I must be honest, I’ve never particularly liked artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes. Mainly because of the taste – that aspartame aftertaste is horrible, and I’ve assumed that all artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes are much of a muchness. Turns out, I was wrong.
Sugar substitutes vs artificial sweeteners
First of all, I didn’t realise how many people were using sweeteners. When we asked about artificial sweeteners on Diabetic South Africans, the response was overwhelming. And after I did the research for this article (a Diabetic’s Guide to Sweeteners), I realised that there are actually huge differences between artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes. The one that came out way ahead in terms of natural ingredients was SWEETLY, so I thought it was time I tasted it for myself.
Looks, smells and tastes like sugar
What I like about SWEETLY is that they’ve somehow managed to make a product that looks just like sugar. It’s made from erythritol (a sugar alcohol), fibre (inulin), steviol glycosides (from stevia) and flavouring, and it’s that flavouring that makes all the difference. There’s none of that weird aftertaste you get with aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, and I love that it doesn’t come in a weird white powder. It smells like… sugar. Sweet.
Amazingly, though, there are 0g of carb in a teaspoon of SWEETLY. Zero. What this means is that for people who are craving sweet tea or coffee (which is a large portion of our community, judging from the comments and the number of people who use sweeteners or sugar), now it’s possible – but with zero effect on blood sugar. Of course, if you can cut out all sweet things completely, that’s a much better route to take… But for many diabetics, that’s not an option. They’ve tried and failed, and instead of choosing the wrong sweet things, I say choose something that is both natural and doesn’t hurt your blood sugar.
The other reason I like SWEETLY is that it’s made by well-established food brand NOMU, who already make a sugar-free hot chocolate and who are working on a range of diabetic-friendly products. NOMU is known to use the best ingredients. Of course, when you’re using the best ingredients they cost a little more. And that’s the only thing I can see that people won’t like about SWEETLY – it’s not cheap. At R135 for 400g, it’s more expensive than sugar or other sweeteners, but if you consider that it’s a healthy alternative to all the other options, I think it’s money well spent. SWEETLY is available at Pick n Pay stores nationwide, or you can get the full product range on their online store.
Endorsed by Diabetes South Africa and the GI Foundation SA (as a frequent food), SWEETLY has no aspartame and doesn’t cause tooth decay. It’s equal in sweetness to regular sugar, and honestly, I don’t think you’ll be able to tell the difference. I tested it on my children (who are 3 and 5 years old, and have a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon on their oats in the morning) and they said their oats were delicious – they didn’t notice it wasn’t sugar. I tested it on our nanny, who drinks sugar in her tea every day, and she said it tasted the same.
Win a SWEETLY hamper (soon!)
I was so impressed with SWEETLY that I’ve asked if we can run a competition so that the Diabetic South Africans community can win a hamper of their products… Watch this space!