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Replacing Fat and Sugar in a Recipe

Even though your grandmother’s recipes are unique and sacred, nothing prevents you from modifying them a little bit to fit them in your balanced nutrition.


For a bit of novelty, white sugar can be replaced with honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, or cane sugar. Concerning the nutritional value, there is no difference between these sugars, apart from higher levels of certain minerals in maple syrup. The amount of calories stays the same! Also, remember that liquid sugars (honey, maple syrup, agave syrup) contain more water than white sugar. If you use them instead of other ingredients, make sure to remove as much liquid as you are adding!


In cooking, fat is used to maintain humidity. So when we want to remove some of the fat from a recipe, it is important to replace it with an ingredient that keeps or adds water. Otherwise, your cakes, cookies, and muffins will be dry and coarse. For example, you can substitute half of the fat with orange juice, pureed fruit without added sugar, fat-free yogurt, or pureed black or red beans.

If you have to choose between butter and margarine, you should choose soft, non-hydrogenated margarine, which contains less saturated fats, and more good fats. Light margarine contains half the calories and fat of regular margarine. As an example, changing butter for light margarine or pureed fruits in a muffin recipe is equivalent to cutting forty calories per muffin… or a small bowl of strawberries as an accompaniment!

Don’t forget that by cutting part of the fat, the result might become dry faster. I advise you to keep your healthy pastries in a bread bin.

To conclude, do not lose heart if your culinary efforts do not work on the first try! The best advice I can give you is to experiment!

By Vanessa Martin

Vanessa Martin

A newcomer to Nautilus Plus, Vanessa Martin holds a degree in nutrition from the Université de Montréal and is a member in good standing of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec. She also works in the hospital setting and loves to blog in her spare time. Passionate and versatile, Vanessa plans on enhancing her knowledge in the field of psychology with an eye to better guiding and motivating the habit-changing endeavors of her clients. Member of a running club, she enjoys taking part in the competitions organized in her area. Vanessa is currently training for a 21 km race and would like to run her first marathon!

Replacing Fat and Sugar in a Recipe is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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