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  • Best sugar replacement?

    Its getting to be that time of year and I'm eyeing all the primal/low-carb goodie recipes and trying to figure out what would be the best to try. I've got lots of almond meal to replace flour, but I'm having trouble with sugar. Some say to use honey, others agave, some palm sugar, xylitol...the list goes on.

    So, all you primal bakers, whats the healthiest sugar replacement? Or does it depend on the recipe? And can you list the sugar replacements in order of healthiest to least? (such as, I dunno, honey being the most primal/healthiest, followed by xyz, etc)



    And I'm sorry if this has already been covered. I tried doing a search but didn't find much.
    See what I'm up to: The Primal Gardener

  • #2
    I've tried honey, agave, palm, stevia and coconut. The only one that I could eat and not have the sugar craves afterwards was coconut. I could eat one serving of dessert, stop and not crave 2nds. Can't say that about the others.
    http://kitoikitchen.blogspot.com/

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    • #3
      I think choice of sweetener is a bit more complicated than a hierarchal least of "most primal" to "least primal" can demonstrate.

      Are you looking for most natural? Something local? Tastes good? Versatile? Lowest insulin response? Fewest carbs? Can you handle sugar alcohols? etc. You have to figure out what matters to YOU and go from there.

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      • #4
        I try to avoid the problem by simply adding fruit to the recipe. If I absolutely can't do it, once in a blue moon I'll use unpasteurized honey, local honey. Don't buy into honey unless it expressly states that it is unpasteurized, since the process denatures just about everything good that honey. Organic, local, natural, pure, etc. are all less important, and often used in misleading ways.

        That said, I'll caution against baking with nut flours. Almond flour is incredibly calorie dense, with plenty of carbs, PUFAs, and a bad omega-6 ratio. Since you are applying high heat to this product for a decent length of time, it is very likely that many of these PUFAs are going to go rancid on you.

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        • #5
          hmmmmm I hadn't though of that Scotchncoffee. Is there a better "flour" to use?

          Jqbancroft-My family has no problems with sugar alcohols so we're really just trying to stay primal, have good tasting food, and still have (on the rare occasion) the seasonal dishes we used to have. Right now I'm only looking at recipes, not even sure if its possible, seems like the sweetener is the hardest part to replace (or there are just so many options its hard to determine which is the best).
          See what I'm up to: The Primal Gardener

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          • #6
            Coconut flour is pretty good. I have seen a couple of tuber starches that might work, and arrowroot is a possibility, but I haven't actually used them. I don't bake often at all.

            Another sweetener to look into is stevia. The problem with most stevia (eg. Truvia) is that it isn't just stevia. Also avoid agave nectar: it is basically HFCS with the C standing for cactus. Actually, that same site has a good overview of sweeteners here.

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            • #7
              I'd recommend using coconut sugar then. It tastes "normal" but doesn't have the same insulin response and can be substitute 1:1 to sugar in any other recipe.

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              • #8
                I use honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar. The only "artificial sweetener" I can handle is xylitol and I never bake with it.

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                • #9
                  I use palm sugar (coconut sugar) or coconut nectar. Or I use liquid stevia. Or sometimes...depending on the recipe....both a half and half kind of thing.

                  The Real sustenance, Simply Sugar Free Gluten Free, and a ton of others....(just google) have recipes that are gluten free and sugar free. Elana's Pantry is a good one too (she uses almond flour and some see that as a no no...I see it as a rare treat). The spunky coconut is another. You might also try anticandida recipes (diet and dogs might be the name)....I know I found one for macaroons that were sugar free and gluten free and freakin' delicious.

                  Good Luck.

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                  • #10
                    Does anybody use unsulphured molasses? The only holiday dessert I used to like was gingerbread because of the ginger and heavy molasses flavor. But I don't know if it goes well in any other dessert other than gingerbread xD
                    My chocolatey Primal journey

                    Unusual food recipes (plus chocolate) blog

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                    • #11
                      The only sugar substitute I can tolerate aside from honey is xylitol. I've baked with it and it works great as a 1:1 sugar substitute. However, you must add a little extra moisture (water or the oil of your choice). If you are consuming fruit and want a baked treat on occasion, try a fruit crumble replacing the sugar with xylitol and the flour with almond flour. To top it off, make homemade whip cream with a bit of xylitol and vanilla...YUM!

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                      • #12
                        I experimented with using figs (ground up in a food processor) for a zucchini bread recipe. It added texture, but that was okay for zucchini bread since there's raisins and vegetable bits in it anyway. I like using xylitol for making chocolate candies for my kids. It doesn't mix as good as sugar, though, but the kids haven't complained. Hubby likes xylitol in his tea (with the hot water, it mixes just fine). It tastes just like regular sugar to him (he's not primal). I guess some people do experience digestive problems with xylitol, so test a little out first if you try it. My kids, husband and I haven't had any gut problems.
                        I'm retraining and strengthening my taste buds, one primal meal at a time.

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                        • #13
                          It may not be particularly Primal, but dextrose is pretty great. It doesn't have the fructose problems that honey and agave nectar do, doesn't make me feel bad (in small doses), and is perfect for recovering after tough workouts. I keep some around to have after a tough weight-lifting session or to sweeten the rare homemade hot cocoa.

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                          • #14
                            I use date purée most often. I have a post about it on my blog here:

                            Date purée for baking

                            I also use local [raw] honey in baking. I have used coconut palm sugar in the past, but it's been a while. I like the flavor, though. If you sub honey or date purée (or another liquid-ish sweetener) in recipes, make sure you decrease the total volume. I get around this by baking by weight, as I get far more consistent results. (Simply sub 1:1 by weight.)
                            My blog (primal after 8/5/11).

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bionicsamm View Post
                              I use honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar. The only "artificial sweetener" I can handle is xylitol and I never bake with it.
                              +1 on the honey (organic/raw), maple syrup, & coconut sugar - LOVE maple syrup! I've only used the coconut sugar to sweeten tea so far, but now that I know it's 1:1, I can't wait to bake with it!

                              If I use anything else, I use Stevia.
                              ...but I have a hard time figuring out the ratios with it, so I haven't used it much yet.

                              As for almond flour, unless you're eating half a batch of whatever you're making at one time, I wouldn't stress too much. You don't have to blacklist almond flour just because it's higher in calories than coconut flour...just control your portions. Plus, you'll find out that almond flour chocolate chip cookies are just too amazing to give up.

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