Content contained in this article is not intended to provide or to constitute medical or healthcare advice. Nor can it be relied upon as preventative care, cure, or treatment for any disease or medical condition. You should consult a qualified healthcare professional for advice regarding the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and before starting any supplementation, nutritional, exercise, or other medical program.