Liquid Glucose Substitutes

If you're making a recipe that calls for liquid glucose, you may find yourself looking for a glucose substitute. While products labeled "liquid glucose" may be hard to come by, you can likely find what you need in your pantry or nearby store.

You can make your own liquid glucose substitutes.
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What is Liquid Glucose?

Glucose is a type of monosaccharide, which is the simplest form of sugar. When someone makes glucose into a syrup, it is known as liquid glucose, simple syrup or glucose syrup. HL Agro, a commercial manufacturer of glucose syrup, reports that this sweetener can be made from almost any type of starch, including:

  • Corn
  • Potatoes
  • Wheat
  • Rice

Deli Foods, another major liquid glucose supplier, writes that this popular food additive is found in baked goods, candy, lozenges, beverages, dairy products, canned goods and more. The syrup gives these products a sweet taste, moist texture and longer shelf lives. It can also give some products a shiny look.

Corn syrup is one popular type of glucose syrup. However, this is different from high-fructose corn syrup because glucose syrups, including those derived from corn, do not contain fructose. As such, it's not as sweet as other added sugars and may be used alongside other forms of sugar.

Read more: What Are Simple Sugars?

Liquid Glucose Substitutes

If your recipe calls for liquid glucose, you may find yourself scrambling to find a liquid glucose substitute. However, it's important to remember that "liquid glucose" is an umbrella term for several types of syrups. You may have the perfect liquid glucose substitute already in your pantry.

Corn syrup is readily available in many grocery stores. You may know it by the brand name Karo, which was established in 1902. You may find corn syrup in dark and light varieties, all of which are types of glucose syrups. You may also find rice syrups in several varieties.

If you can't find these ingredients in stores or prefer homemade glucose syrup, you can make your own with just a few ingredients. The Kitchn recommends the following recipe:

  • 5 1/3 cups of granulated cane sugar
  • 2 cups of water
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar

To make the homemade glucose syrup, combine the ingredients in a 4-quart pan and heat to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Then transfer to glass containers and allow the syrup to cool. You can use this homemade glucose syrup as a one-to-one liquid glucose substitute.

Read more: Differences Between Simple Sugars & Starches

Health Effects of Liquid Glucose

Sugar, including liquid glucose, can be healthfully enjoyed in moderation. However, it may be best to limit your intake. Too much added sugar can have several negative effects on your overall health.

Read more: Cut Refined Sugar: Here's How to Get Started

The Mayo Clinic reports that consuming too many added sugars in place of more nutritious foods can contribute to health problems such as:

  • Unwanted weight gain
  • High levels of triglycerides, which is a risk factor for heart disease
  • Decay of the teeth

AARP also warns against consuming too much sugar. Excess sugar, including in the form of glucose syrup, can increase a person's risk for serious conditions like heart disease, diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, chronic inflammation and some forms of cancer.

If you're watching your caloric intake, be sure to use liquid glucose carefully. The USDA reports that 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup contains more than 62 calories.

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