NutriPro The sweet side of sugar reduction - Finding your sweet spot

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Here are a few tips from chefs and sensory experts to satisfy customers while lowering the amount of sugar.

Reduce sugar

  • Limit added sugar wherever possible. In general, the sweeter something  is, the more you can remove without  having a negative taste impact.
  • A simple approach to reducing sugar  (and calories) is to offer smaller  portions. This can be a good strategy  for recipes where reducing sugars
  • is challenging.
  • Look for unsweetened ingredients. For  example, choose fruit canned in juice or  water instead of heavy syrup.
  • Add sugar to beverages only upon  request, and offer a single packet of  sweetener instead of an unlimited  supply. By making unsweetened coffee  and tea your standard, you can reduce  sugars consumed in drinks.

Be strategic about flavours

  • Use flavours that are naturally  associated with sweetness and enhance  it’s perception. Try pineapple, strawberry,  vanilla, lemon, almond, caramel, and  lychee.1,2
  • Use contrasting flavours to play up the  sweetness. Bitterness and sourness  decrease sweetness, while low levels of  saltiness or umami play it up. Just be  careful not to go overboard on saltiness,  which can take the focus away from  sweetness (think salted caramel).

Focus on your other senses

  • Intensify the colour of red foods and  drinks to increase the perception of  sweetness. In studies, dark red solutions  were rated sweeter than light red  solutions even when they containedless sugar.3
  • Play with the texture of foods to take  the focus away from flavour. Chopped  nuts, toasted coconut, or hot or cool  sauces can create an exciting sensory  experience without extra sugar.
  • Serve foods and beverages warm  instead of cold to increase perceived  sweetness since temperatures can  affect taste perceptions.4

Sneaky sugar

You can control how much sugar you put in your own recipes,  but it can also sneak in from other sources. Here’s how much  added sugar is in common ingredients you might use oroffer as condiments on your table. Actual counts may vary  depending on serving size and product brand.

FoodTeaspoons of sugar
Chili sauce 15ml1.5
Tomato sauce 125ml2.5
1 sweet roll1.5
Granola 50 grams3.5
Hoisin sauce 30ml3.5
Mandarin oranges in fruit juices2.5
Strwberry yoghurt 125ml6
Ketchup 30ml2
Sweetened cream 30ml2.5
Rasberry vinaigrette 30ml1.5

WHO Guideline: less than 6 teaspoons/day


1. Prescott, 1999
2. Spillane, 2006
3. Johnson and Clydesdale, 1982
4. Green, Heat as a Factor, 1993