Review: Ideal Brown Sugar Substitute

What can brown do for you? Plenty.

Have you been searching for an amazing brown sugar blend that doesn’t contain actual brown sugar (like other brown sugar subs) to accomplish what we didn’t think could be accomplished? Looking for a lower carb sugar replacement and bake mix with the amazingness of xylitol and the ability to simply measure and pour? Ideal No Calorie Sweetener is the Sonny to your Cher. It’s got you, babe. 

Combining xylitol with maltodextrin (a polysaccharide and additive) with sucralose and molasses, this bake mix is simple to use. Just sub exactly like sugar! And because each bag contains the sweetness equivalent to two pounds of sugar, you’re going to have this on hand for some time.

I used the sweetener to make this decadent pumpkin cheesecake and was absolutely happy with the flavor and color. The molasses is minimal yet marvelous, and at .5 net carbs per tsp or 24 net carbs per cup, you can afford to make your favorite recipes and not panic about your carbs.

While the product contains a wee bit of sucralose for added sweetener, the product prides itself on being over 99% natural by volume, something people following a healthy, whole foods lifestyle can appreciate.

I was excited to try this product, and so made a caramel sauce with it almost immediately. The process was terrific, though there was some separation of liquids in the pan that I can’t necessarily blame on the product. I had also added vanilla, which likely caused the change (that was remedied through mixing and using the product while warm).I can’t wait to try cookies, breads, cakes and other recipes with their product!

The product performed like Johnny Weir on the red carpet when I used it for a rib and brisket rub I recently enjoyed. There was no perceivable difference between brown sugar and ‘the real thing’in terms of taste and performance. I’m sold.

It’s a breath of fresh air to finally score a xylitol brown sugar product that is actually lower in carbohydrates.That said, I’ll definitely continue to use this sweetener. I mean come on; a brown sugar sub with all the benefits of xylitol, including the promotion of tooth health? I think of it this way–You won’t have to gum your cookies.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ (would be five save for carb count)
Price: $5.89
Usefulness: No actual brown sugar makes for w00t. Try with baking, frostings, beverages, sauces, desserts, marinades
Negative: Toxicity to dogs, higher carb count
Found at: These stores and online retailers like
Dollar off coupon

Disclosure: This product was provided to me for review but hasn’t affected what I think of the stuff.

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  1. Please remember anyone reading this, xylitol can be fatal to dogs. It's good to keep reminding ourselves of this.

  2. Hi Jamie,

    I really enjoy your blog, although I do not low carb anymore. I went from low carbing to the glycemic load diet, now back to Weight Watchers and for the first in a decade I am 10 lb.s lighter and on my way. WW is unveiling a totally brand new plan in 2011 (actually after Thanksgiving for current members), and it sounds totally livable. According to what I read on WW's financial forecast, it is the biggest change in WW in over a decade since points were introduced. I say all this because I know you mentioned you were a previous WW member. I am losing weight again since joining WW and look forward to the new plan.

    Sorry I got longwinded, but what I REALLY wanted to say is that I enjoy your blog very much and am happy you changed the name to just "The Lighter Side". I can use many of your recipes on my plan, perhaps decreasing the fat, and they're good to go.

    Thanks for keeping us updated with new products, recipes, etc. Your blog has the potential to be very far ranging, not just for those doing low carb.

    I still eat your "nosh" lunches, pepperoni (turkey on WW), an ounce of almonds and some stuffed olives. Awesome.

    Keep on keepin' on…I got so many great ideas from you.

    Thanks and keep up the good work.


    i made these last night, to die for!

    Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins
    by cheeseslave on October 8, 2008
    the recipe is from Bruce Fife’s new book, Cooking with Coconut Flour: A Delicious Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Alternative to Wheat. Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins
    Makes 6 muffins

    Eggs, pastured (3)

    Butter, grass-fed (2 TBS) — *SUBBED W/ 2TBS COCONUT BUTTER*

    Coconut milk (2 TBS)


    8 ounces organic fresh or frozen blueberries (3 TBS) — *SUBBED WITH CRANBERRIES

    Sea salt (1/4 tsp)

    Vanilla, organic, additive-free (1/4 tsp) *SUBBED WITH LEMON EXTRACT

    Coconut flour (1/4 cup) —
    Baking powder ** (1/4 tsp)

    1. Blend together eggs, butter, coconut milk, honey, salt, and vanilla.Make sure things are room temperature so the coconut butter does not re-solidify.
    2. Combine coconut flour with baking powder and thoroughly mix into batter until there are no lumps.
    3. Drain blueberries and dry with paper towels. Add to batter with a spoon.
    4. Pour batter into muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 C) for 15 minutes.

  4. Your Lighter Side says

    That sounds pretty yummy!

  5. Niara Isley says

    I found this site doing a search for alternatives to brown sugar. Sucralose is toxic and dangerous, causing weight gain over time as the body works to keep the toxins from harming the body. Sucralose is sugar treated with chlorine, a poison – do your own internet research on it! Xylitol is fine, Stevia, used in the right way is wonderful, but I will never ever put anything with sucralose into my body. Too bad a product like this had to use such a horrible and toxic substance as part of the manufacturing. Maltodextrin is not a very healthy additive either for that matter, depending on where it comes from.

    • Thank you for writing! I agree that maltodextrins and artificial sweetneners should only be used in moderation by those who prefer them and can tolerate them. It’s definitely a YMMV type of thing.

      I have tried Stevia, but I’m not a fan of the taste and its behavior in baking. I know others love it. I wish I did. My favorites remain the combination of sucralose and xylitol for the most believable “sugar” behavior and bulking.

      The benefit of this site (among others) is that anyone can sub in their favorite sweeteners/sugars that measure cup-for-cup like sugar.

  6. I’ve flummoxed to find that Ideal brand Brown Sugar is no longer produced by this company. This is really unfortunate, as I’ve been buying the stuff for three years now as a replacement for white sugar on cereal, in coffee and in baking. I didn’t care for Ideal’s White sugar substitute, but was surprised to find their Brown very palatable. (I’d tried 5 different brands of artificial sweeteners before deciding on the Ideal Brown.)

    • Has anyone found a replacement for Ideal Brown Sugar? Why did they discontinue making it? I have tried several other alternatives and thus far cannot tolerate them. Will I have to mix an artificial sweetener I like with molasses (is there a no, or low calorie, decent molasses out there???)?

      I am indeeeeeed heartbroken Heartland, Ideal Brown Sugar makers…..


  1. […] from Splenda to erythritol/xylitol. I’ve reviewed the regular Ideal blend review and the Brown Sugar blend review, so if you live near an Albertson’s, it’s worth a trip to the store. Please note that […]

  2. […] comes in regular granular baking blend (in the cheesecake) and–are you ready for this– brown sugar (in the caramel layer), both of which lend to the extreme gorgeousness of this 10″ […]

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