Hershey’s sugar free chocolate syrup is a popular low calorie alternative to regular chocolate syrup that contains no sugar. For people watching their sugar intake or managing diabetes, sugar free chocolate syrup allows them to still enjoy the chocolate flavor they love in drinks, desserts, or as a topping without the added sugar. But how can chocolate syrup taste sweet without any sugar? This article will explore what sweeteners are used in Hershey’s sugar free chocolate syrup to provide the sweet taste without sugar.
What sweeteners replace sugar in Hershey’s sugar free chocolate syrup?
According to the ingredient list on Hershey’s sugar free chocolate flavored syrup, the primary sweetener used is sucralose. Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that is about 600 times sweeter than regular sugar. So only a very small amount is needed to provide the sweetness usually supplied by sugar. Sucralose provides sweetness without calories or carbohydrates, making it useful for reduced sugar products.
In addition to sucralose, Hershey’s sugar free chocolate syrup contains acesulfame potassium (also known as ace-K). Like sucralose, ace-K is an artificial sweetener that is about 200 times sweeter than sugar. Ace-K is often combined with sucralose in sugar free products because together they provide more rounded, sugar-like sweetness than using either one alone. The synergy between sucralose and ace-K allows sugar free chocolate syrup to taste sweet and chocolatey without any sugar added.
Benefits of sucralose and ace-K as sugar substitutes
Sucralose and ace-K offer several advantages that make them well-suited for use in Hershey’s sugar free chocolate syrup:
– Zero calories and carbs: Unlike sugar which contains 4 calories per gram, sucralose and ace-K provide no calories or carbohydrates, allowing the syrup to be lower calorie. This makes it ideal for weight management, ketogenic diets, or diabetes meal plans.
– Heat stability: Sucralose and ace-K are very heat stable, meaning they don’t break down or lose sweetness when used in baking or cooking. This allows the chocolate syrup to maintain its sweet taste even when warmed.
– Sugar-like taste: Sucralose and ace-K mimic the taste of sugar closely, especially when used together. This provides a more realistic sweet chocolate flavor than older artificial sweeteners like aspartame.
– Shelf stability: Products made with sucralose and ace-K have excellent shelf stability at normal storage temperatures. So the chocolate syrup can be stored conveniently in the pantry without losing its sweetness.
– Safety: Both sucralose and ace-K have been extensively tested and approved for safety by health authorities. When consumed in moderation, they do not pose health risks for most people.
Potential downsides of sucralose and ace-K
While sucralose and ace-K offer important benefits for sugar free chocolate syrup, there are some potential downsides to consider:
– Artificial taste: Some find the sweetness from sucralose or ace-K to have an artificial or chemical aftertaste compared to real sugar. The taste may not satisfy those who strongly prefer natural sweeteners.
– Gastrointestinal effects: In some sensitive individuals, consuming sucralose or ace-K may cause gastrointestinal side effects like bloating, cramping or diarrhea. The amount found in chocolate syrup is typically well-tolerated by most.
– Allergies: Though rare, hypersensitivity reactions to sucralose or ace-K can occur. Those with known food allergies should check labels to ensure safety.
– Not nutritious: Like sugar, sucralose and ace-K only provide sweetness without any nutrients. Sugar free chocolate syrups are not a health food, even though they are lower in sugar and calories.
– Expense: Sucralose and ace-K tend to be more expensive ingredients than sugar. This can drive up the costs of sugar free products compared to regular varieties.
Are there natural sugar free sweeteners?
In addition to artificial sweeteners, some sugar free chocolate syrups use non-nutritive natural sweeteners to reduce or replace sugar content:
– Stevia leaf extract: Stevia is extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant. It contains no calories and has a glycemic index of zero.
– Monk fruit extract: Monk fruit sweetener comes from an Asian fruit and contains zero calories and carbs.
– Erythritol: This sugar alcohol provides about 70% the sweetness of sugar with 95% less calories.
– Xylitol: Derived from birch trees and fibers, xylitol has 40% fewer calories than sugar and does not impact blood sugar.
– Yacon syrup: Made from yacon root, this syrup is very low in calories and high in fiber.
– Inulin: Inulin is a prebiotic soluble fiber that offers a mild sweetness.
Does Hershey’s make any sugar free syrups with natural sweeteners?
