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Sugar Substitutes for Cooking

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Which sugar substitutes work best for cooking? I've found out a little, but need some expertise. I've found the following:

Cyclamate – any word on the current status?

Equal (Aspartame) is said to break down in heat, so it's not suitable for cooking.

Erythitol – browns like sugar. The FDA rates it as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe), but that means the FDA hasn't evaluated it. Their site at http://www.nowfoods.com/?action=itemd... but it's a health food manufacturer, and I'd like a neutral evaluation.

Saccharin

Spenda (Sucralose) -- OK for cooking, but is said to have an "artificial" aftertaste. How strong is it?

Stevia -- OK for cooking, but not approved by the FDA for food use.

Sunett (Acesulfame potassium) is said not to break down in cooking.

I assume any of them could be sprinkled on cooked food before serving where necessary, but how about, say, pork roasts to create a lacquered surface or in most Indian and Chinese dishes?

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  1. I use Splenda but cut back the amount called for of sugar to about 1/3- 1/2 less with Splenda. I am not a fan of overly sweet foods.

    1. KRS, regarding erythritol, Health Canada approved its use a little over two years ago ( http://canadagazette.gc.ca/partII/200... ). I don't know whether any independent testing was done, or if it was approved on the basis of information supplied by the manufacturers and distributors.

      As mentioned in a couple of previous threads, I've been using erythritol in cooking and baking with excellent results. As a diabetic, I've been very happy with the products I'm producing, and my non-diabetic family members have no complaints. I do not tend to do a lot of baking, so have not done any extensive amount of baking using erythritol. But the five or six different baking applications I've used it in have been successful.

      I have used erythritol in cooking with excellent results.

      I have not used any of the other sweeteners you mention in my cooking and baking, because I do not like the taste of these products and have other concerns about them.

      1. Try using Sucanat which is a great alternative to carcinogenic chemicals.

        Sucanat is the first dried pressing of sugar cane and does not lead to the sugar mood swing/crash.

        It also contains nutrients lost in further processing.

        It dissolves easily and is actually good for you!

        Don't trust the FDA....

        Google Splenda/Aspartame and Anxiety and check out the research...

        1 Reply
        1. re: jbyoga

          Oh nonsense! Splenda is sugar with one molecule removed and a molecule of chlorine substituted. The same chlorine that is in our water, salt etc. Just get over that nonsense.

        2. I have very successfully used Xylitol in both baking & regular cooking for the past few years. It's supposedly geared toward diabetics & enters your bloodstream slower, meaning no 'shakes' (if you're sensitive to sugar like I am) and no big crash.

          I just started experimenting with Agave Nectar - same idea, high glycemic index, so absorbed slower, etc.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jdubboston

            Be very careful using xylitol if you have pets in your household. It is reported to be toxic and possibly fatal when ingested by dogs. Erythritol has been tested, and this toxicity has not been found.

            I started off using xylitol and discontinued when I found this out (I have three dogs and four cats). Be careful with certain sugarless chewing gums and candies, as well.

            1. re: jdubboston

              I've had success with xylitol, too. I'm about to order some online in bulk because it's way cheaper that way than Whole Foods.

              Regarding pets - Lots of things I use in the kitchen that I already have to protect my pets from (including chocolate & grapes), so we are very careful with those types of items. In addition, our dog has a serious allergy & is on prescription food, so we are already ultra-careful due to that situation.

            2. Depends on what you really need sugar for in cooking.
              If you are baking, it's hard to substitute because a lot depends on volume and performance. I understand that's part of the advantage to Splenda. You could also switch to recipes that use honey.
              Honey can be used for a lot of other uses as well without resorting to chemical substitutes for cane sugar.
              For glazing roasts, since that's cosmetic, can you skip it if honey won't work?
              For my regular cooking, I use so little sugar, that I just don't worry about it. One tablespoon in a Chinese sauce or thrown in a pot of tomato sauce isn't going to make much difference over 4 servings.
              Better to just cut back on overall sugar consumption than mess around with potentially unsafe substitutes.

              2 Replies
              1. re: MakingSense

                Spoken by a true non-diabetic. For those of us who crave more than a little nibble of good-tasting sweets, finding a healthy, tasty alternative is important.

                I agree that a little sugar doesn't hurt, and I continue to use small amounts of sugar in my cooking. It's the honey-like pumpkin cake and the blueberry-apple pie that I use erythritol in.

                1. re: FlavoursGal

                  I do make many different desserts using Splenda, and I've always had great results.
                  I cook for a diabetic, as well as, for reducing the sugar levels in my kids. We have never noticed any after taste. It is a little sweeter though so I usually take a couple of tablespoons out.,