Healthier Baked Goods? Possible, if you can do the math

Some holiday cupcakes I made last Christmas. One of my few times baking.

Baked goods like chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake, eclairs, the list goes on, are the hardest thing for me to give up as I try to stay on a low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar diet. Truth is that, especially during the pandemic, I turned to cakes for solace. So I was intrigued by this piece offering a healthier way to bake.

The Cooking Light piece talks about how an award-winning chef reduced the sugar content of various cookies. There’s math and weighing your ingredients involved, but if done correctly you can cut half to 75% of the sugar a recipe calls for.

I find baking a little too much like chemistry, so I normally buy my baked goods already baked. But perhaps I can talk my wife into trying this and report back here. Stay tuned.

Trying to kick sugar — here’s one no-sugar diet plan

I’ve written many times that of salt, fat and sugar, sugar is by far the hardest for me to give up. I tried a no-sugar challenge in 2020 but the pandemic and its concurrent stress wiped out that plan. So I’m always interested when I see pieces like EatingWell.com’s No-Sugar Diet Plan.

MY half slice of Junior's chocolate mousse cheesecake, Mmmmmmm.
My love of such things as cheesecake make it difficult for me to kick sugar.

The plan includes a week of do-it-yourself meals and is based on consuming 1,200 calories a day, so obviously for women rather than men who should consume around 2,000 calories daily.

Some of the items mentioned, like peanut butter energy balls, I would never eat because of my aversion to nuts. But some of the dinner main dishes, like Mediterranean ravioli with artichokes & olives, sound worth trying.

I’d suggest giving the menu plan a look and picking and choosing what you like.

A reminder about sugar — it’s hiding everywhere in your food


It’s fairly easy to look at a food label and see how much salt is in a product but sugar is another matter. I’ve written before about hidden sugar and so this older piece from Cooking Light that popped up in an email recently caught my eye, 5 Ways Sugar Is Hiding in Your Food.

Cute maple syrup, who doesn’t like it? Well, surprise, it’s sugar!

Most people, I think, know about high fructose corn syrup being sugar. It’s gotten so much bad press in recent years, the word is out about HFCS.

But how about evaporated cane juice, fruit juice, honey, molasses and even maple syrup? They’re all sugars and all covered in the piece, give it a read. And be alert, read every food label.

Thumbs down on chocolate frosting mix with alluose

I came across a relatievly new non-sugar sweetener last year, allulose, and sent away for several products that use it to test it out. The latest I tried — a chocolate frosting mix with alluose. My verdict — thumbs down.

I pretty much had the same reaction to a brownie mix with allulose. Sadly, this does not seem the product that will ween me off of sugar. Of the big three devil products — salt, fat and sugar — sugar has been by far the most difficult for me to cut out of my life. Without it, I am chronically depressed.

I’m starting this year needing to lose weight again to counter rising blood pressure that medeications are not fixing. So I’m dropping sugar again, suffering through the pain that comes with that. Wish me luck.

If you crave chocolate frosting, this is not the product for you. It tasted a bit grainy and not like regular chocolate at all. I disliked it so much I scrapped it off three cupcakes I’d topped with it and erefrosted those with regular chocolate frosting.

Brownies with allulose — not exactly like regular brownies

Food processors are constantly looking for a sweetener that will make people think they’re eating sugar while not getting all the harmful side effects of consuming sugar. I wrote recently about one such sweetener, allulose, which some say is better for us than sugar.

I purchased a brownie mix with allulose from Lang’s Chocolates to see how this sweetener works in a baked product and how it tastes. The results were disappointing.

The brownie mix seemed very sticky while I was mixing it and the final baked brownie seemed the same. The end product did not taste all that chocolatey and it had an after-taste which I assume comes from the allulose. In short, it did not taste like a brownie made with sugar.

Continue reading “Brownies with allulose — not exactly like regular brownies”

Have you heard about allulose? I’m going to try it

Sugar is one of the big three ingredients we try to avoid but it is the hardest to walk away from. Who doesn’t love sugary things? So the quest goes on for a sugar-substitute that doesn’t carry the harmful side-effects of sugar. I recently read about one such alternative, allulose.

My test products with allulose instead of sugar.

Allulose is made from natural sources. It “is found naturally in very small amounts in foods like wheat, figs, corn, and raisins. It looks like sugar and tastes like sugar — really — but it doesn’t cause your blood sugar to spike and it contains just .4 calories per gram. That’s about 90 percent less than sugar, a stat that has contributed to its buzz.

“You’ll find it, like sugar, in most grocery stores, health food stores, and online. It doesn’t come cheap, though: A 12-ounce bag will cost around $10 dollars,” reports Cleanplates.com.

Supposedly, it has no adverse side effects. What I’m most interested in is if it causes gas and bloating like some of the substitutes used now in sugar-free products.

Continue reading “Have you heard about allulose? I’m going to try it”

The No Salt, No Fat, No Sugar Journal celebrates a milestone — 800 posts!

What you’re reading now is the 801st post in the history of the No Salt, No Fat, No Sugar Journal. When we started in late 2012, we never imagined we’d still be going all these years later.

