Protein pancakes & waffles are all the crazy lately. Who wouldn't want to eat pancakes for every meal? But the syrup can be a sticky situation if you are watching your sugar or calorie intake. Luckily, there's quite a few alternatives on the shelves and I'll break them down for you.
Monk Fruit Syrup - Monk fruit, also known as lo han guo , is a small round fruit native to southern China. It has been used for centuries in Eastern medicine as a cold and digestive aid, and now it is also being used to sweeten foods and beverages. Monk fruit sweeteners are created by removing the seeds and skin of the fruit, crushing the fruit, and collecting the juice. The fruit extract, or juice, contains zero calories per serving. Monk fruit has been reported to be 100-250 times sweeter than sugar (sucrose) which means a small amount goes a long way. Research has shown that monk fruit sweeteners do not raise blood sugar levels in humans.
Allulose- Allulose, a monosaccharide also known as D-psicose ,It is about 70% as sweet as sucrose, tastes just like it and even has the same chemical formula with hydrogen and oxygen atoms are arranged differently. It has 90% less calories than sugar and has been used in some diabetic & keto friendly foods. It tastes very similar to sugar. The tricky thing about Allulose is that the food labeling requires it to be listed as sugar. Which means a label will have 10 calories but 40g of sugar from Allulose. Don't let this scare you off, it's not treated like sugar by your body. It does not increase blood glucose or insulin secretion and similar to other sugar substitutes it does not promote cavities.
Stevia- Stevia is purified from the leaves of the stevia plant and is about around 200-400 times sweeter than sugar. The compounds in stevia are heat-stable, even at around 400 degrees which makes this ideal for baking and cooking sugar free and lower calories goods. Purified steviol glycosides are not absorbed in the upper gastrointestinal tract and therefore do not contribute to any calories to our diet.
Walden Farms uses Sucralose as their sweetener.
Sucralose- Sucralose is an artificial sweetener and sugar substitute (think Splenda). The majority of ingested sucralose is not broken down by the body, so it is noncaloric. It does not have the laxative effects of sugar alcohols.
Maple Grove Syrup uses Sorbitol and Sucralose both artificial sweeteners to make their sugar free syrup.
Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol . Sugar alcohols are used to sweeten foods and medicine but can also used as a laxative and can cause bloating and cramping. Another one to avoid is Maltitol, often used in foods but very easily can become a laxative. Most sugar alcohols are related to IBS symptoms.
The other syrup alternatives are the usual brands such as Aunt Jemima Lite which used high fructose corn syrup as the sweetener. I don't think I need to go into detail about why that is not an ideal food source. We want to avoid HFCS at all costs!
1. Natural sugar alternatives such as monk fruit and stevia are the safest and cause little to no side effects.
2. Allulose is an analog of sugar which also has good evidence to be a healthy alternative to sugar.
3. Artificial Sweeteners (sucralose) are a low calories substitute that don't cause bloating or raise blood sugar.
4. Sugar alcohol cause IBS, bloating and laxative effects and should be avoided.
5. High Fructose Corn Syrup is the worst option created by GMO and highly chemical sprayed corn used because it's cheap, you are better off just eating cane sugar.
***Be aware that oftentimes non calorie sweeteners (natural and artificial) are mixed with other ingredients such as dextrose (corn sugar), erythritol, inulin fiber, molasses, or even cane sugar to create products that mix easier. Check the packets or ingredients on packaging and don't be surprised if the 1st ingredient isn't the product in your hand.
Also the natural sugar alternatives such as stevia and monk fruit will not caramelize like sugar when baking or cooking.***