Low-calorie brown sugar substitutes

Written by diane crispell
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Low-calorie brown sugar substitutes
An example of some of the low-calorie sweeteners on the market today. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Five active ingredients in low-calorie sweeteners include stevia, isomalt, saccharin, maltitol and sucralose. Calorie-free, super-sweet Stevioside is a natural sugar extracted from mashed leaves of the stevia bush. Isomalt, a sugar alcohol, maintains blood sugar because it is an undigested fibre that gets excreted. Benzoic sulfilimine, saccharin's active ingredient, has no nutrition and is much sweeter than table sugar, but has an unpleasant, metallic aftertaste. Maltitol, a sugar alcohol, is a carbohydrate that affects blood sugar 75 per cent as much as table sugar, but is only 90 per cent as sweet. Sucralose, 600 times sweeter than table sugar, is a calorie-free, undigested fibre that is eventually excreted.

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Stevia Extract in the Raw

Stevia is newly marketed as Stevia Extract in the Raw. It is purported to taste better because of its high purity level without any piggyback sweeteners like erythritol. In its raw form, it has no calories and no liquorice aftertaste. To make stevia into brown sugar, simply add a 15-calorie teaspoon of molasses to each teaspoon equivalent of stevia. Another alternative is to add a teaspoon of sugar-free maple syrup, which won't raise insulin levels at all. A teaspoon of Stevia Extract in the Raw contains only .5g of carbohydrate and has no nutritional value or calories.

DiabeticSweet Brown Sugar Substitute

DiabeticSweet Brown Sugar Substitute is a marketed sugar substitute that contains isomalt. It has all the external features of brown sugar with the same taste, appearance and texture and has no aftertaste. When ingested, the body's blood glucose and insulin remains the same. DiabeticSweet Brown Sugar Substitute has about 4g of carbohydrates per teaspoon with no nutritional value or calories. Its ingredients contain acesulfame-K that stimulates insulin and can aggravate low blood sugar attacks. As of early 2011, more research is needed to see whether acesulfame-K contains a lethal amount of carcinogens to take it off the American market.

Sugar Twin Granulated Brown

The saccharin sweetener, SugarTwin Granulated Brown, contains maltodextrin, sodium, saccharin and calcium chloride. Maltodextrin is a naturally sweet powder extracted from rice, corn or potato starch that is easily digested. It has 2 calories per g, and contains minuscule fibre, fat and protein. Saccharin is the world's oldest artificial sweetener. Johns Hopkins University scientists discovered saccharin in 1879, and today the FDA considers it safe for humans. Toxicologist Bernard Oser states, "No [food] chemical additive has been tested [as much] as saccharin." Saccharin is 300 to 700 times sweeter than table sugar and travels throughout the body in its original form.

Brown Sugar Maltitol

The sugar-free maltitol crystals are marketed as Brown Sugar Maltitol. It only has 2.1 calories per g, compared to table sugar's 4 calories per g, and is a bulk sweetener with a clean sweet taste resembling table sugar. It does not raise blood glucose or insulin levels because the human body slowly breaks it down and absorbs it. The slow absorption is important because some of the ingested maltitol travels to the large intestine where it metabolises and yields fewer calories. Maltitol is a stable compound and maintains a uniform taste when combined with other low-calorie sweeteners.

Splenda Brown Sugar Blend

Splenda Brown Sugar Blend is sucralose mixed with molasses. It has 10 calories per teaspoon, 2g of carbohydrate and no nutritional value. It is attractive to consumers because it only has half the calories of table sugar. It is a blend of both natural and laboratory-produced sweeteners because it uses multiple sugars like table sugar, molasses and sucralose to produce Splenda Brown, a brown sugar spin-off. The active ingredient sucralose is extracted from natural sugar by substituting three chlorine atoms for three hydrogen-oxygen atoms which changes the sweetness of the natural sugar molecule.

Whey Low Gold

Whey Low Gold is a blend of three natural sugars chosen for their low glycemic index numbers and calories. All three work together in the small intestine to hamper normal absorption of these sugars into the human blood. Fructose gets in the way of lactose, and lactose disturbs the normal absorption of sucrose. The absorption of fructose has no known sugar interference. When other sugars meddle with absorption, it changes how a body normally handles carbohydrates, blood glucose and calories. One teaspoon of Whey Low Gold only has 4 calories with no nutritional value.

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