Sweet Solutions: The Best Sugar Substitutes
WHEY LOW continued...
Where to find it: At grocery stores, like Whole Foods Market, online
at wheylow.com, and in some baked goods at bakeries around the country.
How to use it: "Whey Low's flavor and texture are very similar to
sugar's and it's easy to use," says Yasmine Sandhu, the pastry chef at Rock
Creek, a restaurant in Washington, D.C., which uses Whey Low to keep calorie
counts down. "I've substituted it into all my recipes as if it were sugar.
The only product I've had trouble with is meringue--it browns a little quicker
and doesn't set quite as well."
Health Rx: "Whey Low's creator argues that the way the sugars
interfere with each other means that you get all of the sweet but many fewer
calories than sugar," says Thomas Castonguay, Ph.D., a professor of food
science at the University of Maryland in College Park. "We're testing that
process here in the lab, and the preliminary results look promising."
What it is: This naturally occurring sugar alcohol is found in foods
such as beets, berries, and corn. Xylitol tastes almost as sweet as sugar but
is only partially absorbed by the body, so it has only about nine calories per
teaspoon and a lower glycemic index.
Where to find it: Natural-food stores and online at
How to use it: Substitute it for sugar in small amounts in tea or
coffee. If you use it for baking, it's recommended that you substitute it for
only half of the sugar called for in a recipe.
Health Rx: Xylitol prevents bacteria from causing plaque to stick to
teeth, which is why it's often used in sugar-free gum and can help prevent
tooth decay. It can also cause stomachaches, gas, and diarrhea if you have too
much of it. "Sugar alcohols aren't digested well by the body," says
Bowden. "That's what keeps xylitol from raising blood sugar, but it's also
what can give you gas."
What it is: Several types of agave, the plant that's used to make
tequila, are blended to create this liquid sweetener.
Where to find it: At natural-food stores, in some grocery stores,
like Whole Foods Market, and in various baked goods.
How to use it: "It's great for teas and coffee, but it's a little
difficult to bake with," says Sandhu. "I use it at about a third of the
capacity of sugar--agave nectar is far sweeter than sugar or honey, so you have
to reduce the amount a recipe calls for. I look for recipes that use another
liquid sweetener, like honey, as the base. I also tend to lower my oven
temperature when I use it because agave nectar browns a bit more. It's probably
not the best option out there for beginner bakers."