There are various sugar substitutes available for us lowcarbers and diabetics. For a comprehensive list I recommend this page on about.com.
The sugar substitute I like the most is Lakanto Golden Sweetener. I think it tastes very much like brown sugar, so it’s perfect for baking cookies or adding a touch of sweet taste to meals. Unfortunately, it’s not readily available in the local supermarket or it’s super expensive at a Japanese grocery store, Fujiya, here in Vancouver. So when I go back to Japan I buy lots of them. Instead of $10 / a pack in Vancouver, it’s 1/3 of the price.
When I run out of lakanto, I would go get Wholesome Sweeteners Zero, readily available from Whole Foods. In my previous hood of North Burnaby, surprisingly Buy-Low Food Store carried it on its shelf. It’s about $5 here, and sometimes they go on sale.
The main ingredients of both products are erythritol. I ran out of both products, and in my new neighbourhood North Vancouver, I haven’t been able to find either products. I went to Superstore and tried to look for a similar product. I was tempted to buy Splenda, but I had my doubt after reading Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution. Dr. Bernstein warned that powder sugar substitute like Splenda bulks its product up with ingredients that could raise blood sugar levels. I checked the label and confirmed his warning.
Inconspicuos next to Splenda, I found Truvia, which listed erythritol as a main ingredient, with some stevia. I was surprised I never noticed this product. It was $8 a jar, so I bought it and tried it out.
I had a taste of it from the jar, and it didn’t taste like sugar, unlike lakanto or Wholesome sweetener. I read the label again carefully and noticed it’s conversion info: 1 tsp of sugara = 3/8 tsp of Truvia. Lakanto and Wholesome Sweetener is both 1 – 1. So this is a bit different. I baked some peanut butter cookies with it, but didn’t put as much Truvia as I would with lakanto or Wholesome Sweetener.
The cookies baked fine and tasted ok too. For the natural taste I prefer lakanto but Truvia served its purpose of providing the sweetness. As for my blood sugar level, it went up from 4.6 -> 7.7 mol after I had 3 cookies and 2 tablespoon of peanut butter (I was hungry after coming back from work). So it didn’t affect my sugar level much more than I expected. My guess is that the peanut butter raised my blood glucose level, not truvia itself.
To conclude, it’s nice to have a sugar substitute that’s readily available at your local superstore, and the price is decent. I would most likely use Truvia as a sugar substitute, but for the taste I prefer Lakanto. I need to stock up on it the next time I go back to Japan!
Please comment on what other sugar substitutes you have tried. I am always looking for information. Thank you!