Last week I was asked if I wanted to test Green Sugar, especially what I think about the ingredients. I already wrote here about what the most natural sugars are in my opinion, but since I also have some experience with xylitol I was quite curious about the other two natural sugars; erythritol and stevia rebaudiana extract. So today I’m sharing with you my experience with Green Sugar. Also, don’t forget to read my sugar disclaimer at the end of this article.
What is Green Sugar?
Green Sugar is a new product offered in the Benelux in the category of sugar substitutes. Green Sugar consists of a combination of erythritol and Stevia rebaudiana extract. Both are 100% natural, GMO free and have a very high ”purity” (in my opinion something is only pure when it comes directly from the earth and when it is not processed; this product can of course be processed purely nevertheless).
Green Sugar consists of no more than 2% Stevia rebaudiana which ensures that the taste isn’t bitter. Because the taste is quite sweet, you can use the same proportions as in the case of refined sugars to enjoy the same sweetness.
Green Sugar also claims that after prolonged testing in collaboration with renowned research institutes in many countries such as in Germany, they were able to make an unique product with high-quality ingredients. Therefore, Green Sugar has the follwoing features:
- No impact on the glycemic index
- GMO free
- 100% natural
- The same flavor and sweetness as sugar (no bitter Stevia taste)
- Stable flavor in cooking, baking and freezing that does not affect the taste of the food or beverage
What are natural sugars?
I believe that a diet based on whole food plant-based natural products is the way to go. Also, when it comes to sugars I believe that pure and unprocessed options are the best. These options ensure that you can also benefit from the vitamins and minerals or even fibers and enzymes (e.g., in pure date paste).
Recently I started to use xylitol (a sugar alcohol) in my recipes, because it’s sweet and it doesn’t have a dark color such as date paste and blackstrap molasses.
I generally stay away from sugars such as white sugar, brown rice syrup, agave nectar and corn syrup. In my opinion these sugars contain no nutritional value since they are all too processed. In this conext, maple syrup is for example ”worse” than honey because it contains less nutritional value. Actually, all of these examples are merely sugars (empty calories). Perhaps not as harmful as refined white sugars, but still empty calories.
Stevia (the real version!) of the stevia plant seems to be innocent as long as you don’t consume too much of it. The taste however can be somewhat bitter. In that respect Green Sugar did a good job by keeping the amount of Stevia in their products low. I like to mention though that it’s important that not all Stevia products are the same. The (mostly) cheap (er) Stevia products that you will find in the supermarket are so chemically modified, that it can be considered as unhealthy. The Stevia in Green Sugar is not chemically modified and thus the health benefits of the Stevia leaves are intact.
Sugar alcohol has little to do with alcohol and owes its name to its molecular structure, which resembles something between a sugar molecule and an alcohol molecule. So biochemically sugar alcohols are structurally similar to sugar. Sugar alcohol have become particularly popular because it is safe for people with diabetes. Sugar alcohols are not absorbed by the body and therefore have a much lower impact on the blood sugar (glucose impact). In addition, sugar alcohols are not bad for your teeth and that’s why it is often used in chewing gum. Xylitol can even help to prevent the growth of oral bacteria.
Xylitol however can cause bloating, flatulence and diarrhea. This is because the sugar alcohol is not completely absorbed in the gastro-intestinal tract which can lead to fermentation in the gut. I have xylitol and erythritol in my kitchen cupboard (both are a form of sugar alcohol) and I have this problem with xylitol to a limited extent; I ”only” get bloated.
Is erythritol healthy?
And then there is erythritol (the ingredient in the Green Sugar products). Erythritol appears to be very okay, because not only of the fact that it’s not toxic, it also gives no side effects like some other sweeteners. To make things even better, it turns out to be an healthy antioxidant. You can find erythritol in small amounts in melons and pears, but it is also perfectly usable as a natural sweetener. Also, there are no problems with the absorption of erythritol as the intestines react better, so there is no chance of side effects.
Xylitol may be good for my teeth, but if I have to choose I’d rather go for the antioxidants in erythritol.
The disadvantages of Green Sugar
The disadvantages of natural sugars in any form whatsoever is that many people think they have found a license to eat unlimited amounts of sugars. Even if a natural sugar would contain no calories, this is not healthy to eat as a staple food. I always say: the more sugar you eat, the more sugar you eat. A little bit usually leads to more. At the end of the day a diet is all about eating fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans … and sugars are an extra. It is not a good idea to go crazy on a sweetener of any kind.
The advantages of Green Sugar
Regarding the composition of the ingredients, I can say that Green Sugar is doing well. Green Sugar decided to keep the Stevia content very low, which improves the taste (i.e. not too bitter) and which is also better for our health (i.e. since large amounts of Stevia is debatable).
Nevertheless I keep finding myself reaching out to whole plant-based foods such as date paste above sugar alcohols. Not only do I get some extra fibers, but also some necessary vitamins and minerals. I must say though that Green Sugar can be a safe and tasty option. Especially when making sweet recipes it can be convenient since it keeps the color of my recipes neutral.
A nice tip by the way is also the Jelly Sugar by Green Sugar. This jelly sugar contains stevia, erythritol, and agar agar. Agar agar is a seaweed-gelatin which is perfect to use as a binder in recipes. So this product is great if you would like to make a jelly or pudding.
There are also smaller packages available at Green Sugar.
My sugar disclaimer
It is safe to say that there are some great natural sugars and there is absolutely no need to reach out to white refined sugars. But having that said, I believe we all should be careful with the amount of sugar in our diets (also with the natural healthy sweeteners). It can trigger a sugar addiction, especially if you are a former sugar junkie just like me. Your brain ”tastes” something sweet, so make sure you’re not eating something sweet in quantities that can trigger you into a sugar addiction (again). Like I always say: one teaspoon of maple syrup leads to two, which leads to three and before you know it you’re eating a (vegan) chocolate bar a day loaded with white refined sugars….
This article was written in collaboration with Green Sugar.