Trim Healthy Mama: On Plan Sweeteners

All About Trim Healthy Mama SweetenersRepin this post for later!

You may have read my post about Baking on Trim Healthy Mama, so some of this info might sound familiar.  But going over the info about different sweeteners, and hearing questions for people at a loss about what to do if they are unable to have this or that sweetener, I felt there needed to be a post exclusively about sweeteners.

Also, some people have been asking how to make “Gentle Sweet” (or something similar) using store-bought stevia/erythritol blends. And I adjusted my homemade Gentle Sweet recipe to be a little sweeter and I feel it’s a little closer to the “real thing.” More on those below.

First, let’s go over the three main sweeteners that are used on the plan.

Erythritol-This is a sugar alcohol and is a by-product of corn. It does not raise blood sugar and is not absorbed by the bloodstream. It is about 70% as sweet as sugar. Downside: It can leave a “cool” feeling in your mouth which some people dislike. It doesn’t bother me like it does my husband. I like to buy it in 5 lb bags on Amazon. It comes out to a little under $6/lb this way.

Xylitol: This is another sugar alcohol that does have a (very) small impact on blood sugar, but is still ok on the plan. It is about the same sweetness as sugar and probably tastes the closest, BUT it is not for everyone.

Downside: Some people report mild to severe discomfort in their digestive system when consuming xylitol. Xylitol made from birch is said to be gentler on the tummy that that made from corn. Also, xylitol is known to be toxic to dogs. So please tread carefully with this sweetener.

Stevia: If you have a good, pure stevia powder, a little goes a long way. It is best mixed with other sweeteners. Downside: It tends to leave a bit of a weird aftertaste if you use too much. It is related to ragweed, so you may be unable to use it if you have a ragweed allergy. Also, it can be difficult to find a good stevia powder, as many have added fillers or are more bitter than others.

Besides the THM stevia, available in their store and at Swanson’s, I sometimes use Stevia Select. By the way, Stevia Select also has a liquid stevia, which Trim Healthy Mama does not have (yet). I finally got to try it and just want to say it’s what I’ll be getting from now on! They also have flavored liquids, but I haven’t tried those yet. What Trim Healthy Mama does have, however, is a 4 oz bag of stevia. I know, it’s only 1/4 of a pound, but it is so potent it will last you quite a while. Even with shipping, it comes out to the best deal. Swanson’s has THM products for the same price and a flat shipping rate of $5.99, which is actually a little less than the THM website.

Before I move on to the other sweeteners, I wanted to go ahead and let you know my updated Gentle Sweet recipe. I kicked the sweetness up just a notch, since I found myself adding a little extra with my original recipe. If you don’t have as much of a sweet tooth, you may prefer the other blend, which I introduced in the baking post.

Homemade Gentle Sweet

New Gentle Sweet Recipe:

2 cup xylitol

2 cup erythritol

1 3/4 tsp THM stevia powder or Stevia Select. If you must use another brand of stevia, make sure you read measurements per cup. You want whatever equals 1 3/4 cup of sugar.

Grind ingredients in a blender or food processor until it is a powder consistency.

Start with 1/3 cup per cup of sugar and adjust up as needed. Use as is in recipes calling for Truvia, Pyure or Gentle Sweet.

Now, some people already have Truvia or Pyure and want to know how they can use xylitol to cut the cooling effect. The first recipe below assumes no additional stevia, but the erythritol may have a stronger taste. I have recently noticed one brand of xylitol, XyloSweet, in my regular grocery store, so if you’re looking to “stay local” this may be an option for you.

Gentle Sweet Using Pyure or Truvia (if no additional stevia)

1 1/4 cup Pyure/Truvia

3/4 cup xylitol

Grind ingredients in a blender or food processor until it is a powder consistency.

Use 1/2 cup per cup of sugar and adjust as needed.

Gentle Sweet Using Pyure or Truvia (if using additional stevia)

1 cup Pyure/Truvia

1 cup xylitol

1/4 tsp THM stevia powder or Stevia Select Note: If using a different brand of stevia, take note of its equivalent to sugar. You want whatever is equivalent to 1/4 cup of sugar. So if it says 2 TBSP per cup of sugar, you’ll want to use 1 1/2 tsp in this recipe.

