Yacon syrup is a thick and sticky sweetener made from the concentrated juice of the yacon tuber. It has been around since before the Incan Empire but only recently has become a trendy sweetener outside of South America. Many believe it to be healthier than regular sugar. It is not as widely available as other sweeteners, which means that you may need to replace it if you need it in a hurry. Here are some of the best yacon syrup substitutes for you to try:
Your best bet: Xylitol
A sugar alcohol that lacks fructose and glucose, xylitol provides sweetness without raising blood sugar or contributing to heart disease. Other health benefits associated with its use include improved dental and bone health.
Xylitol is a low-calorie alternative to yacon syrup, not a zero-calorie one, so it does contain calories. It should be consumed in moderation. Its flavor profile is a lot more neutral than the molasses-like yacon syrup, so you won’t get the caramel-like notes.
A decent second choice: Agave nectar
Like yacon syrup, agave nectar is a plant-based sweetener from Latin America. Agave nectar is made from the sap of a kind of agave plant called the maguey. It is reduced to remove water and enhance its sweetening properties, just like yacon syrup.
While the Aztecs heavily used agave nectar, yacon root was the popular sweetener among the Incas. You will need to use a little less agave nectar when using it to replace yacon syrup since it is noticeably sweeter. Start by using about half of what the recipe required for yacon syrup and increasing to taste. Just like yacon syrup, agave nectar has a mild flavor profile that allows you to use it in a range of different applications. You can bake with it or use it to sweeten beverages.
The dark variety of agave nectar is the best option for replacing yacon syrup since it has a similar caramel/molasses flavor profile.
Agave nectar does have a significant downside, which is that it contains a high level of fructose. Fructose is the type of sugar responsible for most of the health issues associated with sugar consumption. Fructose has a strong association with obesity and heart disease.
In a pinch: Monk fruit
Monk fruit sweetener derived from a small Asian fruit called the monk fruit, and that is 200-300 times sweeter than cane or beet sugar. Monk fruit gets its sweetness from compounds called mogrosides as well as from sugars like glucose and fructose that are removed when it is processed into monk fruit powder.
Some studies have found that beverages sweetened with monk fruit-based sweetener have little impact on blood sugar and insulin levels or your intake of calories when compared to sucrose-based sweeteners.
Molasses comes from the process used to make sugar. It is the viscous liquid byproduct that remains after the sugar crystals have been extracted from sugarcane juice. The juice is boiled three times with sugar extracted after each boiling. The molasses that is left after the sugarcane juice has been boiled once is called light molasses, and its flavor and appearance are similar to those of yacon syrup. It has the strong caramel note along with a concentrated sweetness since it still contains a lot of sugar.
Erythritol is another sugar alcohol like xylitol but with even fewer calories. It tastes very similar to sugar but won’t raise triglyceride, blood sugar, or insulin levels. Erythritol does have a potential downside, as some studies have linked it to weight gain.