With many different types of sweeteners on the market, it may be difficult to know where to start. For the most part, starting to use sweeteners just means jumping in and trying them out in some of your favorite recipes. Most sweeteners like erythritol, allulose, and monk fruit can be used in place of sugar, but you should know the sweetness level of each before you begin. Baking with natural sugar alternatives may require some practice, and it will help to know the sweetness of each sugar so that you can achieve the taste you want. Before you get started though, let's look at the sweetness levels of a few sweeteners when compared to sugar.
Erythritol is about 70 to 80% as sweet as sugar. It has a minimum aftertaste but may leave your mouth feeling cool. It is slightly less sweet than sugar, so it may require you to add a little more than what the recipe calls for. For example, if a recipe for cake calls for a half a cup of sugar, you could add 2/3 cup of erythritol in order to make the sweetness level about the same. As with other sweeteners though, it is low calorie and doesn’t cause a rise in blood sugar.
Monk fruit sweeteners, on the other hand, are almost 200 times sweeter than sugar. Most people agree that it has a mild aftertaste. When a recipe calls for ¼ a cup of sugar then, you will probably need to do less of the monk fruit sweetener, and 2 or 3 tablespoons is a good place to start. You can always add more as you try different ways and see which conversion makes the end result taste the best.
Allulose is also about 70% as sweet as sugar. Allulose is also known to taste “almost identical to sugar, with a clean, sweet taste. In fact, products formulated with allulose ranked on par with full-calorie versions in preference taste tests across a variety of foods” (source). In a recipe that calls for one cup of sugar, you may consider adding 1 and 1/3 cup of allulose to attain the same level of sweetness.
Xylitol is about 5% less sweet than sugar. It is also popular because it is low calorie and does not raise blood sugar levels. Since its sweetness level is close to that of sugar, you will not need to change the measurements in recipes. You can simply add ½ a cup of xylitol when a recipe calls for a ½ cup of sugar.
Stevia sweetener is about 300 times sweeter than sugar. Since it is so sweet, you only need very little in order to make something sweet. For example, one cup of sugar in a recipe can be replaced with only about ¾ of a teaspoon of stevia. People have varying opinions about how stevia tastes, some say it tastes like menthol; some people think it tastes bitter, but there are also those who do not think it tastes much different than regular sugar.
There are many other types of sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin. They may be more recognized by their brand names like Swerve or Truvia. Each of these sweeteners will vary in sweetness compared to regular sugar and you may need to modify their measurements.
Since these sweeteners all have varying levels of sweetness, it often works best to mix different sweeteners together. Doing this you can achieve the same sweetness of sugar, and lessen the after effects of both sweeteners to make whatever you are making taste just like regular sugar, but without the calories and consequences. For example, since Monk Fruit sweetener is 200 times sweeter than sugar, you can add a small amount of monk fruit to allulose, xylitol, or erythritol to make up for the sweetness the other replacements are lacking.
You can do this by yourself by putting erythritol in a jar and adding a little bit of monk fruit extract or stevia extract and shaking it up. You can also make powdered sweetener by putting the monk fruit extract and erythritol into a blender and pulsing it until it is powered. Luckily, that is not the only option though, there are many places that sell these sweeteners already mixed and ready to be consumed. This way you don’t have to worry about the conversion or finding the right amounts of each sugar.
No matter the replacement sugar you end up using, take into account its sweetness compared to sugar so that your recipes turn out how you hope. By spending the time to decide the right amount of replacement sugar, you are providing your body a break from regular sugar. Plus, each of these are low calorie and don’t raise your blood sugar.