Syrups, Nectars, Drops

On my quest to discover all liquid sweeteners in stores across the United States,

I found hundreds of products and list them here.

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 them on Amazon

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

ZERO CALORIE

< 5 cal per serving

0 Net Carbs  .  0 GI  .  0 Sugar

 
 
 
 

REDUCED CALORIE

​Two groups:

(1) Syrup Blends

(2) Low-Digestible Sweeteners

 

SYRUP BLEND

50% fewer calories than the syrup it replaces.

Contain honey, agave nectar, or corn syrups.

Not calorie free. Not sugar free.

 
 

LOW-DIGESTIBLE SWEETENERS

25 to 90% fewer calories than table sugar.

​Often less sweet than table sugar.

Offer digestive benefits and issues.

Zero to low GI. Sugar Free.

 

LIQUID SUGARS

​Two groups:

(1) From Sugar Cane or Sugar Beet.

(2) From Plant Saps, Starch, and Fruits.

 

REFINED CANE SYRUP

Cane syrups and molasses contain mainly sucrose plus "invert sugar" (this term is used to refer to a one to one mixture of glucose and fructose that is formed when sucrose molecules break down). Light, dark, and blackstrap molasses are by-products of the cane sugar refining process and have sugar crystals removed from them. Cane molasses have a myriad of compounds that together contribute to their characteristic brown color and flavor, which are products of two browning reactions: caramelization and a complex series of chemical reactions collectively known as Maillard reaction. 

RAW CANE SYRUP

Organic cane molasses are a by-product of the production of organic raw sugars. They are the thick dark syrups formed when organic cane juice is boiled in sugar mills. Organic molasses have sugar crystals separated from them by a centrifuge and go through less processing than the molasses listed above. Learn more by reading two of my blog posts: What is Raw Sugar?. and What is Organic Sugar?.

UNREFINED CANE SYRUP

Unrefined cane syrups are produced close to cane fields by slow simmering the clarified cane juice in open kettles. Learn more here: What is Unrefined Sugar, Anyway?They are not a by-product of the cane sugar refining process. Unlike the molasses listed above, they don't have sugar crystals removed from them during the production process. They are much less processed too. They contain 25 to 30 percent sucrose and around 50 percent invert sugar (fructose plus glucose).

 

INVERT SYRUP

aka Golden Syrup

Invert Syrup is made by boiling table sugar—sucrose from sugar cane or sugar beet—with an acid or the enzyme invertase. The sucrose molecules break down into its components parts: glucose and fructose. Inversion is the technical term for the sucrose molecule splitting. Invert Sugar is the term used to refer to a mixture of equal parts (50:50) of glucose and fructose, which originated from sucrose. FYI, invert sugar is only encountered as a syrup. Invert Syrup is a blend of sucrose and invert sugar (glucose + fructose). If about 90 percent of the sucrose is inverted, the resulting syrup is called full invert. If about 50% of the sucrose splits, the syrup is called medium invert. The most common invert syrups contain 30 to 40% sucrose and 50% invert sugar (25% fructose + 25% glucose), being slightly sweeter than table sugar. An invert sugar with about 75% sugars (sucrose + fructose + glucose) is as sweet as table sugar.

 

SYRUPS FROM OTHER SOURCES

The sweeteners listed below are produced from plant saps (other than sugar cane and sugar beet sweeteners listed above), cereals, and fruits. The sources include agave, coconut and maple trees, sorghum, flower nectar, corn, barley, brown rice, dates, and fruit juices.

TABLE SYRUPS

aka pancake or waffle syrup

  • Table syrup is a blend of liquid sweeteners; the predominant ingredients are often corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

  • By law, table syrups may contain other ingredients (emulsifiers, stabilizers, color additives, salt, preservatives, flavorings).  

  • Their ingredient list often states "2% or less of" cellulose gum, salt, caramel color, natural and artificial flavor, molasses, sodium benzoate, sorbic acid, citric acid, sodium hexametaphosphate, mono- and diglycerides.

  • The brands of table syrup most used by Americans include Aunt Jemina, Mrs. Butterworth, Log Cabin, and Hungry Jack.

  • They contain 8 to 10g sugar and 50 to 60 calories per tablespoon (15mL).

  • Log Cabin Syrup is promoted to consumers for not being made with HFCS; it contains refined sugar or brown rice syrup instead.

  • Karo is predominantly corn syrup. Other ingredients: salt, vanilla, refiners (cane) syrup, caramel flavor, sodium benzoate.

 

 

CORN SYRUPS

Corn syrups are glucose syrups obtained from cornstarch. Their main components are glucose and maltose (glucose linked with glucose) along with small amounts of other sugars. They are less sweet than table sugar. Glucose syrups are produced by breaking down starch. Starch—a complex carbohydrate consisting entirely of glucose molecules joined together—is split into glucose in a process called "hydrolysis." Corn is the most economical and abundant source of starch in America. 

 

 

HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUPS (HFCS)

The most common HFCSs contain almost equal amounts of fructose and glucose. They are approximately as sweet as table sugar.

HFCSs are produced by, first, breaking down starch into glucose in a process called "hydrolysis." Part of the glucose molecules is then converted into fructose by enzymes in a process called "isomerization."

LIQUIDS & SYRUPS

  • What's the difference between syrup and nectar? Syrups are viscous ("thick") liquids that may be "zero-calorie" or not. Nectars are sweet liquids produced by plants and turn into syrups when concentrated. Honey is flower nectar collected and concentrated by bees into a syrup.

  • What is liquid sugar? Liquid sugars are caloric sweeteners with 20 to 35 percent water; ex: agave nectar, honey, maple syrup, coconut syrup, pancake syrup, date nectar, barley malt syrup, tapioca syrup, cane syrup, simple syrup, molasses. 

  • What is a liquid zero-calorie sweetener? They are blends of high-intensity sweeteners—stevia, monk fruit, sucralose, or saccharin—and water. Zero-calorie syrups contain gums, which make them viscous. Preservatives are often added to maintain their freshness. 

  • What is a liquid reduced-calorie sweetener? Liquid sweeteners that provide 25 to 90 percent fewer calories than sugars are called "reduced-calorie." Two types of reduced-calorie sweeteners are available in stores: (1) Sugar blends and (2) Low-Digestible sweeteners. Sugar blends have a syrup as the main ingredient (honey, agave, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup) blended with a high-intensity sweetener (stevia, sucralose, aspartame, or acesulfame K). "Lite" pancake syrups have less sugar (one-third fewer calories) than their original version. Low-digestible sweeteners have soluble fibers (yacon syrup or isomaltooligosaccharides), rare sugars (allulose), or polyols (sorbitol). 

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