Whole grain & low sugar recipes

About Sweeteners

Mildly Sweet

The original version of my recipes is what I call Mildly Sweet. The sweeteners that I use are unsweetened applesauce and fruit. I bake with these sweeteners because they don't add a lot of sugar to the recipe, which helps to prevent blood sugar fluctuations and cravings.

You can read more about why I choose these as my main sweeteners on my About the Recipes page.

Sweeter Option

Most of my recipes come with a Sweeter Option. The Sweeter Option suggests substituting part or all of the unsweetened applesauce with one of the sweeteners listed below which contain more sugar than unsweetened applesauce. This allows you to create healthy, whole grain, homebaked treats that still contain less sugar than what is called for in a typical recipe.

Optional Sweeteners

*Note: I did not test all of my recipes with these sweeter options since I can't eat much sugar. I can't guarantee that any combination of sweeteners will work perfectly in any recipe.

Substitute 1/4 or 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce with the equivalent measure of any of the sweeteners below. (Note that strong tasting sweeteners such as molasses may alter the taste of the recipe.)

1/4 cup = 2 ounces
1/2 cup = 4 ounces

Sweeteners listed in order of lowest amount of sugar to highest:

Unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup = 6 grams sugar | glycemic load = 2
1/2 cup = 12 grams sugar | glycemic load = 4

Unsweetened applesauce nutrition

1/4 cup = 32 grams sugar | glycemic load = 26
1/2 cup = 64 grams sugar | glycemic load = 52

Molasses nutrition

Maple Syrup
1/4 cup = 34 grams sugar | glycemic load = 22
1/2 cup = 68 grams sugar | glycemic load = 44

Maple syrup nutrition

Agave nectar
1/4 cup = 40 grams sugar | glycemic load = 26
1/2 cup = 80 grams sugar | glycemic load = 52

Agave nectar nutrition

1/4 cup = 46 grams sugar | glycemic load = 28
1/2 cup = 92 grams sugar | glycemic load = 56

Honey nutrition

White granulated sugar
1/4 cup = 56 grams sugar | glycemic load = 26
1/2 cup = 112 grams sugar | glycemic load = 52

White granulated sugar

Information coming soon...

*All of the above per cent daily values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
*Typical target glycemic load per day is 100 or less.

Artificial Sweeteners and Sugar Substitutes

There are a number of other sugar substitutes such as aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), Sucralose (Splenda) and Acesulfame potassium. These sweeteners are typically many times sweeter than sugar, so I tend not to use them as I find they cause cravings for more sweet foods.

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load

Taken from the Mayo Clinic:

The purpose of a glycemic index (GI) diet is to eat carbohydrate-containing foods that are less likely to cause large increases in blood sugar levels. The diet is a means to lose weight and prevent chronic diseases related to obesity such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Why you might follow the GI diet

You might choose to follow the GI diet because you:

  • Want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
  • Need help planning and eating healthier meals
  • Need help maintaining blood sugar levels as part of a diabetes treatment plan

One limitation of GI values is that they don't reflect the likely quantity you would eat of a particular food.

For example, watermelon has a GI value of 80, which would put it in the category of food to avoid. But watermelon has relatively few digestible carbohydrates in a typical serving. In other words, you have to eat a lot of watermelon to consume the standard test level of 1.8 ounces (50 grams) of digestible carbohydrates.

To address this problem, researchers have developed the idea of glycemic load (GL), a numerical value that indicates the change in blood glucose levels when you eat a typical serving of the food. For example, a 4.2-ounce (120-gram) serving of watermelon has a GL value of 5, which would identify it as a healthy food choice. For comparison, a 2.8-ounce (80-gram) serving of raw carrots has a GL value of 2.

Sydney University's table of GI values also includes GL values. The values are generally grouped in the following manner:

  • Low GL: 1 to 10
  • Medium GL: 11 to 19
  • High GL: 20 or more

Read more about the glycemic index and glycemic load on the Mayo Clinic website.