With the increasing popularity of low-carb dieting, low-carb sugar substitutes are more varied and more accessible than ever before. Although you can only use some of these substitutes in certain circumstances, you can use other largely as you would sugar. For example, sweeten your cereal or ice tea with aspartame, or bake a cake with stevia or sucralose.
Aspartame, one of the most common artificial sweeteners, both calories and carbohydrate-free, and belongs to the “non-nutritive” class of substances. It has no effect on blood sugar levels, making it safe for diabetics and people suffering from hypoglycemia. On the other hand, aspartame cause mild side effects, such as headaches, bloating and stomach upset. For this reason you should use aspartame in small doses, and discontinue use if you experience these side effects. Because aspartame breaks down under heat, you can not use it in cooking or baking, and you should store it in high temperature environments.
Stevia — a carb sugar substitute popular in Asia — is derived from the South American stevia rebaudiana plant. While sweetness of stevia is intense to the point of bitterness in large quantities, you can use small to moderate amounts of stevia in cooking and baking, in hot or cold drinks, and basically anything else you would use sugar. Stevia is a natural sweetener with no reported side effects, although some studies suggest it may stimulate insulin release, so diabetics and those afflicted with blood sugar disorders should avoid it. It is available in both powder and pure liquid extract form and is said to resemble black licorice taste.
Sucralose is one of the latest low-carb sugar substitutes to hit the market. While it is derived from sucrose sugar, it is done in such a way to make it impossible for the body to absorb, meaning that it does not affect blood sugar. It does, however, contain a small amount of calories and carbohydrates, you should use it in moderation for dieting. Sucralose is still stable under heat, which means you can use it for cooking and baking, and you do not have to store it in a temperature-controlled environment. For this reason, and also because of the fact that it tastes similar to sugar, sucralose, the preferred low-carb sugar substitute among consumers.