Sugar Substitutes in Diabetic CookingIf you have diabetes or prepare meals for someone who does, you will need to
switch to sugar free cooking.
Thanks to all the sugar substitutes on the market today it really isn't all that difficult. Plus you will find many diabetic recipes that were created specifically for particular artificial sweeteners so you don't have to worry about doing the conversions yourself.
The main drawback to cooking without sugar is that sugar is often needed in recipes to perform other functions besides sweetening. Sugar also affects the chemistry of what you are cooking and adds volume and moisture. Diabetic recipes have already accounted for this, but if you are trying to convert the recipes yourself, remember to take the above into consideration.
If you want to simply avoid white sugar then you can substitute brown sugar which reportedly is somewhat healthier since its vitamins and minerals are removed when it is polished into white sugar. However as a diabetic, you are probably aiming to avoid sugar all together. If that is your goal, consider these sweeteners -
Splenda - Splenda is extremely popular with diabetics because it closely resembles sugar when cooking. It can be used for baking, sweetening beverages, making sauces and just about anything else you would normally use sugar for. Splenda is made from sucralose which is a form of sugar but the body doesn't recognize it as a carbohydrate so it doesn't have an effect upon blood sugar to the same degree as regular white sugar does.
Saccharin - Saccharin was originally isolated from grapes and is reported to be over 100 times sweeter than sugar so a tiny amount goes a very long way. Its use is limited however. It does not add the other chemical actions like regular sugar does so it cannot be used in baking. It also has a strong aftertaste so it is difficult to use as a sweetener for drinks.
Aspartame - Aspartame is another artificial sweetener which is super sweet, again it is claimed to be 100 times sweeter than sugar. It too is not suitable for baking because when it is heated it loses its sweetness. Aspartame is popular as a sweetener for beverages.
Honey - Honey is a sugar substitute but not an artificial one. It can however be used as a substitute in certain kinds of cooking and can be used to sweeten beverages if one can become accustomed to the taste which differs greatly from sugar. Honey does have more calories and carbohydrates than sugar however so be aware of that fact if you use it as a sugar substitute.
With a little creativity you can create recipes that are unique and tasty without having to rely on sugar. You can use the artificial sweeteners mentioned above or rely on natural ingredients such as applesauce or honey for sugar substitutes.