In a previous post that I wrote entitled The Sugar (Does Not) Help the Medicine Go Down, I discussed how eating table sugar (aka sucrose) bothers my stomach even though it is allowed on the FODMAP diet and therefore I try to avoid it as much as possible. This has included learning to enjoy my coffee with cream and no sugar and only eating sweets when I have lost all my will power, which luckily is not too often. However, this is not always a fun way to live and very unrealistic that I will not eat anything sweet again except for the sporadic moments when I have an “I need chocolate” breakdown.
Professor Dean Tolan, at Boston University studies Hereditary Fructose Intolerance (HFI), a fructose metabolic disorder different than fructose malabsorption, in which patients cannot ingest any fructose, even the skin of an apple. He recommended that instead of using sucrose, which is composed of equal amounts of fructose and glucose, that I use dextrose. Dextrose, also known as D-glucose or corn sugar, is a glucose made from starches, such as corn with the addition of water as it is processed. Biochemically, it is the same as the glucose that is found in our body. Unlike fructose, glucose can be absorbed easily by the small intestine and does not cause the fermentation of bacteria and subsequent consequences that anyone with fructose malabsorption or other forms of IBS knows so well.
Although I still try to avoid sugar most of the time, dextrose is a great way for me and others who have trouble digesting fructose to enjoy a sweet every once in awhile and not get sick. There also does not seem to be a better option since the typical alternatives for sucrose such as, honey, maple syrup, and agave nectar are partially composed of fructose. However, before discussing this with Professor Tolan, I never heard about dextrose other than during a biochemistry class and I definitely never saw it listed as an ingredient in a cookbook. So where do I buy and how do I bake/cook with dextrose?
I did some searching and found that the three places where one can find dextrose is at a homebrew supply store, at a vitamin/nutrition store, or online. The dextrose sold at brew stores or vitamin stores tend to not have the right consistency for baking. If need be, you can always buy the dextrose there and either use it as is or grind it to a finer and consistent texture. Luckily, there are online stores where I found dextrose by the company, Now Foods as well as other brands but the only one I have tried is the Now Foods product. I also learned from Alana Scott of A Little Bit Yummy about The Sugar Breakup website, that sells dextrose and has recipes and great tips for how to bake with it.
Dextrose is a fine sugar and is not as sweet as table sugar. Generally, you can swap a cup of sugar with a cup of dextrose. The company Now Foods recommends a 1 to 1.3 swap, but generally since it is less sweet and everyone has a different palette, I recommend to start with a 1:1 swap and then change the ratio based on your preference. According to The Sugar Breakup website you should do the following when baking with dextrose.
- Increase the amount of liquids you use in your recipe, this can mean the oil, butter, or actual water since dextrose absorbs more liquid than table sugar;
- Dextrose cooks faster than table sugar so lower the temperature by 10 degrees Celsius;
- Use large eggs; and
- If you cook by weight, then you will need to adjust the amount of dextrose you use since it weighs less than table sugar.
Other than that you should enjoy and bake as normal. Now that I know about dextrose, I am finding recipes that include dextrose as an ingredient and otherwise I am swapping it for sugar and enjoying having a sweet every once in awhile.
Do you have other brands of dextrose or tips that you can recommend?
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