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Rarely do I review foodstuffs unless it is something that stands apart from similar products. The product I am reviewing today certainly qualifies, in that respect.
It was only recently that I read a review on Dooyoo about Perfect Sweet, a sugar substitute now known and packaged as Total Sweet. Sceptical as always when it comes to sweeteners, I researched the properties of this new sugar substitute to see if this was something natural or manmade and the effects it may have on consumers.
Get me chuntering on about the dangers of artificial sweeteners; it will be difficult for me to stop.
The reason I am so interested in, yet anti, sugar substitutes is that both my younger sisters having used artificial sweeteners for many, many years are now suffering the effects highlighted by research of these manmade chemicals.
Imagine my delight when I discovered that at last a new sugar substitute, extracted from birch wood looks and tastes like ordinary sugar (sucrose) This birch wood sugar is Xylitol which is a natural sugar also found in fruits.
The advantage of this sugar over sucrose is that it contains 40% less calories, it has a low GI value of 7, which means that it is more slowly released into the blood stream, unlike the rapid glucose rush of sucrose. According to Wikipedia; research has shown that Xylitol consumption has many health benefits over that of of ordinary sugar (sucrose) in that xylitol produces a reduction in tooth decay, it helps control oral infections whereas, sucrose is one of the main contributory factors of tooth decay and proliferation of oral bacteria and yeasts.
I bought my sample of Total Sweet from Holland and Barratt, 225g at a cost of £2.80, I have seen larger quantities on line, all very expensive when compared to the price of sugar and even those dreadful artificial sweeteners. However, I feel that the health benefits far outweigh the high price.
It is free from any additives such as aspartame, it looks and tastes like ordinary sugar, has no after taste and can be used in exactly the same way as ordinary sugars in cooking. The Xylitol is extracted from sustainable birch wood and has a long, 3-year shelf life when kept cool and dry,
Its low GI value makes it an ideal sugar substitute for diabetics and it does not have the same laxative effect as Sorbitol, another sugar often used by sufferers of diabetes.
The website www.totalsweet.co.uk gives more information and useful recipes, to anyone interested.
I am very impressed with this sugar substitute, it really does look and taste like ordinary sugar. I am now hoping that my sisters will stop using artificial sweeteners and start using this instead.
I shall certainly continue to buy it for its health benefits, which includes stronger bones and apparent aid in prevention and or slowing down the processes of osteoporosis. My teeth should last a tad longer too.
A word of warning for dog owners; this is toxic to dogs, so must not be used in the preparation of foods for dogs and no shop bought foodstuffs containing xylitol should ever be fed to the pet.
I still have not found any better substitute for sugar, such a shame it is so expensive.
A recent trip to my local dental hygienist wound up landing me in a spot of verbal bother. The inclusion of two, heaped spoonfuls of sugar in my tea and coffee had not gone unnoticed by my grumpy hygienist who promptly gave me a good telling off.
The discovery of some erosion on couple of my teeth was a disappointing and alarming find considering that my nashers are a feature I try to take as much pride in as I can. The hygienist felt that my sugar antics were largely responsible and strongly recommended that I switch to an alternative sugar or sweetener, to prevent any potential cavity formation. This came with a bit of a grumble on my part because as upset as I was with the bad news, I have never the less tried and discarded many alternatives over the years. Alternative sugars and sweeteners tend to share a common ground in synthetic taste or sport a peculiar and generally an unpalatable sickly sweetness about them in my past experience, which is why I have inevitably tended to go full circle and back on the traditional white stuff.
The discovery of Perfect Sweet has been somewhat of a revelation in itself, although expensive, it's by far the best solution I have found to date and certainly more than worthy of its positive review. " Taste pollution, a net result of the healthier solution" is a view point firmly challenged with this new sugary alternative at hand, even for the most diehard of sugar fans. In fact, I defy anyone to actually be able to tell the difference between Perfect Sweet and ordinary sugar, it really is that convincing.
<==Product, packaing and availibility==>
Perfect Sweet comes in a resealable 225g plastic bag and is by no means cheap retailing at around £2.50 depending on where you go, but I cannot deny that other than the high cost the product ticks almost every other box. Perfect Sweet can be found in select Sainbury's outlets as well as Waitrose, Holland and Barrett, GNC and a number of independant health food shops.
You may be wondering how my rantings about enamel erosion relate to this particular product; after all, any alternative to ordinary sugar is likely to heed the same positive results, surely? Well, not exactly. Perfect Sweet is a sugar alternative that uses a sweet tasting substance called Xylitol (pronounced ZI-LA-TOL). Xylitol, unlike sugar or ordinary sweeteners has a number of extra added health benefits. It's a substance that is found in many different fruits and is even made in small amounts by the human body itself, which of course means that the body is better able to break the substance down. One of the most significant advantages that Xylitol has over other sweeteners, is what it does for ones teeth. Ordniary sugar dissolves tooth enamel over time and can ultimately completely disingrate your teeth, whilst most sweeteners do not, Xylitol goes a stage further and actively promotes healthy teeth as demonstrated by the information I have taken from the Perfect Sweet website below:
"Xylitol has been shown to create an alkaline environment when it is broken down, which appears to not only help teeth, but with other problems too. Research has shown that this results in up to a 60% reduction of cavities and can help prevent plaque build up. Studies show that the environment created by xylitol appears to be favorable for the absorption of calcium and some other minerals. This means that your teeth can take up more of the building blocks that they need to stay strong and healthy." Bingo, my problem solved.
