Avoiding regular sugar can improve your health, reduce risk of various diseases, and maintain your weight. But this does not mean at all that all baked goods and drinks will be tasteless, and it will not be possible to raise the level of endorphin in the blood and cope with stress with the help of tasty food. Sweets don’t have to contain sugar necessarily. For this, there are natural baking sweeteners.
What is a sweetener in cooking?
This substance is a substitute for the usual sugar. It is usually added to the dough when preparing various confectionery and bakery products for flavoring. You can also drink tea or coffee with it.
The sweeteners do not contain glucose, and such an additive has a different effect on the human body. These ingredients can also be used as sugar substitutes for diabetics or those sticking to healthy eating habits. In addition, products that are used as sugar substitutes are believed to be low in calories and does not increase blood sugar. But everything depends on what type of product is used. Here such sweeteners as stevia and erythritol come to the rescue.
Types of sugar substitutes in the bakery
All sugar substitutes that are used in cooking, by their nature of origin, are divided into two types:
- Natural (erythritol, stevia, xylitol). They are obtained from natural ingredients. Their caloric content is usually zero or very low, which allows maintaining a normal level of insulin in the blood and does not contribute to the development of pathological processes. These supplements are beneficial to the body.
- Artificial (aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin). They are obtained synthetically. They do not affect carbohydrate metabolism since having zero energy value. Also, they are not absorbed and are excreted from the body in the form of the original compounds.
Artificial sweeteners may have contraindications. Natural ones are completely safe for the body, except for separate cases of individual intolerance. A large number of studies on the “benefits and harms of stevia” confirm the complete safety of this sweetener.
What are the most common sugar substitutes that are used in baking?
There are powdered, tabletted, or liquid sweeteners. Which of the options is the most acceptable, has good taste, has no side effects? There are several varieties of natural sweeteners that can be used in cooking. Here they are:
- Stevia. There are powder, tablet, or liquid forms. It is one of the healthiest and sweetest supplement options available. The sweetener is popular with professional pastry chefs and home cooks.
- Maltitol. It is polyhydric alcohol made from starch. It has 60% calories compared to regular sugar, but has the same sweet taste. The substitute has practically no effect on carbohydrate metabolism and changes in insulin levels.
- Jerusalem artichoke syrup. The sweetener has a delicate texture and a pleasant taste. The taste does not change during heating. It can normalize insulin balance, eliminate nitrates and heavy metals, and have high-calorie content.
- Natural honey. It has a tonic effect, saturates the body with vitamins and antioxidants. But its use is possible only in its raw form; therefore, it is absolutely impossible to add it to the dough and heat it.
- Agave syrup. It is a concentrated substance that contains fructose, glucose, and inulin. This sugar substitute is perfectly soluble and sweet and also quite economical. During heat treatment, it does not lose its properties during heat treatment but has a high-calorie content.
These additives have both positive and negative qualities. The indisputable advantages include the following properties:
- they give energy, increase immunity;
- there is no negative effect on the teeth;
- they contribute to the normalization of blood pressure.
The disadvantage of some products, such as aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, is that they can cause malfunctions in the gastrointestinal tract when the permissible dosage is exceeded. With moderate use, there is no negative effect on the body.
Which sweetener to choose for baking?
It all depends on the final effect you want to achieve when preparing confectionery delights. If you choose bulk sweeteners for baking, they must be sieved with flour. The sweetener tablets are dissolved in warm water or milk, and flour is gradually mixed in there, and the syrups are separately added to the liquid components and then mixed with the dry ones.
When choosing, you should be guided not only by the appetizing appearance or fluffy texture but also take into account the benefits of using a sweetener. At Green Leaf, we provide a wide range of healthy alternatives to classic sugar with zero calories, conveniently dispensed, non-bitter, and great for baking. Our products include sweeteners with different ratios of sweetness and different flavors. Erythritol, sweet stevia and cinnamon, and vanilla sweeteners can be ordered directly on our website. We deliver throughout Ukraine and send “sweet” parcels every day.
Buying Stevia or Erythritol from Green Leaf means making a big contribution to your health. All our products are natural, safe, and extremely tasty.