Currently, Hershey’s sugar free chocolate syrup relies on sucralose and ace-K rather than any natural sweeteners. However, Hershey’s does produce some other sugar free syrup flavors that contain stevia, including:
– Hershey’s sugar free strawberry syrup, sweetened with stevia
– Hershey’s sugar free caramel flavored syrup, made with stevia
– Hershey’s sugar free chocolate chip coffee syrup, containing stevia
So while stevia isn’t used in their sugar free chocolate offering, Hershey’s does recognize the demand for natural sweeteners by incorporating stevia into some of their other sugar free syrup varieties.
How does Hershey’s sugar free chocolate syrup taste?
Here is a brief taste review of Hershey’s sugar free chocolate flavored syrup:
– Appearance: Dark brown, opaque, thick and glossy syrup consistency. Pours easily from the bottle.
– Aroma: Rich chocolate smell when the bottle is first opened. No harsh artificial scents.
– Flavor: Initial taste is semi-sweet and mildly chocolatey. The chocolate flavor is not as robust as regular Hershey’s syrup. Lingering aftertaste has a slightly artificial, chemical sweetness.
– Sweetness: Definitely sweet thanks to the sucralose and ace-K, but not an exact match for regular sugar’s taste. The sweetness has a diet soda-like quality.
– Mouthfeel: Light and syrupy without being overly thick or sticky. Dissolves cleanly into milk or coffee.
– Uses: Good for chocolate milk, ice cream sundaes, or coffee flavoring. The off-taste may be more noticeable in delicate desserts. Not ideal for standalone uses where chocolate flavor is central.
– Nutrition: 0g sugar and 5 calories per 1/4 cup serving. Provides chocolate flavor for minimal calories.
Does Hershey’s sugar free syrup curdle milk?
One common question about Hershey’s sugar free chocolate syrup is whether it curdles or separates when mixed into milk. Fortunately, Hershey’s sugar free chocolate syrup generally does NOT curdle milk. Here’s why:
– Artificial sweeteners don’t react with milk proteins like real sugar does. So sucralose and ace-K avoid the interaction that causes curdling.
– The syrup is formulated not to split or curdle. It contains emulsifiers and stabilizers to ensure the chocolate blends smoothly into milk.
– The syrup is thin enough that it incorporates fully when stirred, rather than clumping.
– Cooler milk temperatures prevent curdling. Adding chilled milk to the syrup prevents separation.
So while sugary chocolate syrup often needs hot milk to dissolve properly, Hershey’s sugar free version can be added to cold milk without issue. The result is chocolate milk that stays mixed and appetizing.
Does Hershey’s sugar free chocolate syrup expire?
Like regular Hershey’s chocolate syrup, the sugar free variety also carries a manufacturer’s expiration date. This best by date indicates how long the unopened syrup is estimated to stay fresh and retain peak quality when stored properly.
For an unopened bottle of Hershey’s sugar free chocolate flavored syrup, the expiration date is generally around 2 years from the production date. The expiry is printed on the bottom of the bottle in a MM/YYYY format.
Once opened, Hershey’s recommends using the bottle of sugar free chocolate syrup within 6 months. An opened bottle stored in the refrigerator may start to show some deterioration in taste and texture after 6 months, though it is often still usable and safe for a while after that.
Proper storage is important for maximizing the shelf life before and after opening. An unopened bottle should be stored in a cool, dry pantry away from direct light. Refrigeration can extend the life of an opened bottle. Overall, checking the quality using sight, smell and taste provides the best gauge for freshness.
Hershey’s sugar free chocolate syrup offers a popular lower calorie, lower sugar option for those who want to reduce sugar in their diet but still crave the taste of chocolate. Replacing sugar with a blend of the artificial sweeteners sucralose and ace-K allows Hershey’s sugar free chocolate syrup to deliver sweetness without calories or blood sugar impact. While not a perfect match for the taste of sugar, sucralose and ace-K provide a reasonable approximation of chocolatey flavor. And by avoiding real sugar, this syrup can be used by people with diabetes, food allergies or other health conditions to help satisfy chocolate cravings safely. Stored properly and consumed within recommended timelines, Hershey’s sugar free chocolate syrup provides an accessible way to make lighter drinks and desserts with chocolate flavor.