Here’s an interesting comparison I did in my kitchen.
In the Wheat Belly lifestyle, we occasionally desire non-wheat, non-grain snacks, desserts, and treats made without sugar or other unhealthy sweeteners. We therefore reach for natural non- or minimally nutritive sweeteners that allow us to have, for example, a cookie or slice of cheesecake without problems of tooth decay, high blood sugars, inflammation, or any of the other health problems accompanied by foods made with grains and sugar. This allows you to entertain friends, serve treats to kids and grandkids, and enjoy holidays without destroying health.
But such sweeteners can be pricey. So I did this comparison. Shown in the photo is the amount of sweetener required to yield the equivalent sweetening power of one tablespoon of table sugar, shown at the far left. Below each little pile of one tablespoon-equivalent sweetener is the cost per tablespoon (based on the retail price I paid at a local Milwaukee grocer that carried every sweetener shown, thereby eliminating differences based on varying markups at different stores—the store for anyone in Wisconsin is the Woodmans’ employee-owned chain with an incredible selection of sweeteners and other foods).
Some conclusions can therefore reached by this simple exercise:
- Lakanto (erythritol + monkfruit in a proportion designed to be used like sugar 1:1) is the most costly sweetener by a substantial margin, over 3-fold the cost of the SweetLeaf stevia
- Wheat-Free Market’s Virtue Sweetener is the least costly, also by a substantial margin. Even though Virtue, like Lakanto, is a mixture of erythritol + monkfruit, the different proportions of sweetener (richer in the intensely sweet monkfruit) make it four-fold sweeter, thereby reducing the quantity required, tablespoon for tablespoon. In fact, the Virtue Sweetener is only a bit more costly than sugar.
- SweetLeaf stevia (inulin + stevia) is also a great buy.
- Wholesome (erythritol without the added sweetening power of monkfruit or stevia) and Swerve (erythritol + oligosaccharides) are just behind Lakanto as high-cost sweeteners.
Of course, you may mix your sweeteners in ways that avoid, for instance, the metallic aftertaste of stevia preparations. You may therefore combine some stevia with Virtue, or stevia with erythritol, to obtain sweetness with less prominent aftertaste.
I did this comparison because Gary Miller of Wheat-Free Market expressed concern that, despite formulating the Virtue Sweetener for concentrated sweetness and value, many people did not recognize the cost advantages. Well, here you see it in play daylight: the unique monkfruit + erythritol mixture of the Virtue Sweetener means you can make delicious wheat-, grain-, sugar-free and healthy Wheat Belly dishes at just a tiny bit greater cost than using conventional sugar.