Grind ingredients in a blender or food processor until it is a powder consistency.

Start with 1/3 cup per cup of sugar and adjust up as needed

Although many people find Gentle Sweet more friendly to their systems than plain xylitol, some people still cannot tolerate it, and may need to stick with Super Sweet Blend, or the grocery store equivalent (Pyure, Truvia, etc). Occasionally someone very sensitive to sugar alcohols may find themselves unable to tolerate even erythritol. If this is you, then you have yet another option, though the cost is slightly more. Trio Sweet is a blend of stevia, monkfruit extract and chicory root fiber (inulin). The last 2 are  on plan sweeteners that are seldom talked about, probably because they are more expensive.

Monkfruit extract (also called Lo Han Guo) is very potent, supposedly even more than stevia, and is not as easy to find on its own as in blends. NuNaturals has a pure monkfruit powder and their website says 2/3 tsp has the sweetness of 1 cup of sugar. Meanwhile, THM is 1 tsp per 1 cup sugar. And the Monkfruit runs about $29 for 0.71 oz. So if you can’t have stevia, but you can have erythritol, you could try a monkfruit/erythritol blend like Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener. It measures cup-per-cup like sugar. But monkfruit blends are still more expensive than the stevia blends, so only go that route if you have to. Beware of the brands in the grocery store, such as Monkfruit in the Raw, that contain dextrose.

If stevia is the only thing you cannot have, you could also try making a version of Gentle Sweet or Sweet Blend using monkfruit instead of stevia. Though I have yet to try it, I would suggest trying these ratios:

Stevia Free Super Sweet

1 cup erythritol

2/3 tsp pure monkfruit extract powder

Mix together thoroughly and use 4-5 TBSP per cup of sugar

Stevia Free Gentle Sweet

2 cup xylitol

2 cup erythritol

1 1/4 tsp pure monkfruit extract powder

Grind ingredients in a blender or food processor until it is a powder consistency.

Use 1/3 to 1/2 cup per cup of sugar, or in place of Gentle Sweet.

Swerve is an erythritol blend that uses oligosaccharides to boost the sweetness up to 1 to 1 ratio with sugar, as opposed to needing about 1 1/3 cups erythritol to equal 1 cup sugar. Oligosaccharides are carbohydrates which have 3-10 simple sugars linked together. They are found naturally in many plants and are not easily absorbed by the body. You can read more about oligosaccharides here. Swerve is an on plan stevia-free sweetener.

You can use Swerve for the erythritol in the above recipes if you like. Since it is a little sweeter than regular erythritol, you may use 3/4 cup in place of 1 cup erythritol, or start with a lesser amount of your sweetener when using it in recipes. There is even a powdered Swerve.

Higher Glycemic, but On-Plan Sweeteners

There are a few sweeteners that are considered on-plan for those at or close to goal weight, but should be limited if trying to lose weight. Even those in maintenance mode won’t want to overdo these.

Raw Honey. Raw honey has many beneficial enzymes and anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. That’s why you’ll see it in many home remedies for colds. It is considered ok in small amounts for its nutritional benefits, but is not necessarily recommended to use as your primary sweetener.

Coconut Sugar. This is another higher glycemic sweetener ok-ed by Pearl and Serene (page 109 of the Plan book). But like honey it is not recommended to use as your primary sweetener. It offers more of a brown sugar flavor.

Blackstrap Molasses. This sweetener is not specifically addressed in the book, but it is used in quite a few on-plan recipes. It gives a brown sugar flavor to your recipes. Blackstrap has the lowest glycemic index of the different types of molasses and generally a single teaspoon will do for an entire multi-serve recipe.

I hope this information is helpful to you and allows you to weigh your options when it comes to sweeteners on the Trim Healthy Mama plan. Remember these are simply guidelines. You will have to tweak any sweetener to fit your personal tastes. If you have any questions, I can try to answer them here, or you can ask for help in the wonderful Trim Healthy Mama facebook group!

