Americans often get more than twice the recommended amount of added sugars in their diet. Getting too much added sugar may increase your risk for cavities, high triglycerides, obesity and heart disease and make it harder for you to control Type 2 diabetes if you have this condition, according to FamilyDoctor.org. This doesn't mean you have to give up all your sweet treats. You can cut back on sweets and make substitutions when baking, such as using applesauce instead of sugar.
Each cup of sugar has 774 calories. Swap that sugar out for the same amount of unsweetened applesauce, and you'll only be adding 102 calories to the recipe. Even sweetened applesauce saves you calories, with 167 calories per cup. This is a significant calorie savings that could help you maintain your weight or make it easier to lose weight.
Cuts Down Sugar
A cup of granulated sugar has about 200 grams of sugar. The same amount of unsweetened applesauce has about 23 grams, and even sweetened applesauce is lower in sugars, with about 36 grams per cup. This will make it easier to stay within the recommended limits for added sugar set by the American Heart Association of 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men.
Sugar is basically devoid of nutrients, but applesauce is a good source of fiber and contains small amounts of beneficial vitamins and minerals. A 1-cup serving of unsweetened applesauce provides 11 percent of the daily value for fiber, as well as 4 to 5 percent of the DV for vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin and potassium. Fiber helps you feel full and may lower your risk for heart disease and constipation. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to minimize damage to your cells, and potassium is important for counteracting the blood pressure-raising effect of sodium. You need the B vitamins thiamine and riboflavin for turning the food you eat into energy.
Requires Some Experimentation
You may have to experiment a bit with your recipes to figure out the best amount of applesauce to substitute for sugar. In some cases, you could get good results replacing all of the sugar, while in others you may want to replace just part of the sugar. Greatist.com recommends using a cup of applesauce for each cup of sugar but also reducing the amount of the liquid called for by 1/4 cup. Adding certain spices or extracts, including vanilla extract, almond extract or cinnamon, can also help increase your food's flavor without adding sugar, so you may want to do this in combination with trading the sugar for applesauce.