A coleslaw with zero added sugars to enjoy all summer long
I've been doing my best to stay away from all sugars for nearly two years. If you have too, you know that's not easy since there are at least 50 names for sugars, such as brown rice syrup or agave nectar or even caramel.
For every processed food I might pick up at the supermarket, I must read the ingredient list to see and interpret what's r-e-a-l-l-y in it. Yes, there's a simpler path; look at the Food Facts label with its FDA-required "Total Sugars" and "Includes Added Sugars."
The reason for two different sugar numbers? Some foods naturally have sugar, such as milk (12 grams per cup skim milk) or bananas (14.3 grams per medium banana). Others have added sugars, such as milk chocolate or some peanut butter.
My goal is to consume zero added sugars, accepting that some foods are naturally high in sugar, including corn.
Last week I discovered Allulose, a nearly calorie-free sugar substitute. Allulose is a natural sweetener, meaning not artificial like NutraSweet. It's considered a "rare sugar" since it is found in tiny amounts in figs, maple syrup or brown sugar.
When you type in What is Allulose?, up comes Allulose.org and it explains that Allulose: "shares the typical chemical structure of a carbohydrate, but only contributes a fraction of the calories and does not raise blood sugar levels."
Sounds magical, yet it's not. What's the trick?
Allulose is absorbed by the body but not metabolized, sort of like getting a calorie-free pass.
Allulose delivers one-tenth the calories of sugar, and it's diabetes-friendly, having no impact on blood glucose levels and is supposed to bake (it can caramelize like sugar) and freeze like sugar.
Allulose is not required by the FDA to be listed under "Total Sugars" or "Added Sugars," yet it must be labeled as a carbohydrate, which it is.
Once my Allulose arrived, I couldn't wait to taste it directly out of the bag. It tastes like sugar-light since it is 70-percent as sweet as sugar. It does not have a cooling effect on my palate like erythritol.
A recipe I found on FoodNetwork.com what is supposed to be a taste-alike to KFC slaw, which has been a longtime and avoided favorite of mine. What's kept me away from making that dressing recipe is all the sugar it contains. I didn't try making it until now because I never use artificial sweeteners, and erythritol's cooling effect didn't seem to work with cabbage slaw.
I chopped up some fresh cabbage from my farmers market and added a julienned carrot and small grated onion.
Next came the dressing. Since I'm partial to avocado oil no-sugar-added mayonnaise, I added that to a mixing bowl, along with Allulose, some apple cider vinegar, dry mustard powder, sweet paprika and kosher salt, and whisked it together. Then I poured my dressing over the cabbage mixture and tossed it all together.
A taste brought a smile to my face; it's amazingly close to the KFC slaw I remembered without added sugars. The best news: My new recipe cut out 240 total sugar calories.
Give it a try and see what you think.
• Don Mauer welcomes questions, comments and recipe makeover requests. Write to him at email@example.com.
Gotta-Like-It Cabbage Slaw
1 medium head (about 2 pounds) fresh green cabbage, sliced or chopped
1 medium carrot, cut into julienne pieces or grated
1 small yellow onion, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (organic preferred)
7 tablespoons Allulose (or 8 packets organic stevia)
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/8 teaspoon sweet paprika
¾ cup no-sugar-added mayonnaise
Add cabbage, carrot and onion to a large mixing bowl and, using clean hands, mix together until combined.
To a medium mixing bowl, add the vinegar, Allulose (or stevia), salt, mustard powder and paprika and whisk together until combined. Add the mayonnaise and whisk together until combined. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and, using a large rubber spatula, stir and toss until completely combined.
Nutrition values per serving: 188 calories (79 percent from fat), 16.7 g fat (2.3 g saturated fat), 18.6** g carbohydrates (4.9 g net carbs), 4.4 g sugars, zero added sugars, 3.2 g fiber, 1.6 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 394 mg sodium. **includes 8.1 gm allulose.
Adapted from FoodNetwork.com