past few decades, it has slowly become clear that the use of sugar has
a lot of long-term negative side effects, including the most common
one, which is sugar
addiction. Scientists stumbled onto aspartame
as an artificial sweetener halfway through the 20th century, but in
recent years this substance has been under fire due to the dangers it
new trend is to look for healthy
alternatives in natural sugar replacements. There are a
lot of natural alternatives to sugar, so it might be best to
concentrate on the most important ones here.
The daddy of
all the natural sugar substitutes.
It is derived from
plant and is about 40 times sweeter than table sugar in its
raw form, depending on the quality of the leaves. Stevia sweetens food
and beverages in different forms, and is stable in high
temparatures, which makes cooking
with stevia a piece of cake! No pun intended.
A fruit that
stems from Siraitia grosvenorii, a
climbing plant cultivated in the border area of China and Thailand.
Unlike stevia, the plant avoids sunlight in order to produce its sweet
fruits, as it prefers a damper climate. The propagation of this fruit
is still small-scaled though, compared to stevia rebaudiana. It can be
bought as a liquid
or in powdered form.
Also known as "wood sugar"
because it was first found in the bark of
birch trees in Finland. It is a so-called "polyol" or sugar
alcohol, which can also be found in the fibres of many fruits
and vegetables. Sugar alcohols are often used to add sweetness to
artificial sweeteners and contain only about half the calories of
normal sugar, but may cause some unwanted side effects in people with a
sensitive digestive system. Xylitol is sold primarily as a granulated sweetener.
sugar alcohol that is found naturally in small doses in fruits like
pears and apples. Coca Cola has released a new product called
Truvia based on erythritol and rebaudioside A. Stevia fans should be
wary though and wait for the first results, because the main ingredient
is still a sugar alcohol and may cause some intestinal distress if
consumed in large amounts. Let's hope that it won't give stevia a bad
name by mistake... If you want to try this sweetener, NOW
has a good
Extracted from corn or wheat, maltitol can be found as an
ingredient in many brands of sugar free candy. It contains less carbs
and calories than sugar, but it's also less sweet. This means that
you'll have to use more of it in order to reach the same amount of
sweetness. Also, maltitol is one of those sugar alcohols that has a
high number of complaints from people who are sensitive to intestinal
discomfort. Stay away from this sweetener as much as you can.
Sorbitol's main advantage
is that it can absorb
water. Therefore, it is often regarded as an excellent ingredient for
use in sugar free chocolate recipes and in combination with other food
types that tend to dry out easily. As with maltitol though, this polyol
is less sweet than sugar, so you're going to need large amounts of it
in order to make it taste right. And a greater volume equals a higher