How does the calorie-free sugar alternative Organic Zero stack up against real granulated sugar and other sugar substitutes?
Organic Zero is a crystallized form of the sugar alcohol erythritol, made from fermented organic cane sugar. Sugar alcohol won’t cause the same spikes in blood sugar that regular sugar does, so products containing it are often used by diabetics.
According to Wholesome Sweeteners, Organic Zero’s manufacturer, this product is 70 percent as sweet as sugar, and the company recommends using 30 percent more to replace sugar in a recipe. We made sugar cookies, muffins, cake, and blueberry pie with Organic Zero and also sweetened iced tea with it. In our experience, sugar substitutes don’t perform well when baked, and Organic Zero was no different. The erythritol-sweetened cookies didn’t spread properly, and their texture was cakelike. Even worse, the erythritol left a menthol aftertaste. In the muffins and cake, this aftertaste was less noticeable, but these baked goods suffered from a chewy texture. However, the pie filling and iced tea were pleasant surprises, with half of tasters preferring the samples sweetened with Organic Zero to the ones using real sugar.
In sum, Organic Zero performed similarly to the other sugar substitutes we’ve tested in the past--good for drinks and fruit desserts, bad for cookies, and OK for muffins and cake if you’re desperate.