Nectresse sweetener gets sour reviews

Consumer Reports News: April 25, 2013 09:38 AM

Nectresse, the newest sugar substitute to enter our kitchens, has far fewer calories than regular sugar. But our taste testers weren't crazy about it in baked goods or when it was added to coffee or lemonade.

Nectresse is made of a sugar alcohol (erythritol), regular sugar, monk fruit extract, and molasses. It comes from the maker of Splenda, and each packet is supposed to provide the sweetness of 2 teaspoons of sugar. One cup of sugar has 774 calories; a quarter-cup of Nectresse, equally sweet, has 86 calories. Our testers tried Nectresse in a baked cake and in beverages.

In a cake. A yellow cake we made with Nectresse was pale, didn't rise much, and was doughy and raw on the bottom. On the other hand, tasters pronounced the cake made with regular sugar  "yummy."

In lemonade and coffee. Nectresse imparted an artificial-sweetener or chemical flavor and an unpleasant cooling sensation. Tasters said lemonade and coffee made with sugar were much better.

Bottom line.
Nectresse doesn't measure up to sugar. As for other sweeteners, we've found stevia to be bitter in previous tests. In beverages, the old standbys Equal, sucralose (Splenda), and xylitol (Ideal) impart fewer off-notes to beverages. For baking, we haven't found one that works very well unless combined with regular sugar. Read more about other non-sugar sweeteners. See our advice other ways to cut back on sugar as well as our guide to food and drinks.

Joel Keehn

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