Our initial goal was to help people who, because of heart disease or other ailments, had to radically change their diets to cut salt, fat and sugar. Those three things are in almost everything Americans routinely eat, so eliminating them is a herculean task.

But we have persisted and you have responded, making our No Salt, No Fat, No Sugar Recipe Page the most popular thing on our site. Do a search for such recipes and we will be at the top of your search page just under the paid placements.

Happy 800 posts to us!!!!

When the Pandemic hit, we pivoted to posting recipes that would work for families stuck at home together. We also starting labeling posts with topics such as Pandemic Shopping, to let you know about which no-salt, no-fat, no-sugar items were disappearing from local stores shelves and how to find them in alternate outlets.

We’re on track for a record year for views, thank you, and keep coming back! And tell your friends.

Eating less salt, fat and sugar can benefit anyone, not just those with health conditions already. Hopefully eating healthier can help you not get some of the health conditions that originally prompted the launch of this blog.

Stay safe, stay masked, get vaccinated and stay no-salt, no-fat, no-sugar.

The ‘Cookbook of Healthy Living & No Regrets’ — handy for those cutting sugar

Jayne J. Jones went through a harrowing health crisis before being diagnosed with diabetes. It prompted her to change how she eats and to create the Cookbook of Healthy Living & No Regrets and to dub herself the No Sugar Baker.

If you can’t eat sugar but crave baked goods of all sorts, this book will interest you. The baking section is extensive. Actually, you could say two sections are devoted to baking — one for brunch baking and another just to baked goods.

As someone who doesn’t bake, I was most interested in the sections entitles Salads, Sides & Soups and Family Dinner Time Treats.

Those sections are a reminder of how difficult it is to cut, salt, fat and sugar from recipes you love and still have something you love. The recipes in those sections cut the sugar, but include butter, bacon, pork rinds and other ingredients that are high in salt and fat (specifically bad fat).

So if you need to cut sugar, this could be a cooking guide for you (I’m actually sending my copy to a friend who was recently diagnosed with diabetes and is scrambling to change how he eats). If you want to cut sugar, fat and salt, check my recipe page as a start, and also look at some of the other recipe sites I have here.

Sugar — good or bad? A debate actually exists

After I had my first angioplasty, I consulted with three nutritionists about what I could eat going foreword. Their recommendations differed a great deal, but all seemed to agree I should cut salt, fat and sugar out of my diet.

Of those, I have found sugar the hardest to give up. There’s no question that when I do give it up, I lose large amounts of weight. But I also become severely depressed and listless.

One of my favorite sugar carriers.

So I’d love someone to come along and say it’s ok to eat as much candy, cake and other sugary treats as I want. That’s not happening just now, but there is some debate going on about sugar, as this piece I found on stack.com outlines.

The piece is aimed at athletes and summarizes a study  published in the Journal of Progressive Cardiovascular Disease on the topic. Sadly though the link given for the article is a dead-end.

“Lack of physical activity, more so than sugar, is a greater threat to our health. Given that so many people are overfat and underfit, a diet low in sugars and starches is likely a good idea for them. But for sports-active, fit people—who are at lower risk for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity—sugar and carbs are not toxic but rather a helpful way to enhance athletic performance. The one-size diet does not fit all,” the piece states.

I doubt that at my age I could ever be active enough to balance out all the sugar I’d like to consume, so I’ll just keep trying to limit it.

Smart Sugar Swaps? Not for me

I’m approaching the end of one month without any sugary snacks, cakes, candy — in short I’m eating nothing that I enjoy. This was a challenge from my wife as she realized we’d been going a bit overboard with such treats during our Covid quarantine.

I’m now four days from the end of the challenge. I’ve lost six pounds and am constantly hungry. So I was intrigued by this headline, 5 Smart Swaps to Make the Next Time You’re Craving Sugar.

Counting the hours until I can have one of these again.

Sadly, the swaps left me disappointed, and still craving sugar. Here they are (or you can click on this link to read the full story).

  • Sugar sweetened beverages: Instead of soda or sports drinks, make unsweetened fruit teas (hot or iced), sip sparkling water, or add fresh fruit or herbs to still or bubbly H20 for flavor.
  • Desserts and sweet snacks: Make fruit dessert, whether that’s combining dates with cocoa powder to make a truffle; dipping fresh berries in dark chocolate; making DIY ice cream with frozen bananas; grilling up fresh peaches or plums in summer; or enjoying cooked apples with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Sweetened coffee and tea: Add flavor by stirring in vanilla, cinnamon, coconut collagen, or cocoa powder.
  • Candy and sugary toppings (like syrup or jam): Use mashed fruit for syrup, DIY your own chia jam, or rely on unsweetened dried fruit like mango to satisfy your need for sweet.
  • Cereals and breakfast bars: Whip up a batch of overnight oats, make your own no-sugar granola, or prep grab-and-go options like protein pancakes so you always have something on hand.

That’s the best they have? I think I’ll wait for my sugar binge day February 1.

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