Despite my status as a nutritionist, I’ll admit I have a serious sweet tooth—which is probably why I’ve never been a big fan of sugar alternatives. It’s always seemed to me like science hasn’t quite figured out how to mimic the taste of sugar without an unpleasant aftertaste or strange texture. Plus, like many people, I’ve been wary of faux sugars’ safety. If I’m going to indulge in something sweet, I figure it’s worth going for the real thing.
Recently, though, I had the opportunity to try the zero-calorie, low-glycemic sugar alternative Purecane. My expectations were set pretty low, but the idea of experimenting with a bit of kitchen science appealed to me. Maybe, I thought, I could try it out in some baked goods to see exactly how it affected the finished product. After all, we could all stand to cut back on sugar in our diets (yes, even us nutrition professionals!), and food science experiments are nearly always fun.
I was surprised by the taste and texture.
With this in mind, I duly whipped up a batch of lemon muffins, replacing their sugar content entirely with Purecane. (The brand states that it can be used as a one-to-one substitute for sugar.) When the baked goods emerged from the oven, their appearance and texture were no different from what I’d expect from a recipe with real sugar. They rose nicely with perky yellow tops and featured a nice moistness and tender crumb.
But for the true test: what about their taste? Biting into the muffins, I was immediately surprised. They were pleasantly sweet with just the faintest hint of aftertaste. I can’t even say for certain I would have noticed it had I not known they contained a sugar alternative. For me, this was earth-shattering—and motivated me to