The Best Sugar Swaps
Are you trying to cut back on sugar? Then you know cutting the sweet stuff cold turkey doesn’t work. (How many days until you’re filling your pantry with processed “food” again?)
Saying no to sugar is a journey. It takes time to train your mind to overcome a sweet tooth. The experience of genuine fulfillment and satisfaction from nourishing foods cannot be forced.
Luckily we have sugar alcohols to aid us on our journey. These sweeteners are calorie free which means you get to enjoy all the sweetness without suffering the common side effects of sugar.
This makes sugar alcohols a realistic and maintainable solution to eating less sugary, processed foods. Not to mention… the stuff is delicious.
Here is a list of our favorite sugar alcohols with explanations on how and when to use them.
Erythritol looks like sugar, tastes like sugar, and cooks like sugar. This is your go-to white sugar substitute. Use erythritol wherever you use regular sugar at a 1:1.
You can find erythritol in practically every grocery store. If your grocery store has a bulk section, you can probably find it there too.
Erythritol is our favorite sugar alcohol because it takes it easy on the gut. Most erythritol is absorbed by the small intestine and enters the bloodstream. Since it is non-nutritive, the erythritol does not raise your blood sugar and it is not digested. Instead, the erythritol gets filtered out via your kidneys. Studies show very little erythritol reaches the colon where it is fermented by gut bacteria [source].
There is, however, one downside to erythritol. It has a cooling sensation. The alcohol part of the sugar alcohol gives erythritol its cooling effect.
No worries. If you want to enjoy erythritol without the cooling sensation, keep reading because there is a solution. (It’s monk fruit. Monk fruit is the solution.)
Monk Fruit is a calorie free sweetener extracted from the lo han guo fruit in China. (Buddhist Monks cultivated the lo han guo fruit 800 years ago which is why we call it “monk fruit.”)
But don’t expect to find Pure Monk Fruit Sweetener at the store. Monk Fruit Sweetener is commonly mixed with Erythritol because it reduces the cooling effect of the sugar alcohol.
Monk Fruit mixed with Erythritol is a sensation. It is as close to sugar as you’re going to get. Use monk fruit sweetener at a 1:1 for sugar replacement.
Would you believe it? They can turn erythritol into a brown sugar that is so convincing, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. Expect that dense, sandy, and sticky consistency you know and love from this brown sugar alternative.
Substitute brown sugar for erythritol brown sugar at 1:1 in all baking scenarios.
Related: Try our fresh baked cookies! (Coming soon)
Erythritol can also be converted into powdered sugar, and it is shockingly similar to the real thing. It’s light and fluffy, and it makes a mess. Use this powdered sugar alternative wherever you need it.
Related: Try our french toast recipe! (Coming soon)
Stevia is a natural, calorie-free sweetener extracted from the Stevia Plant leaf. In its pure form, stevia is not practical for consumption. It is about 200x sweeter than table sugar and bitter [source].
You’ll find stevia mixed with other ingredients to mimic commonly used sweeteners.
Stevia packets are the same size, shape and offer the same sweetness boost as other sugar packets. Simply put, they are the best sugar substitute for coffee and tea. Buy stevia packets in bulk to sweeten your coffee at home. We recommend you keep a handful of packets in your car for when you pick up coffee while you’re out.
A minor problem with stevia packets is that the sweetener clumps when added to iced drinks. A simple way to prevent this from happening is to add the sweetener slowly as you stir. Another option is to use stevia drops instead.
Stevia drops are liquid sweetener dispensed via a dropper. Use Stevia drops to fine-tune sweetness in coffee, tea, or any liquid that you need to sweeten.
If you’re drinking an iced drink, stevia drops are a win. Since stevia drops are liquid, there are no clumping issues. Stevia drops mix evenly into any liquid at any temperature.
Stevia Mixed with Erythritol
This is yet another 1:1 white sugar substitute. When it comes to Erythritol, you clearly have options. You can use pure erythritol, monk fruit erythritol, or stevia erythritol. Try them all to find your favorite.
You won’t use allulose often, but when you do, it’s because you need it. Allulose makes all the difference in frozen desserts like sugar-free ice cream.
Allulose is different from erythritol because, when frozen, erythritol remains grainy and crunchy. Nobody wants sugar crystals in their ice cream. Use allulose for sweet, smooth and creamy desserts. The sweetness is 1:1 with table sugar which makes it an easy substitution.
What’s more, allulose takes it easy on the gut. 70% of allulose is absorbed by the small intestine and is then excreted via the kidneys [source].
Set Up Your Sugar Alcohol Collection
Cutting out processed foods is easy once you set up your sugar alcohol collection for success.
So putting all of this information together, what does your pantry need to look like? What sugar alcohols do you need so that you’re ready for every “I need to sweeten this” scenario (without redundancies or excess)?
The setup below should do the trick. With this sweetener supply, you’re ready to tackle every dessert on NeutralEating.com. You’ll also want to check out our Neutral Eating baking staples (coming soon) to make sure your pantry is covered on all sugar-free baking fronts.
Stop dieting! Start Neutral Eating.
Why diet? Eating bland, low-calorie food leaves a lot to be desired, and always feeling hungry is not a sustainable lifestyle.
Here’s what we have found to be true:
- Flavorful, high-calorie food can be healthy.
- You can eat until you’re full and stay lean.
- You can enjoy food and support your body at the same time.
Neutral Eating is a practical means to eating healthy. It is not a diet. There is no “eat this” or “don’t eat that.”
Rather, Neutral Eating offers basic food-logic to influence the food we want to eat.
Take 5 minutes to read “What is Neutral Eating?” See if you can resonate with the simple information backing these claims.
Because enjoying flavorful, satisfying food and staying healthy could be as simple as reading this one page.
Here is everything you need to know about eating healthy – What is Neutral Eating?