White sugar is sugar cane juice that has been highly refined, so all that is left is “empty” energy.
The less refined the sugar product, the more complex it is, because it contains other nutrients. Substituting more complex sugars in place of white sugar can be an important first step in breaking a sugar addiction. Use this chart to see what you can find at the health food store to use in place of white sugar in recipes.
Sweetener — Substitution for each cup of refined sugar — Reduction of total liquid per cup of sugar
Barley malt or rice syrup — 1 ½ cups — Slightly
Honey — ¾ cup — 1/8 cup
Fruit juice concentrate — ¾ cup — 1/8 cup
Maple syrup — ¾ cup — 1/8 cup
Maple granules — 1 cup — None
Molasses — ½ cup — None
Unrefined cane juice powder — ¾ cup — None
Stevia (leaf powder) — 1 teaspoon — Add 1/8 cup
Agave nectar — 2/3 cup — 1/4 cup
Some recipes rely on chemical reactions or physical structure of sugar (eg toffees, biscuits) and may be difficult to substitute fully. You can experiment with partial substitutions.
Cooking time may need to be varied due to the change in moisture content.
Try gradually reducing the sweetness of recipes or use those with naturally sweet foods such as bananas or apples – gradually get your taste buds used to a gentler version of “sweet”!
Adapted from: Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford