Q. I’d like to reduce my sugar intake, so I’m curious if there are any sweetener swaps you would recommend? I hear a lot about agave and even applesauce as a substitute for sugar. –Abigail, Little Chute
A. There are many products that can be used in cooking that can reduce or eliminate the need for added sugar in recipes. In addition to the applesauce that you mentioned, almost any fruit juice including apple, pear, grape and orange will add sweetness from a natural source. Agave, honey, corn syrup and maple syrup are all natural products that are seamless substitutes for sugar. Carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and some squashes added to products like soups, stews or sauces add a nice natural sweetness. Dried fruits like raisins, prunes, banana chips, dried cranberries or dried cherries can also be used to provide natural added sweetness. Products like molasses and sorghum also will provide a source of added sweetness. One thing to remember is that once digested, natural substitutes for sugar may have the same or similar impacts to your blood sugar, if that is the reason you are looking to reduce your sugar intake. Artificial sweeteners on the market such as Stevia, Splenda, NutraSweet and others do not seem to significantly impact blood sugar and remain in use by some folks.