A little basic stuff first (I only know basic stuff): sucrose (what we commonly call ‘sugar’) is a molecule of glucose joined to a molecule of fructose. As soon as you eat sucrose it separates into these two types of sugars.
Your body needs glucose (I think, or it certainly uses heaps of it), but your body doesn’t need fructose. Many now believe fructose is essentially addictive and poisonous, even in smallish quantities. Adding to these problems glucose is not very sweet whereas fructose is.
Enter: other sweeteners. In my hot chocolate etc I use a combination of erythritol, stevia and glucose powder (properly known as dextrose monohydrate, not to be confused with other dextrosey-type things). This makes for ZERO fructose. Yay!
You may wonder why I bother to put the glucose in it, considering it’s not very sweet. Answer: it does round out the flavour, plus I am concerned there could be problems if you only use erythritol and stevia. If your brain registers (through taste buds) that you have eaten something very sweet but hardly any calories/joules turn up in your blood (because only your gut bugs eat erythritol), there is the suspicion in some circles that your brain will command you to keep eating, including more sweet and fatty foods, to get a decent amount of calories. So I include glucose to provide some calories which really will be digested.
- Erythritol: best value I can find is Natvia baking pack, in your supermarket sugar section. Be aware that too much, if you’re not used to it, acts as a laxative.
- Stevia: a little is included in the Natvia erythritol or you can buy stevia separately.
- Glucose powder (dextrose monohydrate): $4.25 for a 1.25 kg bag at Big Bubble shops (Western Australia), mostly sold for home brewing. Much cheaper than Glucodin at the supermarkets.
I read somewhere (see below) that erythritol and xylitol are the only two alcohol sugars which don’t break down into fructose. So-called ‘sugarless’ chocolates, made with other alcohol sugars like malitol, maltitol etc or so-called ‘dietary fibres’ like inulin, may have MORE fructose in them than a bar of Cadburys. So give me a Cadburys instead!
Others to be wary of: honey is about 80% sucrose (so it’s 40% fructose). Agave is just about off the scale. BTW, don’t bother with glucose syrup: it’s almost tasteless and is mainly used for texture, although that may be what your cooking needs and I guess it would provide real calories.
Where did I find all this very second-hand info which you should not be relying upon without first talking to your trusted health professional? In March 2012 I read a book by David Gillespie called The Sweet Poison Quit Plan. He has heaps of well-argued and really interesting stuff about sugar, fat etc. Enough info and persuasive arguments to fill several books. Oh, yes, in fact he DID fill several books.
Worth a read.