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When baking and cooking low carb goodies we have to find replacements for all the flour and sugar used in normal baking. Good results can be had with the right replacements and here I will list the most common ingredients I use in my recipes.
First allow me to address sugar substitutes. For sugar free baking I use and recommend Stevia and Erythritol. Splenda is good tasting, but we don’t know if there are health issues with it. A stevia/erythritol blend called Truvia is easy to find, I buy it from Ocado and Waitrose here in the UK. It DOES have a bitter aftertaste though; I often stick vanilla pods into the pot I use for baking and cut it with pure erythritol. (But do not use Truvia baking blend which contains sugar). I steer clear of aspartame and saccharin based sweeteners for being too ‘chemical’. I also steer clear of maltitol when buying sugar free products. It has a laxative effect and can cause tummy distress.
In the U.S.A. the best cooking brand to look for is Swerve. In Australia it is Natvia, but now Natvia is also available in the UK. These are erythritol/stevia blends. http://www.natvia.co.uk
Most of my sweeteners I order from Ocado, Amazon or Avidlite: http://www.avidlite.co.uk/. There are many different brands and I’m not trying to promote one particular brand, this is what I happen to use. Sukrin and Natvia are good companies – they both produce granular erythritol blends for baking, powdered erythritol (like icing sugar), and Sukrin has Sukrin Gold which is like brown sugar. These are sugar alcohols and have no calories or carbs but behave like sugar. They are slightly less sweet than table sugar.
Stevia is sweeter than sugar so a blend works well. I use liquid Stevia, also from Amazon to boost sweetness (you only need a few drops, and the liquid doesn’t seem to have the bitterness of the granular) and I use Sukrin or Natvia (erythritol) to add bulk sweetness. Erythritol will even melt like sugar! Erythritol’s molecules are a different size to other sugar alcohols and very rarely cause any gastric upset. I have a very sensitive digestion but have no problems with it.
One thing about erythritol – it has a cooling effect in the mouth. It is less pronounced if combined with Stevia and used in baking but some people don’t like the sensation. It is brilliant in peppermint candies though!
I do not use Agave which is very high in fructose, or Xylitol which does have some carbs and also can cause me some tummy problems but many people are fine with it. XYLITOL IS TOXIC TO DOGS! Coconut sugar is becoming popular with the Paleo crowd and tastes delicious but again it has carbs and can spike your blood sugar. If you are not trying to lose weight you can experiment with these if you wish. Some diabetics can have these in moderation, others cannot. Again it is down to your personal situation, your goals and your body.
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