Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Adventures with sweeteners


Last week I wrote about the fun and games of cleaning up spilled Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, before it could poison neighborhood animals.  In reader comments below that article, Stan_qaz said:

We switched to Monk Fruit, the real stuff not the 5% Monk Fruit 95% erythritol sold in most grocery stores. Not cheap but no after-taste. Only downside is needing a 1/64th teaspoon as that is the equivalent to a teaspoon of sugar.

Spouse gets ours here: one, three or six packs.

I was intrigued by his 1/64th teaspoon measurement.  It seemed impossibly small, but I had no experience with monk fruit, so I decided to try it.  I duly ordered a single jar of that stuff from the supplier he recommended.  It arrived late last week.

I'm here to tell you, that stuff is incredibly sweet!  A quarter-teaspoon measuring spoon, which was the smallest we had, made a cup of tea or coffee undrinkably sickly-sweet.  I ordered some micro measuring spoons, which arrived yesterday, and proceeded to test smaller amounts.  To my surprise, even 1/32nd of a teaspoon was slightly too sweet, whereas (for my palate) 1/64th teaspoon was slightly too little.  I'll settle on the latter measuring spoon, filled very slightly rounded rather than flat, to hit the right note for my taste.

I'm not sure whether I'll switch to monk fruit sweetener entirely, but I'm glad I made the experiment.  It's definitely a useful item to carry with you, because even a little jar such as illustrated at the link above will go a very, very long way when used in such small measurements.  It'll certainly last almost as long as a ten-pound bag of Xylitol or sugar!  That makes it invaluable in a bug-out kit or camping gear.

Thanks, Stan_qaz, for your recommendation.  Those of you who also use artificial sweeteners, and are looking for healthier options, might want to give it a try.



Anonymous said...

I've never heard of this before. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, BOTH of you. Healthy sweeteners has its places.

SiGraybeard said...

I'm surprised nobody markets a solution in water, it seems a drop size could be calculated to give that 1/64 tsp equivalent with common droppers, or provide it in a sealed bottle with a medical grade dropper.

The first artificial sweetener I ever heard of came in tiny pills equal to one teaspoon - saccharin.

Anonymous said...

Just ordered some... Thanks Peter

TheAxe said...

Thanks Peter. Will give it a try!

Quentin said...

Not available in the UK, unfortunately, as it's not approved as a food item.

Drew458 said...

you can get tiny measuring spoons in many places, even Walmart. 1/64tsp is usually part of the set, although some are also labeled "pinch" "smidgen" etc. A nice steel set will run you under $10.

Anonymous said...

The NOW brand makes organic monk extract powder that comes with a tiny scoop. They also make a liquid form of both monk fruit and stevia. Unlike so many other brands, NOW adds nothing else to these natural sweeteners. They have a chart on their website that gives equivalency amounts of monk fruit to sugar, e.g. 1/96 tsp or 1/3 scoop equals 1 tsp sugar. Website is

Anonymous said...

I can't remember who, maybe Lyman, but you can get powder measuring scoops (very small) for measuring gunpowder by volume instead of weight.

Philip Sells said...

"Drop," "Pinch," "Smidgen," (!)... those aren't official units, are they? :)

Drew458 said...

Lee makes the powder scoop set, but the smallest one is still far too large for this use.

Anonymous said...

From webmd: In addition to increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke, erythritol can cause mild to severe digestive issues if you consume large amounts of it. That includes bloating, cramping, excess gas, and diarrhea.

terry said...

Late comment. Related. Another sweetener you've likely not heard of is allulose and that's a shame. You see, it is a natural sugar. Yes, it occurs in everyday foods. Naturally.

The quantities however are tiny, so extracting it from foods in quantities to sell as a sweetener is prohibitive on all levels. What has been missing was a way to convert sucrose to allulose. You see, the formula is almost identical. One H atom is flipped to the other side of a C atom. That's it. So, the news is that some smart guy (found/invented) a catalyst that does that. (Maybe it was fructose, don't recall.)

It has the exact flavor of table sugar, at about two thirds the sweetness. Used as an ingredient it functions like sugar. It even browns in baked goods. Sprinkled on cut fruit like strawberries and it macerates just like sugar, a delicious, sweet, thick strawberry juice resulting!

Its form is usually like a powder, but I've seen a very fine granulated crystal. Manufacturer decisions on chemical reactions, I suppose, and finishing processes make the difference.

Price is still a lot more than table sugar but I'm happy to pay. The best I've paid so far is fifty cents an ounce. That is dropping rapidly. There are now versions on the shelves at Kroger from Swerve, Splenda and Kroger generic. All very pricey. Find it on an online seller for the least cost.

I think it amazing that it landed on the shelf at the grocery store with no fanfare... it must be a distraction from higher profit junk sweeteners

It can cause mild digestive issues in a very few people. Not me! Sugar alcohols are much worse in that respect, I think.

Oh yes... it has zero glycemic index. Allulose is the natural artificial sweetener that we've been waiting for.


(Catching up on favorite blog reading at the end of the holidays...)