MTPR

'The Food Guys' Recommend A Sugar Substitute

Feb 24, 2017

The Food Guys discus the sugar alcohol, erythritol, which is virtually calorie-free and doesn't cause as large a blood sugar spike as sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup.

"Erythritol has about 80% of the sweetness of sugar, so you can use it in a 1:1 ratio. If you have to caramelize, you shouldn't use sugar alcohols, but otherwise, erythritol has about the same size of grain and qualities as sugar. There's a drying tendency, compared to sugar, when you bake with it, so while cookies will come out crisp, a cake made with erythritol will dry out over time. But it's exceptional in that it is not processed in the gut, which means it lacks some of the diuretic side effects of other sugar alcohols."

Chemical structure of erythritol
Credit Edgar 181

Jon and Greg bemoan, once again, the prevalence of sugar and sweeteners in the average American diet, especially in processed foods. Greg points out: "There's no RDA for sugar* and the sugar industry is probably responsible for that; they want people to consume lots of sugar. They're also reluctant to use a measurement on nutrition labels that people readily understand. Instead of teaspoons, they use grams."  (Four grams of sugar is equivalent to about one teaspoon and contain sixteen calories.)

Says Jon: "The biggest single problem, as far as I'm concerned, is that people don't realize how much sugar they consume just eating their normal amounts of things."

*In 2014, the World Health Organization, or WHO, recommends that no more than 5% of daily calories come from sugar and other added sweeteners. Yet, according to a 2014 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, 71.4% of Americans eat more than 10% of their daily calories as sugar.

(Broadcast: "The Food Guys," 2/19/17 & 2/23/17 and 3/15/15. Listen weekly on the radio at 11:50 a.m. Sundays and again at 4:54 p.m. Thursdays, or via podcast.)