Can i remove sugar from a recipe

I can't tolerate sugar substitutes or sweeteners, not even Stevia. Can't do honey. I'm trying to limit my sugar because of my gut problems. I Also can't eat apples. So I can't bake with applesauce. I want to know if I can't take a standard recipe and just neglect to put any sugar or sweeteners, and if so, can I just replace it with more oil or water or the nondairy milk that's in the recipe already? Again no sugar or replacement. Can't tolerate them. Thanks much

  • Posted by: Kelsey
  • September 20, 2017


Eric C. September 15, 2019
Hey Kelsey, I'm like you and wondering the same thing. I don't actually taste specifically sweet or bitter (I have a taste disorder), so sugar has absolutely no use to me, aside from to make me gain weight. I think it may be a big conspiracy made by the sugar companies that sugar is required in baking. I'm fairly young but I've very recently started exploring dishes without sugar or artificial sweeteners. Here's what I've found so far:
- You can make sugar free chocolate at home by mixing coconut oil (melted) with cocoa powder in about a 1:1 ratio and then freezing it.
- You can make sugar free jam by boiling down a fruit (chop it up if it's not a berry) with a very small amount of water at the bottom of the pot to prevent searing. All you need to do after is add a thickener (here's a big list of them: such as chia seeds or ground flax seed. Usually fruit pectin is used, but supposedly this requires sugar; however, I haven't experimented personally with it yet.
- My mother recently made pancakes with very low amount of sugar (I think just 1 teaspoon in the whole batch?). I haven't tried it yet, but I think it would be viable to make pancakes without any sugar.

I've been considering opening up a blog or something as I start to do more experiments.
Vandana September 27, 2017
Alright, yes sugar, no fructose. I think brown rice syrup might be the way to go. It's made of glucose and maltose. In general (but definitely not always), I've found that standard baking recipes (with gluten) still turn out well if you halve the sugar in them. Maybe the same thing works with gluten-free recipes? So if you can find gluten-free recipes that sound good to you, halve the sugar (or at least cut it by a third), and then figure out how to sub it with brown rice syrup (LOTS of instruction scattered around the internet), you might end up with satisfactory results.

If you're willing to have a small amount of fructose, then you can consider sweeteners made from monk fruit (look for one that doesn't have added erythritol), yacon plants, or even coconut sugar.

It's insanely hard to cut out fructose, so good luck!
Kelsey October 5, 2017
Thank you I will try. I also just discovered cassavana syrup which is alsp fructose free.
PHIL September 27, 2017
Depends on what you are making. Some sweet dishes can also be made as savory dishes. Can you provide some more details?
Windischgirl September 27, 2017
There are plenty of recipes for GF crackers and breads which can be quite satisfying.
Unrelated note: how do you tolerate onions and other alliums? They can be a major source of GI issues due to the high amounts of sulfur and FODMAPs.
Kelsey October 5, 2017
I don't eat onions or garlic for this reason. In fact I don't eat much at all lol
Vandana September 21, 2017
When you say you're trying to limit sugar, do you mean sugar the product (cane or brown sugar), or sugar the dietary component (glucose, fructose, carbs in general)? The former leaves you with more options than the latter, especially since baking involves flour, which will in itself raise your blood sugar.

If the former: applesauce isn't the only option. Nearly any fruit puree (including mashed bananas) will add flavour. You can also try a different kind of baking that doesn't actively involve sugar in the rising process - like in baklava. Have you considered agave, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, or molasses as sugar subs?

If the latter: I agree with Windischgirl that savoury baking is your better bet. But you can pick savoury goods that lend themselves to being pastries, like croissants, and dollop fruit-juice-sweetened jam on or in them (in small amounts). Also, have you considered sugar alcohols? They can cause some digestion problems, but erythritol tends to be the least troublesome.
Kelsey September 27, 2017
I'm following a low FODMAP diet and specifically avoiding fructose. That being said I also avoid all sugar alcohols as they cause great discomfort. I avoid beans and most grains especially in the wheat family
Kelsey September 27, 2017
Also since agave and honey are over 90% fructose, I avoid those. Real Maple syrup is ok but is still, like cane sugar, 50% fructose. Im attempting to remove all fructose to see if my symptoms improve. I guess savory baking is what I will have to stick with.
caninechef September 21, 2017
If you had a recipe that was specifically designed to use a low bulk artificial sweetener ( Ie something that did not contribute significantly to the structure of the final product) then I would think you probably can just leave it out. How palatable the results( or even the original recipe) would be I can not comment on. As others have answered, it is a baked recipe calling for sugar just leaving sugar out is not going to work.
Windischgirl September 21, 2017
What are you trying to bake?
Unfortunately, I think this limits you to savory baking; sourdough breads and crackers do not typically have added sugars. But if you're trying to make cookies or cakes, they won't turn out. In that kind of baking, the sugar functions to retain moisture and enable browning, and just adding extra water or oil will not do it. Baking is chemistry, so it's a pretty exacting science.
As ktr said, in cooking sugar tends to perk up flavors, but it's usually a teaspoon of it, so that can subbed with herbs or acid elements. Cooking is physics, so it's more forgiving.
Our bodies naturally turn carbs into sugar (glucose is the brain's fuel). Have you met with a dietician for some guidance?
Kelsey September 27, 2017
I can't afford a dietitian. I'm just trying IBS friendly diets like low FODMAP.
Kelsey September 27, 2017
Also thank you for your input. You have been very helpful
ktr September 20, 2017
it is going to depend on what you are making. You will have difficulty with baking if you simply leave out the sugar. Given that you can't use any sugar substitutes, I don't have any recommendations for baking. If you can tolerate dates you can make date syrup to use as a substitute. for savory recipes that use just a small amount of sugar, I'd just leave it out and then taste it to see if the dish needs something added such as vinegar or fresh herbs.
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