As I investigated further I also found a number of other benefits to this mysterious sugary substance. Perfect Sweet has 45% less calories than ordinary sugar as well as 75% less carbohydrates. I have recently gone on a diet, so to find that my purchase was favourable to that decision, was a positive cherry on the xylitol cake itself, so to speak. Should I wish to ditch my diet at any point, I also discovered that Perfect Sweet can be used in baking and the website has very kindly offered up some recipes which might be worth investigating (see bottom of review for details).
Having ticked all the right boxes for me, I also noted that the product appears to be good news for Diabetics, sporting a GL of just 7 which is a staggering 10 times lower than sugar and 4 times lower than fructose. It is also claimed that Xylitol is non-carcinogenic.
Opening up my bag I was fairly delighted to see my alternative sugar looking much the same as the real thing, all white and sparkling. The granules are almost exactly the same in size, and the weight is pretty much the equivalent to a standard sugar. Having tested the product out on both my hot drinks and indeed my breakfast, I found myself more than satisfied to conclude that the Perfect Sweet mimics an ordinary sugar with stupendous accuracy, providing a sweet and delicious taste that mirrors that of the ordinary white stuff. Although the taste is by and large exactly the same, I would perhaps suggest that Perfect sweet is just a fraction sweeter, and so I have been able to reduce my coffee/tea sugar count, down to one and a half spoonfuls as opposed to two which is also excellent news.
Having made a comparison in terms of price, with Perfect Sweet retailing at £2.50 for 225g compared to an ordinary brand from my local ASDA branch retailing at 94p per kg, it's easy to see why people haven't switched to the healthier alternative yet. Finding the product is also not always an easy feat, and means a venture into town to my local health food shop just to purchase it. Another downside is the bag doesn't tend to last all that long.
If the manufactures of Perfect Sweet were able to significantly reduce production and overall consumer costs, given the right advertising and a greater number of stockists, I wouldn't be surprised to discover sooner or later, the product becoming an official replacement to our ordinary less healthy sugars in the UK, especially when you consider that the UK sports the largest population of people with obesity throughout the whole of Europe, which will enevitably take its toll on our NHS system. You would think that our government would step in and try to indorse these kinds of products should the situation ever reach crisis point, and I believe that given the exacting taste of the Perfect Sweet to ordniary sugar, then this product might just be viewed as most favourable to do so.
For me, Perfect Sweet is by far the best alternative I have found so far in my sugar switch hunt, despite the high cost and locating inconvenience, it is one that I would almost certainly purchase again for the sake of my teeth if nothing else.
DO NOT feed dogs any foods containing Xylitol, as to them the substance is incredibly toxic.
For more information about the product or Perfect Sweet recipes , you can visit the companies website by following the link below:
I have a sweet tooth- cannot help it, cannot seem to get rid of it- so with artificial sweetners being reported as so dreadfully bad for you and with "normal sugar" feeding my yeast intolerance. I was advised to switch to Perfect Sweet. Perfect Sweet is the natural alternative to sugar made of 100% Xylitol. It has a low GI value of 7 and there are 15% less available carbs than sugar. As an added bonus it helps to promote healthy teeth.
Xylitol is found naturally in fruits and vegetables, (& even in humans!). Not only does it have health benefits over sweeteners, but boy oh boy does it taste better. So much so that I carry a little pot out with me, for when I have a drink away from home.
It is 240 calories per 100g - which is about 25 servings- so that's roughly 10 calories per 4g serving- not too bad. Also I find that I have been able to reduce my sugar intake, as it is very sweet.
It works just as well in cooking as it does in drinks.
Now the downside is the price - it is on average £2.30 for 225g which when put side by side with sugar or sweetners looks prohibitively expensive. But think about it- that may work out at 4.5p per drink- but is that really that much to pay for something that is natural and better for you? When you take the price of a teabag, a splash of milk and a spoon of Perfect Sweet- it works out less than 10p per cuppa- now I am more than willing to pay that for a lovely cup of tea- to be truthful there are some days when I get home and I would pay a fortune just to sit down cup in hand.
Having said that the price is having a good impact, as I am paying far more attention to the amount of sugar I add to my drinks, porridge and cereals, etc.
I buy mine in Sainsbury's, where it is on sale in the special diets section. However one branch of Waitrose have it on display with the sugars and another branch of Waitrose don't sell it at all. So if you want to try it, you may have to ask or have a hunt around.
As I get older, I am realising more and more how important it is to treat my body, inside and out with respect. Stop and think about it- how ludicrous is it that we put so much junk into our bodies- we may spend a fortune on beauty products- because "we are worth it"- but how many of us neglect the most important piece of property we own???