Sugar alternatives

have a question about 2 sugar alternatives that i have come across. I recently bought some candy that said sugar free, when i got home i actually took time to read the ingredients and it indicated that it had sugar alcohols aka zylitol and such. So i was wondering if any1 had any info on these sugar alcohols.

Secondly I was at walmart and noticed they carried something called “sun crystals” which I actually read the ingredients. It said that it was a mixture of stevia and sugar. I was again wondering if anyone has any experience with this alternative

Many people have trouble with sugar alcohols. They can cause gastric problems (diarrhea, bloating) for some people & there’s often a warning about this on the label. Others, not all, can get the same spikes from sugar alcohols as they do from sugar. Sugar alcohols are hydrogenated carbohydrates.

Stevia is made from the leaves of a plant. It has zero carbs, zero calories. Some people find it has a bitter after taste. Compared to artificial sweeteners, I like stevia better. It’s incredibly sweet, so only a tiny bit is needed.


Where do you find stevia?? I have looked at a few stores, and they don’t carry it.

Hey Robyn,

My Kroger supermarket carries it both in the health food section & with the baking products. It’s expensive, but you use so little. Check labels because some stevia has bulking agents (carbs) to make it the equivalent of other sweeteners. Health food stores carry stevia, or you can order it on-line. Comes in liquid & powdered form. I bought some little bottles of flavored liquid stevia–lemon, orange & chocolate to add to club soda. They were ok, but not great. Flavor is kind of subtle.

Thanks, I will go to the Health Food section and look. Thx for your help.

Try Purevia,

It’s made from the Stevia plant but has a better consistency and is very similar to sugar in texture. Very good to cook with.

This brand of stevia has Erythritol, a sugar alcohol that many don’t react well to. Half of each packet is erythritol, hence the sugar texture.

Purevia also has 2 carbs per serving. Other stevia powders & liquids have zero carbs & no sugars.

Funny, I’ve found erythritol to be the sugar alcohol my system handles best. It allegedly has a glycemic index of 0. Works very well in baking, and has the crystalline structure absent in stevia or Splenda/sucralose. Only problem is that it’s expensive as all get-out.

Isomalt also works, but can have a severe gastrointestinal effect. I believe it to have a glycemic index in the range of 2

Splenda can work as a sweetener, but wouldn’t work right for any sort of baking where you’re depending on the crystals for structure (e.g. chocolate chip cookies.) GI of 0.

Stevia, I find, has a strange flavor. Zero glycemic index. It’s a powder, so it won’t work right in baking.

Maltitol and maltitol syrup are another common sugar alcohol. Their glycemic indices are 50-70 (syrup being higher than plain), but you need more of it than you do of sugar, so you’re getting the same load. Between that and the rip-roaring GI issues, if you have a choice between maltitol and sugar, as in sugar-free chocolate, go for the good stuff.

Xylitol, I believe, is also very low glycemic index. I’ve never used it for any baking myself.

Finally, agave syrup is pretty good as a honey alternative, and has a glycemic index in the 30s. However, I know that some people on here have complained of spectacular spikes from it.

Generally, sugar alcohols are lower GI than sugar, but you might need more of them, and, with the exception of erythritol, can give you gastrointestinal issues.

I have to remember, at some point, to post my low-carb (except for the chocolate chips) chocolate chip cookie recipe. Those were some pretty good cookies . . . .

Stevia works ok in baking, depending what you’re making. It won’t carmelize or give the texture of sugar.

Stevia comes in liquid form & I’ve found the liquid better for baking. I’ve also used flavored liquid stevia, but the taste isn’t strong enough.

Does have an aftertaste & is super sweet!

Sugar alcohols cause spikes for me, but not for everyone. I might as well eat sugar for the effect it has on my BG.

I don’t like using Equal or Splenda because of the potential health side effects they both pose (some even say that Gulf War Syndrome is the result of diet sodas which used Equal
being subjected to the hot temps of the desert???). I would rather use sugar because I know what it does and can take that into consideration. I don’t know the addresses of the websites but you can Google them and find scientific papers on the hazards of both. I use Stevia (you can get it in powder or liquid form). You can now buy Stevia in the grocery store under the names Sweet Leaf (I think that is the right name) and Truvia. In fact they have started advertising Truvia on TV. It is found in the same section as Equal and Splenda.

Trader Joe’s has it.

I also heard that stevia is a good alternative to sugar but I actually never tried it. I will definitely check out my local health food stores. Sorry if it is a silly question but is it actually better for diabetes diagnosed people to use stevia instead of sugar? Would really appreciate useful information. I think my grandma should definitely ask her physician.

Dov…PLEASE post the recipe!

Supermarkets may also have stevia. Mine does in the baking aisle with the other sweeteners & in their small health food section. Read the labels because some brands have bulking agents & other ingredients added. You want the kind that has zero sugars, zero carbs, zero calories.

Stevia, or an artificial sweetner, won’t send your grandmother’s BG high like sugar. Some people don’t like the after taste of stevia. It’s intensely sweet & only a tiny bit is needed.

Your wish is my command:

I personally use stevia myself and prefer it over other artificial sweetners because of what I have read in many places about the possible health problems linked to nutra sweet etc. as well as extreme caution from 2 physicians in using artificial sweetners because of the potential problems they can cause. I purchased stevia from health food stores previously but now get it from the grocery store as they started carrying it recently. I also have a small container of stevia pills purchased from a health food store that I keep in my purse to use when I go out if I want to sweeten up a drink and don’t want to use normal artificial sweetners offered at restaurants. I like the taste myself but not everyone does.

Thanks, Dov. I will try these as soon as I gather the ingredients.

Purevia has worked for me and I have had no problems with my blood sugars as a result.

by the way, I also use Stevia and as you mentioned, Purevia is just another form of Stevia.

Take a look at this website for more info on sugar alternatives: