The “UN-sugar” April 26, 2011Posted by Toy Lady in random stuff, Review.
First things first – just so you know, I was given a complimentary package of Xyla sweetener in order to sample it. My opinions are completely my own (as always), and I have not been compensated for them.
I will be honest. I was a little skeptical of “faux sugar” and leery of doing a review. I don’t use much sugar, except in the occasional baked good. While Peeps uses sugar in his coffee, I prefer mine unadulterated. We don’t really drink much soda, and honestly? Diet soda is an abomination.
I mean, just the phrase “sugar substitute” calls up images of the little pink (and blue and yellow) packets on diner tables and a vile accidental sip of DIET Dr. Pepper. We even tried actual stevia leaves – yuck. Oh, and that “less sugar” orange juice? Eew. You just can’t seem to get away from the aftertaste, and for me, that’s a deal breaker.
But then I did some research into just what xylitol is and where it comes from, and I agreed to give it a try. First, it turns out that xylitol is what’s used to sweeten sugar-free gum. I’ve always wondered why they could make sugarless gum not disgusting, but nothing else. Now I know.
Xyla, also called “birch sugar” is extracted from US-grown birch trees in Colorado; it’s a completely domestic product, which is kind of a plus.
Years ago, I had a friend whose husband was a diabetic, and I do know that there can be some challenges to baking with non-sugars – back then, just about the only easily-obtained option was saccharin – and that doesn’t work so well.
It turns out that baking (and cooking in general) is not a problem with Xyla – the only caveat being that it doesn’t work the same way with yeast as cane sugar does.
There’s probably some science-y reason, but I’ll just take their word for it.
Basically, the company assures us that, in baking, Xyla can be substituted measure for measure for cane sugar – which makes life easier.
We decided to do a couple of tests ourselves. First off, Peeps used it in his morning coffee – he said it “wasn’t bad” but that it tasted a little “different.”
He did not, however, do a blind taste test.
I had intended to bake a batch of banana bread with it, but when it came down to it, I, um, kind of forgot. (I know, how lame a review is this?)
We did, however, use it in a chili-lime chicken dish – we’ve done a similar dish before, so I know what it “should” taste like. And I can honestly say there was no difference in flavor – there was absolutely no aftertaste, and the sweetener was neither more nor less sweet than I would have expected with cane sugar.
The bottom line is that, while I went into this not expecting much, I was very pleasantly surprised. The sweetener is as sweet as sugar, without the bitter aftertaste that I’ve come to expect. It’s, from everything my poor, science-challenged mind can understand, just as “natural” as the sugar I’m used to – it isn’t made in some freaky laboratory – and it’s better for you.
The only real down side I see is that it’s extremely dangerous to dogs – just a few sticks of gum can cause a severe hypoglycemic reaction and potential liver failure. Now we don’t generally let our dog go through the cupboards or lick the sugar bowl, but it’s definitely something to be aware of.
If you’re interested in trying Xyla, go to XylitolUSA and use the coupon code FIRST to save 10% on your order.
And if you’d like the chicken recipe (and you should!), it’s right here.