Some common types of sugar-free baked goods are cakes, cookies and brownies that have been sweetened with an artificial sweetener. Natural sweeteners and sugar substitutes — such as applesauce and syrups — are often used to replace or reduce sugar in typically sweet foods, but they do not make a product sugar-free. Truly sugar-free baked goods are either not sweet or are artificially sweetened and, thus, do not affect the body’s blood sugar levels like traditional sweets do.
Sugar-free cakes are an excellent alternative for cake lovers on a sugar-free diet. Many recipes use a small amount of artificial sweetener combined with the added flavor of cinnamon or vanilla. Unsweetened cocoa combined with artificial sugar can make a sugar-free brownie recipe with absolutely no sugar involved. Many types of breads also are naturally sugar-free baked goods that can be made entirely without sugar, whether real or artificial.
Fruit cakes and applesauce bread are often regarded as sugar-free baked goods, but their inclusion of fruit adds natural sugar. Once an ingredient such as berries, applesauce or raisins is added to a recipe, it is technically not sugar-free. As a result of an increasing incidence of diabetes and obesity in the world, especially the U.S., completely sugar-free baked goods have become increasingly popular. With the use of artificial sweeteners, practically any type of baked good can be prepared using no — or, at least, less — sugar.
For sufferers of diabetes and for people who wish to switch to a low-carbohydrate diet, baked goods made with artificial sweeteners may be the best alternative to real sugar. Items labeled as “no sugar added” are not the same as “sugar free” and this can cause some confusion. The difference is simple: “No sugar added” means the product may be naturally sweet while “sugar-free” means the product contains no sugar. Many gluten-free and low-calorie products are also sugar-free.
Some people cannot consume sugar — or must carefully control what little they can consume — even if it comes from a natural source such as fresh-picked fruits. Along with fruits and fruit purees, maple syrup, honey and agave nectar are natural sugar substitutes, but some people still need to avoid them for health reasons. Sugar content in the blood correlates to a glycemic index, and even natural sweetener alternatives are capable of producing a not-so-sweet increase in blood sugar levels.