Sugar substitutes

The A-Z of sugar substitutes

If you have an incurable sweet tooth but worry that a sugar-rich diet is setting you up for health problems, then this guide to sugar substitutes is for you.

28 Jun 2019
“Baking has the benefit of allowing people creative expression,” Dr Donna Pincus

Life’s too short to worry about every little treat that comes your way. But regularly indulging in sugary foods does add up: over time, it sets the stage for weight gain, tooth decay and even chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Is it perhaps time to replace some of the sugar in your diet with a healthy sugar substitute? We take a closer look at your options.

Natural and artificial sweeteners

Natural sweeteners usually occur naturally (i.e. they’re produced by nature) and don't have any added chemicals. They include cane sugar, maple syrup, honey, molasses, coconut sugar, date sugar, agave nectar, erythritol, stevia and xylitol. Some provide a lot of energy (like cane sugar); others hardly any.

Artificial sweeteners, on the other hand, are synthetic sugar substitutes that are used to replace sugar in food and beverages. They fall into two groups – nutritive sweeteners (these add some energy value) and non-nutritive sweeteners (these are used in small quantities and add no energy value). Common artificial sweeteners include aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame K and saccharin.

Many doctors and scientists believe that the smart use of sugar replacements can help reduce added sugars in our diets and lower the number of kilojoules we consume. They’re also a useful alternative for people with diabetes who need to monitor their blood glucose and insulin levels, while still being able to enjoy their favourite foods.

Here at Freesweet we prefer natural sweeteners over artificial ones. They’re less processed and often add nutritional value. That said, many of the natural sugar replacements on the market still cause a spike in blood glucose and insulin levels, while others leave a bitter aftertaste.

Popular natural sweeteners

Three of the most popular natural sweeteners on the market are:

Erythritol

Kilojoules: Almost none.

Sweetness: 70% as sweet as sugar.

Benefits: Erythritol won't cause blood-glucose or insulin level spikes.

Stevia

Kilojoules: Classified as zero-calorie and kilojoule-free, as the calories/kilojoules per serving are so low.

Sweetness: 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar.

Benefits: Because stevia contains no sugar and no kilojoules, it can form part of a well-balanced diet. Research also shows that stevia has no effect on blood-glucose or insulin levels.

Drawback: Stevia leaves a bitter aftertaste.

Xylitol

Kilojoules: Between 8 and 20kJ per gram.

Sweetness: Similar level of sweetness to sugar.

Benefits: Xylitol has a low glycemic index (GI), which means it won't cause spikes in blood-glucose or insulin levels. In addition, since it’s low-GI, it's a weight-loss friendly sugar substitute.

Special precaution: Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs.

Good to know

In our search for a sugar replacement, our goal was to create a natural product that would truly satisfy without causing blood-glucose and insulin spikes. We’re proud to say that we’ve succeeded. Freesweet combines seven all-natural ingredients in a delicious sugar replacement that can be used in a 1:1 ratio in recipes. The unique formula bakes beautifully without leaving a bitter aftertaste. It truly is a product unlike any other on the market, and the perfect sugar substitute for baking.

Ready to give your brand-new, sugar-free lifestyle a go? #followyourfree

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