what is the best sugar alternatives ??? anybody knows ??
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that depends of the function you want to replace.
if you want to make solid candies for example: Xylitol, sorbitol and erythritol can do that.
If you want sweet taste but don't mind calories the three above work but xylitol and sorbitol have calories while erythritol has none (or very little).
If you're looking for intense sweetness without calories, without other sugar function, the list is long: Stevia, aspartame, saccharine, monk fruit extract, sucralose. Some of these resist cooking, others don't.
Amongst the latter sweeteners only stevia and monk fruit are considered natural.
The first step to answer your question is what function are you looking for?
have to go with @Luc_H , What function. I sometimes use isomalt depending what I'm trying to achieve. It's made from beets.
It probably has the tols Luc mentioned. Can't injest too much. Will give you the trots. I like the rpoperties though. Less sticky, more malleable. I use it for sugar pulling and blowing.
Made from a form of sucrose it melts easy and is quite a bit sweeter than regular sugar so one uses less to obtain similar sweetness in the final product. I have substituted it quite a bit in baking with no problems so far. It makes a great lemon or Bavarian orange cream pie.
I am a skeptic when it comes to food labelling and there are lot's of misinformation out there (especially with new products). I really dislike when a food company does not declare the ingredients on their website. However this is not the case here but it's not good news.
here is the ingredient statement: http://www.wheylow.com/Whey-Low-Granular-Natural-Sweetener-p/1028.htm
It says that the product has 3 ingredients in order of importance: Fructose, lactose and sucrose (which is plain old white sugar). Maximum amounts of each would be around 34%:33%:33%
The nutritional statement says: 1 tsp = 4 g and the total carbohydrates is also 4g so this product is 100% carbohydrates.
1g or carbohydrate = 4 Cal so the label is wrong it should be 1tsp = 4g of carb so = 16Cal. The FDA will have a field day with this product. Better advise the father in law of the nurse your sister used to work with to talk to their label authority or lawyers depending how they are informed of their mistake.
I doubt this product is safe for lactose intolerant people. (the FAQ says otherwise)
I grant that this sugar substitute could be adequate for diabetics because it's low in glucose (found as 50% of sucrose) but it has the same amount of calories per gram as sugar.
For diabetics glucose content is key because it's the only sugar that directly affects blood sugar levels when ingested.
Edited by Luc_H - 7/3/15 at 4:13am
I decided to check my facts this morning.
I mistakenly said that only sucrose contain glucose when in fact so does lactose which a glucose-galactose disaccharide (I forgot that detail) so I am not entirely convinced now how diabetic safe this product actually is. It depends on how much lactose and sucrose is proportionally in the mixture and how much one consumes obviously.
as for calories, this product has as many calories as sugar for the same amount of weight.
Fructose = sucrose = lactose = 16cal per tsp (or 4 g)
There's a new product on the market called "Zùsto", a Belgian invention. So far it's not available for the public but for professionals only. It contains 75% less calories than regular sugar, but it can be used exactly as if you were using sugar; same weight to be used as sugar, same sweetening capacity as sugar, same mouthfeel as sugar, could be caramelized...
Professionals are very enthousiastic! There's a few of them sharing their experience here; http://www.zusto.eu/
So their website is a classic example of a company that hides its ingredients. No where on the site can I find the nutritional label or the ingredient statement.
Reading through the FAQs (the French version), I found out that it's made mostly of Chicory fiber extract and polydextrose with other sweeteners like sucralose, stevia, erythritol, etc...
This product contains glucose but in a fibre form. Humans cannot digest (most of the) fiber which explains the reduction of calorie. Fibres are carbohydrates and will be declared as such on nutritional labels in Canada and the USA. In Canada, fibre can be declared as having 2 Cal per g instead of 4 Cal for other carbohydrates.
but there are caveats:
When fibre are dissolved in an acidic liquid it will degrade to glucose overtime (1 week). So baking is fine but making fruit preserves or beverages can release locked up glucose and calories over time (and may become unsuited for diabetics)
Polydextrose is also a manufactured (synthetic) fibre even though the website makes it sound like it was extracted from nature (chicory).
Here is an opinion piece: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/food/2009/03/dietary_fibber.html
Like high fibre foods, polydextrose caused digestive disconfort (bloating and flatulence) to the unaccustomed.
Overall, this product is not that bad as a functional sugar replacement.
I don't dispute that it requires less insulin to digest however it is not zero glucose so it does affect blood glucose levels somewhat so it may not be safe for all diabetics.
I also don't dispute that it works well in pies and cake and, even taste like sugar since it's all carbohydrates.
The calories in the nutritional label is still inaccurate hence misleading to the consumer so illegal.
In my book that is unforgiving because it leads the consumer (like diabetics or individuals wanting to lose weight) think it is a better product than it already is.