SUGAR BLENDS

• 2021 BUYING GUIDE •

On my quest to discover all "sugar blends" across the country, I found 35 products.

They allow you to reduce, but not eliminate, the sugar in your recipe.

They bake & brown like sugars do, but with 25 to 75% fewer calories

Not sugar-free. Not calorie-free.

There is A LOT to see here.

Scroll down to explore it all or, if you are short on time, make your choice below: 

Click the Try it button of each sweetener to be linked to Amazon

where you can read reviews, labels, Q&As, and price.

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  • What exactly is a sugar blend for? We all know that cutting out sugar cold turkey isn’t easy, and not even recommended. The best way to reduce your sugar intake is by adjusting your palate to foods that are not super sweet. Choose where it might be easiest to modify. You can start cutting 10% of the sugar in your coffee, for example. Once you get accustomed, keep cutting back. You’ll find that you come to prefer less sweet coffee. That’s the ultimate goal: gradually eat less sugar by training your palate. With that said, some people want a sugar substitute to help them reduce—not eliminate—calories & sugar in their recipes, and that's when sugar blends come in handy.

  • What are sugar blends made of? In the examples above, their general formula is as follows: Sugar blend = refined sugar (from cane and/or beet) + high-intensity sweetener (stevia or sucralose) + low-digestible carbohydrates (erythritol or soluble fibers).

  • What's the benefit of a sugar blend? Choose a sugar blend when you want to REDUCE—not eliminate—refined sugar in your baking goods. The above sugar blends maintain (almost) the same role of refined sugar in baking and cooking, but with 25 to 75 percent fewer calories.

  • How sweet are sugar blends? Some sugar blends are as sweet as table sugar—also called cup for cup or 1:1 sugar replacement. Others are twice as sweet (2:1 sugar replacement) or 3x as sweet (3:1 sugar replacement).  

Sweetener Conversion Chart 1 to 1 Replacement
Conversion Chart 2 to 1 replacement
 
 
 
  • Are sugar blends always made up of refined sugar? No. The sugar blends listed above contain other sugars as main ingredient. Here's their general formula: Sugar Blend = sugar (raw sugar, coconut sugar, fructose or ribose) + high-intensity sweetener (stevia, monk fruit). It may or may not contain a low-digestible sweetener (inulin, erythritol).

 
 
  • Are sugar blends always in granulated form? No. They might be with liquid sugars—honey or maple syrup—as the examples above and below show. The general formula of the above sweeneteners is: Syrup Blends = honey or agave nectar + stevia. They are 2x sweeter than honey and agave nectar so we can use half as much. Syrup Blends maintain (almost) the same role of the syrup replaced with 25 to 50 percent fewer sugar and calories. Honey 2.0 is a blend of honey with a soluble fiber, without stevia; one serving (1 Tbsp) contains 8 g of fiber.

  • What are lite syrups made of? Light syrups are sugar blends in liquid form. Their general formula is as follows: Lite table syrup = corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup + high-intensity sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame-k).

  • What's the benefit of lite syrups? Lite syrups offer 50% fewer calories & sugar content (per serving) than their original version, typically providing 25 cal/tablespoon. They are 2x sweeter than their original version, and so, we should use half as much.  

  • What are some examples of lite syrups? I listed six options above. Karo Lite (40 cal/tbsp) offers 33% fewer calories & sugar content than the Original Karo (60 cal/tbsp).  Wholesome Lite Syrup and Aunt Jemima Original Lite do not contain high-intensity sweeteners but offer 50% less sugar than their original version. 

 

  • Any additional ingredients in these lite syrups? They may also contain: (1) preservatives to maintain freshness, (2) artificial and/or natural flavors to improve the taste, (3) thickening agents (cellulose gum or xantham gum) to make them more viscous. 

 
 

ABOUT MALTODEXTRIN BLENDS

  • The predominant ingredient in the sweeteners above is maltodextrin. Maltodextrin is blended with a high-intensity sweetener (sucralose, aspartame, stevia, or monk fruit) resulting in a product that is as sweet as table sugar. They offer 90% fewer calories than sugar.

  • They are labeled as zero-calorie but suggested by their manufacturer to be measured as a cup-for-cup substitute for table sugar. One cup of those sugar substitutes (about 100 cal) does offer significantly fewer calories than table sugar (about 750 cal/cup), but it is not "zero cal". 

 

  • By law, these sweeteners may be labeled "zero-calorie" because one serving (1 tsp), which is as sweet as 1 tsp of sugar, provides <5 cal. One tsp of these sweeteners provides around 2 cal (due to maltodextrin) and is rounded to zero in the Nutrition Facts label.

  • Maltodextrin-based sweeteners are included with "sugar blends" because even though maltodextrin is not a sugar, it is broken down into sugars (maltose & glucose) in our mouth, stomach, and small intestine, being absorbed as pure glucose. 

  • Maltodextrin blends give the best results when you do not replace all the sugar required in your recipes. Cakes will not rise and brown like their full-sugar counterparts. 

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