It’s that time of the year for copious amounts of baked holiday goodies. But what if you’re diabetic, pre-diabetic or are working on improving your metabolic health and overall energy levels? What’s a gal to do? (Read about the problems of sugar here). Today, I’m taking the guesswork out of sweeteners for you. Here are the 4 Best Sweeteners that won’t spike your glucose or insulin levels!
Allulose is a naturally occurring sugar found in figs, raisins, wheat, maple syrup and molasses. It’s chemically similar to fructose but about 70% as sweet. Allulose won’t spike your glucose levels or insulin levels making it one of the best sweeteners.
Allulose can be used just like table sugar and you can caramelize it and it gets thick and sticky just like beet or sugar cane sugar. I find that allulose has a sweet taste and doesn’t have an aftertaste like some sugar alternatives have. Note that for some, eating too much Allulose can cause some digestive upset.
Stevia is a sweetener made from the leaves of the stevia plant. It’s about 100 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar, but it has no carbohydrates, calories, or artificial ingredients. I use the leaves directly to sweeten tea. Stevia comes readily in a liquid or granular form making it easy to add to foods like yogurt and beverages.
Stevia tends to have a slightly bitter aftertaste and because it’s so much sweeter than typical sugar, you won’t be able to use it in a 1:1 swap. I would recommend experimenting with stevia before committing to baking with it. I’ve used liquid stevia in coffee and have had it in my favorite Tulsi Rose tea.
Monk fruit is a small, round fruit native to southern China – Luo Han Guo fruit. Monk fruit sweetener comes from the mogroside, which is the sweetest part of the fruit.
To make monk fruit sweetener, manufacturers crush the monk fruit, extract its juice and then extract its mogroside from the juice. I find that monkfruit tastes sweeter than typical sugar. Most monkfruit sweeteners on the market are combined with erythritol which can cause digestive upset. So when shopping, be sure to pick a 100% pure monkfruit.
Monkfruit can be used in most baking applications though because it tends to be 100 times sweeter than typical sugar, be sure to find a recipe that is designed for this sweetener. You don’t want to use this in a 1:1 swap. This can also be used to sweeten beverages as it disintegrates in water.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol and it’s manufactured, though this can sometimes develop naturally during a fermentation process. This is a popular sweetener and is often added to other sweeteners such as stevia and monk fruit. Because it’s a sugar alcohol, it can cause some digestive upset and have a laxative effect.
Erythritol comes in a granular form and can be used as a direct 1:1 swap for typical sugar for baking. This will typically change the taste and texture of baked goods and can have a sugar alcohol after taste. That said it’s versatile and inexpensive.
This holiday season and future celebrations can be made healthy for you and for your guests. Experiment with some of the options above to find the one that works best for you.