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SUGAR BLENDS
• 2024 BUYING GUIDE •

On my quest to discover all "sugar blends" across the country, I found 35 products. They allow you to reduce (not eliminate) sugar and calories in your recipe but still have the benefits of having some "real" sugar in it. They bake and brown as sugars do but with 50 to 75% fewer calories. 

Not sugar-free. Not calorie-free

1Refined Sugar Bend
2 Refined Sugar Blend
  • 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 products above, their general formula is as follows: Sugar blend = refined sugar + high-intensity sweetener (stevia, monk fruit, or sucralose). Are sugar blends always made up of refined sugar? No, they might have coconut sugar, date sugar, honey, fructose, or corn syrups as the main ingredient like I showcase on these page's infographics.

  • What's the benefit of a sugar blend? Choose a sugar blend when you want to REDUCE—not eliminate—added sugar in your baking goods. They help you lower your overall sugar intake and at the same time, provide sugar-like taste and texture to your recipes. The above sugar blends maintain (almost) the same role of refined sugar in baking and cooking, but with 50 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).

Sweetener Conversion Chart 1 to 1 Replacement
Conversion Chart 2 to 1 replacement
1Raw sugar blend
2 Raw Sugar
1Syrup
2 Syrup
  • 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, which is blended with a high-intensity sweetener (sucralose, aspartame, stevia, or monk fruit) to result in a product that is as sweet as table sugar. They offer 90% fewer calories than sugar. Maltodextrin-based sweeteners are included with "sugar blends" because even though maltodextrin is not a sugar, it's broken down into sugars (maltose & glucose) in our bodies, being absorbed as pure glucose. 

  • Maltodextrin blends are labeled as zero-calorie but suggested by their manufacturers to be measured as a cup-for-cup substitute for table sugar. One cup of those sugar substitutes (about 100 cal and 24g sugar) does offer significantly fewer calories and added sugar than table sugar (about 750 cal and 200g sugar), but it is not "zero". 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 on the Nutrition Facts label.

  • ​Tips to useMaltodextrin 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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