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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

There's more to the sweet

I imagine dining out is particularly difficult for a diabetic with a sweet tooth. After all, so few restaurants offer conscientious options for sugarless dessert even as they make the grand accommodations for vegetarians (a situation that is often just a lifestyle choice for the diner). Even some simple grilled fruit would make a memorable end to a meal for someone so frequently ignored in most dining gatherings.

Then again, sugar carries some important qualities far beyond it's use as a sweetening agent. Try as you might, common sugar substitutes cannot be used to make jams or syrups, and meringues will come out less than ideal. These are recipes that rely heavily on the innate chemical properties of sucrose, or common table sugar. The high concentration of sugar in jams, for example, not only serve to flavor, but also act as a preservative. Any bacteria that attempt to grow dehydrate quickly. Nature uses this same high concentration of sugar trick: honey keeps without refrigeration for precisely this reason.

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