How to Substitute Sugar

2011 December 9

How to Substitute Sugar

  So its the holidays.  And you’ve been trying SO hard to stay healthy, and you know that baking is around, and you’re starting to sweat a little.  How to survive the next few weeks without falling totally off the wagon?  I wish I could say I was blessed with nerves of steel but I’m not.  I know loading up on protein and fat helps curb sugar cravings. But for heavens sakes- put those brownies in front of me and I am a mess! What to do?

This is what you do.  You compromise.  I’ve got a little list below to help you out-  something a little sweet that will replace white sugar in your baking so that in small portions, you still get a festive treat.  Hopefully you’ll be encouraged to give these a shot to help through the holiday season….

 Ok, so, substituting sugars.  If you are sugar sensitive, diabetic, dealing with candida, or want to make your treats a little healthier, using a sugar substitute will often reduce the glycemic index of a food and make it more suitable to your diet.

You’ll note below that I don’t even touch sugar alcohols like Splenda, Nutrisweet, etc… or High Fructose Corn Syrup. Why? Because they aren’t real food.  They make my gut go bonkers.  And frankly, I think they’re gross. :)  If you want to learn more about the nature of sugar and how it affects your body’s health and digestion, and how your body actually digests sugars differently- check out this phenomenal video- Sugar: The Bitter Truth.  Keep in mind, that just because the ingredients below aren’t refined sugar, it doesn’t mean to use as much as you want :)  they are still sweet, they are still sugars, but they are less refined and a bit healthier.  Use sparingly for safer baking.

A little about finding these products

Certain sugar substitutes are more sweet than refined white sugar (like honey) and have a similar caloric value.  Others are more sweet than sugar (stevia) but have almost no caloric value at all.  Overall, unless you are using fruit purees,  you’ll find most sugar substitutes are more expensive than sugar.  The craziest ones are definetly Yacon syrup ( 18.00 for 4 oz!), Agave inulin powder (20 freaking dollars for 1 1/2 cups worth) and Coconut sap (10.00 for 2 cups worth).  The others are varying in their prices.  Most you can find at your local health food store (in Ottawa, Rainbow Foods seems to carry all of them, Natural Food Pantry is also pretty good).

How to Substitute Sugar


NOTE:  This is part of the Substitution Series:  Part 1 is Understanding Gluten Free Flours, Part 2 is How to Substitute Eggs, Part 3 is How to Substitute Sugar, Part 4 is  How to Substitute Fats/ Oils, Part 5 is How to Substitute Dairy and Part 6 is Substituting the Top 10 Allergens in Baking.


 And thats it folks!  If you have any info you’d like to add, please feel free to go ahead :)  Stay tuned for How to Substitute Dairy in your baking, next.


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10 Responses
  1. February 12, 2012

    Hi Lisa- yes, coconut sugar can substitute sucanat… happy baking :)

  2. Lisa permalink
    February 12, 2012

    Any ideas to substitute for sucanat? Can I use a similar amount of coconut sugar?

  3. December 10, 2011

    Hi Morri- so glad you found this helpful! Sometimes all it takes is one little idea and will totally change the recipe. If you find your cookies iwth stevia a bit dry, try boosting the fat content with a healthy fat like clarified butter/ ghee or virgin coconut oil. Since sugar is a natural binder, if htey turned out a bit crumbly, add 2-3 tsp ground flax or chia seed to soak in your wet ingredients before mixing together- it should help everything stick together nicely! :)

  4. December 10, 2011

    Thank you for this. I recently made cookies with stevia for the first time (using stevia for the first time… period), and although it turned out delicious, it was still a tad dry. I’m definitely going to try out your recommendations throughout this cookie/bar season.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Substituting the Top 10 Allergens in your Kitchen | My Real Food Life
  2. Dairy Free Vegan Chocolate Ricotta | My Real Food Life
  3. Part 1- Understanding Gluten Free Flours | My Real Food Life
  4. Part 5- How to Substitute Fats and Oils | My Real Food Life
  5. Part 2- How to substitute eggs and binding agents | My Real Food Life
  6. Part 4- How to substitute Dairy in baking | My Real Food Life

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