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Sweetener Equivalents & Substitutes

For those with an undeniable sweet tooth, there's many choices available.  Many can be incorporated into recipes you already use; some cannot.   For instance, many baked goods will be very different if you use a powdered substitute or a liquid sweetener, and may not bake right.  Bread needs an actual sugar, not a substitute, so the yeast can feed and rise.  Some sweeteners may not taste right in some foods, especially stevia.  You can also sweeten with dried fruits, but these actually contain sugar anyway.   A further warning:  xylitol is an real sugar but with no absorbable calories for human beings; however, it will kill dogs and some other animals.  Don't use it if there is any chance whatever that your pet can get to a food that has xylitol in it.  Humans don't have a similar reaction - it's apparently perfectly safe for people.

You also must decide if you want to ingest the chemicals that make up artificial sweeteners, or if you'd rather play it safe and use natural sweeteners, although they cost more.  Personally, I have a problem with sugar, and use xylitol and a little stevia at times, and am VERY CAREFUL to keep xylitol away from our dogs.

Lines in green are natural sweeteners; the others are artificial man-made.
The amounts below are approximate in most cases; experiment!
Granulated white sugar Notes 1 Cup 1 Tbsp. 1 tsp.
Xlitol granulated   1 Cup 1 Tbsp. 1 tsp.
Stevia powdered extract 1 1 tsp. 1/4 tsp. pinch
Stevia liquid extract 1 tsp. 6-9 drops 2-4 drops
Sweet 'n Low liquid 2 8 tsp. 1/2 tsp 1/2 pkt.
Sweet 'n Low powder 2 Tbsp. 1/3 tsp. few drops
Equal 3 7 1/4 tsp. 1/2 tsp. > 1/4 tsp.
Splenda 4 1 Cup 1 Tbsp. 1 tsp.
Erythritol 5 1 - 1 1/2 C. 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. +
Agave Nectar 6 2/3 Cup 2 tsp. 1/2 tsp. +


1.  Stevia is stable when used in cooking.  It will not take the place of sugar in baking without changing the texture.  You can substitute part of the sugar, however, and use sugar, xylitol or erythtitol for the rest of the sugar.  Stevia has a slightly bitter aftertaste in many foods.

2.  Sweet 'n Low is saccharine.  It keeps it's sweetness when heated.  It will not take the place of sugar in baking without changing the texture. 

3.  Equal is aspartame.  It can be used in cooking, but tends to lose some of it's sweetness, the longer it is heated.  When possible, add at or near the end of cooking.  It will not take the place of sugar in baking without changing the texture. 

4.  Splenda is sucralose.  It changes the texture of many baked goods.  You may need to refrigerated baked items containing sucralose. 

5.  Erythritol is somewhat less sweet than sugar, and adds stability and shelf life to baked goods, usually without changing the texture too much.

6.  In a recipe calling for white sugar, for each cup of sugar substituted by agave syrup, remove 1/4 to 1/3 Cup of liquid.  If substituting agave for brown sugar, remove only 1/4 C. liquid for each cup of sugar called for.
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