Cleaner Substitutes for Refined White Sugar
This family loves their sweets! Although we have cut way back on eating sweets there are times when you just have to have a little something sweet! It is important to keep in mind that no matter what sweeteners you use they should be used in moderation…they all contain calories. Just because it is cleaner doesn’t mean you can eat an unlimited amount .
Trying to figure out the healthiest options for baking and cooking has been and still is an ongoing experiment for us. Artificial sweeteners have been banned from this house and we are working on cutting back on white sugar. There are possibilities out there, we have not tried them all. The following sweeteners are our favorites so far.
- Agave Syrup
- Coconut sugar
- Organic sugar from evaporated sugar cane juice
For substituting honey or syrups for sugar try using the following amounts and adjust to taste. I have found that I need a little less than the amounts suggested below. You will likely have to reduce the liquid in your recipe as well. My father was a chemist so experiments in the kitchen were a frequent occurrence and still are. Be ready for lots of experiments!
1/8 cup sugar = 1 Tbsp. honey/syrup
¼ cup sugar = 2 Tbsp. honey/syrup
½ cup sugar = ¼ cup honey/syrup
3/4 cup sugar = 3/8 cup honey/syrup
1 cup sugar = ½ cup honey/syrup
Coconut sugar and Organic sugar from evaporated cane juice are easy 1 to 1 substitutes (for 1 cup white sugar use 1 cup of coconut sugar/organic cane sugar)
Honey: Contains 21 calories a teaspoon compared with 16 of white sugar. It is sweeter than sugar so you don’t need as much. Honey does cause blood sugars to rise but a bit more slowly as your body takes a little longer to break it down than sugar. It does contain antioxidents. Note babies under the age of 1 should not eat honey! On the glycemic index honey is 50 and sugar is 65.
Agave contains 20 calories per tsp. We use it mainly in coffee and only need a tiny bit. Occasionally we use it in recipes that call for a small amount of sugar such as sauces. It is also lower (15) on the glycemic index than white sugar.
Coconut Sugar: calories are identical to white sugar but it is lower on the glycemic index (35) vs white sugar (65) It is a brown color and a bit coarser than white sugar but a little blender can help turn it into a finer sugar that dissolves a little better in baking recipes.
Organic sugar: When you have to have sugar that is as close to white sugar as possible this is what we use. It has a pale tan color (lighter than coconut sugar) because it contains some mollasses and to me is bit sweeter tasting than regular sugar. The crystal size is a little coarser. It has not been processedto the degree white sugar is processed. This sugar retains the trace nutrients (iron, calcium, vitamin B6, chromium, magnesium, selenium, and potassium) found in the cane juice. The calorie count is similar but the glycemic index is different with organic sugar being 47 and white sugar being 65. This is a pretty large significance.
I have not found a substitute I like for powdered sugar in frosting…. Still experimenting! However I may try making my own powdered sugar from organic sugar or maybe coconut sugar for a caramel taste…. Stay tuned, experiments in the kitchen continue!