PS. Don’t forget to visit my baking post, where you can find links to recipes for baking blends, chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and more!

Baking with Trim Healthy Mama + Gentle Sweet Substitute

 

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Comments

  1. Dee Johnson says:

    I had never heard of Triosweet. I prefer to buy from a store, if possible. I had bought a couple monkfruit sweeteners, but don’t love them. I’m pretty sure they are blends though. I hadn’t thought to try using it in place of stevia (ragweed allergy). I may try making my own mix/blend. I saw swerve in the pic, but didn’t see it mentioned. The powdered swerve is my go to Sweetener, but it leaves a sweet aftertaste if it is the only Sweetener being used. I do buy Pyure and/or truvia for my kids. I also have erythritol and xylitol (but don’t like using it much because we have dogs). I’m thinking I could make a blend for my kids (and hopefully hubby will like it too) with pyure, erythritol and maybe swerve (or more erythritol). And another blend for me without stevia (using your measurements as a base. I’ll probably add swerve too. Since I can’t have stevia, I have been using splenda mostly (only for myself), but would like to just use natural sweeteners. I really enjoyed this article. Thank you.

    • AOHousewife says:

      Hi Dee. I meant to mention Swerve. The aftertaste is probably because of the erythritol. You can use Swerve as the erythritol and that may boost the sweetness, since Swerve has the added oligosaccharides. I added a bit about Swerve into the post now. You could try equal parts Swerve and xylitol to measure cup per cur for sugar. You will have to decide how well your body can handle the xylitol. Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the post!

  2. Susan Henry says:

    I am wondering if Gentle Sweet can be made by adding xylitol to Super Sweet blend. I have a bunch of super sweet and don’t really care for it alone.

    • Lindsey Ramrez says:

      I would love to know the answer to this as well. Thank you for a great post!

      • AOHousewife says:

        Oh sorry. I didn’t realize I hadn’t answered this. Personally, I would try equal parts Super Sweet (Sweet Blend) and xylitol and grind it in a food processor or blender. Start with 1/3 per cup of sugar and adjust from there.

  3. Dianne Potts says:

    Hello I’m wondering if you have heard that sugar alcohols just don’t work for some people and some people can actually absorb sugar alcohols like regular carbohydrates and therefore they become much like regular sugar. I’m not sure if this is true or not . Although I don’t have the carb cravings I use sugar alcohols which is very nice but, I seem to not be able to loose weight when I use very much of them, although I have not quite noticed much of a wait gain like I always have with sugar. Stevia works fine for me and I have adjusted to the aftertaste, but so many recipes use the sweet plans now that I would love to use I’ve tried using Stevia alone and adjust recipes but it lacks volume. I was wondering if I’m imagining this but somewhere I have heard that sugar alcohols just don’t work for some people and was trying to see if I could get an answer to that

    • AOHousewife says:

      I know that xylitol in particular is known to cause some stomach upset to some and it does have a small impact on blood sugar. Some people have been known to be sensitive to erythritol also, but that it less common. If you feel you cannot have them and want to add bulk, you might use chicory root fiber, sometimes called inulin, which is also an on-plan sweetener. Trio Sweet is a stevia/monkfruit/chicory blend that measures about 1/2 cup per cup of sugar (approx the same as Pyure, Gentle Sweet and Truvia) but doesn’t contain sugar alcohols.

  4. I’m trying to learn how to use the Gentle Sweet blend in place of honey. I’ve tried just using an appropriate amount of the blend, but it is dry where honey is moist. Does anyone have a method for substituting Gentle Sweet for honey?

    • AOHousewife says:

      I haven’t done a whole lot of that type of converting, but I believe it would vary by recipe. I think in some recipes it would change the texture more than others. If it were me personally, I would probably add a bit of oil or applesauce (depending on the meal type you’re going for) to replace the liquid. But I don’t know that there is a set rule that works for every recipe.

  5. Amber Tucker says:

    I am curious about an alternative for brown sugar? I know you can mix molasses and gentle sweet for the flavor, but I am wondering about what to use for baking?

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