Rice syrup to lose weight? A reader's question answered

"Hello Trudy. A friend told me to use rice syrup instead of sugar in cooking to lose weight. The cakes I bake now don’t taste as good and I’m not losing weight. What’s the go with rice syrup?Hope you’ve got time to help me."

Your friend may have heard that rice syrup is fructose-free. Your friend may have also read that fructose causes people to gain body fat. So, the logic follows that anything fructose-free is better to lose weight, right?

Well no.

Fructose-free does not mean calorie/kilojoule-free. Rice syrup doesn’t help you lose weight. For weight loss, total calories (kilojoules) matter more.

Let me explain a little about rice syrup.

Rice syrup is a type of sugar but it tastes no where near as sweet as traditional sugar. Spoon for spoon, rice syrup has about the same calorie or kilojoule content as traditional sugar.

Because it is less sweet you need to use a lot more to get the same taste. If you add a spoon of sugar to tea, you’d need a spoon and a half of rice syrup for the same sweetness. More rice syrup means more calories to get the same sweetness that you are used to.

Instead of 1 cup table sugar, you’d need almost 1.5 cups of rice syrup for the same sweetness. A cake recipe won’t work with this drastic change.

Some fructose-free advocates say you can substitute a cup rice syrup for a cup sugar in a cake but the result will be chewy and much less sweet than usual.

What they also forget to tell you is that you need to fiddle other ingredients and the method (such as reduce amount of liquid, add an acidity regulator and reduce oven T) to get a tweaked recipe to work.

Now you know rice syrup will not help you lose weight, what are some other approaches to cake?

How often do you bake and eat cakes? My thoughts are that it would be far better to bake your trusted cake recipes and adjust how much and how often you eat cake.

A smaller slice eaten less often makes a bigger difference to your health and weight than substituting rice syrup for sugar. Easier said than done? Purists will tell you to cut cake out all together but I am a realist so here are a few tips to help you out:

  • Bake a smaller cake. If you bake one cake once a week, a smaller cake means less eaten at the end of the week. You still get to enjoy a delicious trusted recipe, simply in a smaller total amount. Not sure how to adjust the recipe for a smaller cake pan? Email me and I’ll help you out.
  • Freeze all or half the cake and bury it at the back of the freezer. You may forget it is there.
  • Bake the mix in a cupcake or mini-muffin tin. Freeze single cupcake serves.
  • If you mostly bake for others, make cakes that have less appeal for you. You may find you eat less. Less cake means better weight loss.

Hope that helps you enjoy delicious cake without guilt and still lose weight.

Life's too short not to eat cake ... who said that?