Sugar, along with salt and oil (fat), are the well known secret sauce for delicious food. It was human nature and food industry has been using them to get millions of customers hooked with their product. People have been seeking for healthier substitute for decades.
You can see so many choices of non-sugar sweetener in the market from various companies: Splenda, Equal, Sweet’N Low, Ideal. And many major marketing effort for low calorie beverages. NY Times has an interesting article on the current development in the segment. In the nutshell, here are the several main alternatives for sugar.
- Sucralose: An chlorinated sugar made from sugar
- Pro: 600x sweeter than sugar. Non-caloric (because majority of the ingested sucralose is not broken down by the body). Heat stable, can be used in bakery and fried food
- Con: Potential environment issue. Some bitterness.
- Products: Splenda
- Stevia: Very popular zero-calorie sweetener from leaf of a South America shrub (Stevia rebaudiana).
- Pro: 150x sweeter than sugar. Zero-calorie. Help lower blood sugar level (for diabetes).
- Con: Some bitterness after tasting
- Products: Truvia, Coca-Cola, Pepsi
- Mogrosides: Extracted from a fruit from southern China, Monk fruit (or Luo Han Guo). The fruit was widely serve as medicine for soar throat for a long time.
- Pro: 300x sweeter than sugar. Natural extraction from fruit. Health benefit as Monk Fruit.
- Con: Now aware
- Products: Nectresse, Norbu, Nestlé’s Milo in Asia and certain Kellogg cereal
- Sugar Alcohol: Such as Xylitol, Erythritol
- Pro: Come from natural fruit and plants. Does not cause tooth decay.
- Con: Not as sweet as sugar.
- Products: Xylosweet
Looks like these could all be perfect substitute for sugar. As for cakes, Consumer Report had an old review showing that the non-sugar substitute could not provide matching flavor and texture and sugar based.
But I guess the manufactures are also trying to improve their product and you would need to try for yourself to see it it work great.
Let us know what you think about it.