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Sweeten Without Sugar

Whether you are watching your weight or managing your diabetes or just trying to eat a balanced diet, one of the main ways to monitor your carbohydrate intake is to limit the amount of added sugars in your diet. There are several sugar substitutes available that can help you cut back on sugar intake.

TEXARKANA, Ark. – 

Whether you are watching your weight or managing your diabetes or just trying to eat a balanced diet, one of the main ways to monitor your carbohydrate intake is to limit the amount of added sugars in your diet. There are several sugar substitutes available that can help you cut back on sugar intake.

Some sugar substitutes will not affect blood glucose levels and some may have a small effect. The following information is for educational purposes only. Mention of specific products does not constitute endorsement.

Sugar substitutes are grouped into two categories: non-nutritive sweeteners which provide no calories, and nutritive sweeteners which provide some calories. All sugar substitutes on the market in the US are considered Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) or approved as food additives by the Food and Drug Administration. They are given an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) which is the amount a person can safely consume every day over a lifetime without appreciable risk. The ADI is determined by review of all available safety and toxicological date on individual food additives.

Substituting sugar alternatives in favorite desserts can be frustrating because no artificial sweetener has all the properties of sugar. Sugar not only sweetens a food but also provides volume, texture, color, and moistness in many recipes. Many sugar substitutes on the market cannot be substituted for sugar in equivalent amounts because they are from 200 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar. Even granulated versions of the sugar substitutes cannot provide the same volume, texture and moistness of regular sugar.

Sugar substitutes work best in foods that rely on other ingredients for volume, moistness or texture. Alternative sweeteners substitute well in recipes for beverages, puddings, salad dressings, sauces, pies, and frozen desserts. Using sugar substitutes in cakes and cookies is usually less successful. Also some sugar substitutes tend to taste better in recipes with acidic ingredients like fruit or yogurt. All sugar substitutes are sweeter when they are combined with other sweeteners. For example, one packet of saccharin and one packet of aspartame in a recipe will be sweeter than two packets of aspartame.

Non-nutritive sweeteners are also known as intense sweeteners and are calorie-free. They are so intensely sweet that only a very small amount is needed to sweeten food. Examples include, Saccharin, Aspartame, Acesulfame-K, Sucralose and Neotame.

Manufacturers of sugar substitutes recommend using recipes that have been specially formulated for their product. All of the major sugar substitute manufacturers have websites with recipes online. Most will send recipe booklets upon request.

If you like to experiment with recipes, substituting in dessert recipes can be fun. However, if you are not into experimentation, using recipes from a diabetic or “lite” cookbook may be more reliable. Even recipes from a published cookbook may not meet your standards for taste and eye appeal.

While sugar-free desserts are usually lower in sugar and calories, they are not usually something you can afford to eat every day. They may still be high in total carbohydrates.

A free chart of detailing the best use of sweeteners can be received by contacting me at the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture in the Miller County Courthouse, call 870-779-3609, or e-mail me at Chaley@uaex.edu. You may also follow me on facebook at millercountyfcs/CarlaHaleyHadley.

Apple Raisin Bread Pudding is a great fall dish that provides only 112 calories and 22 grams carbohydrates per one half cup serving. In addition, it offers 4 grams protein, 1 gram fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 120 mg sodium and 1 gram fiber.

Apple Bread Pudding

4 cups light white bread cubes (about 6 slices)

One half cup apple juice

1 medium apple, chopped

One half cup Splenda

12 ounces fat-free evaporated skim milk

1 cup raisins

2 large eggs

One and one half teaspoons cinnamon

Non-stick cooking spray

 Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 11 x 7 inch pan baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Combine bread cubes, apple and raisins in large bowl. Beat eggs in a medium bowl, adding in remaining ingredients. Mix well. Pour egg mixture over bread mixture, pressing bread into egg mixture. Let stand for 10 minutes. Pour into baking dish, Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until set and apples are tender. Serves 12. 

By Carla Haley Hadley M.S.
County Extension Agent
Family & Consumer Sciences
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Carla Haley Hadley M.S.
County Extension Agent
Family & Consumer Sciences
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
chaley@uaex.edu

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