Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Review : Sweet Freedom - A Fruit-Based Alternative To Refined Sugar

Sweet Freedom


LOW GI/GL - SWEETENS LIKE SUGAR - SUITABLE FOR DIABETICS (as part of a healthy balanced diet) - GREAT IN BAKING - TEA- COFFEE - MILKSHAKES - And much more!


Well as many of you who have been following 'Kelly Martin Speaks' will know, I am always on the look-out for not too-unhealthy refined sugar alternatives, so while I have tried many now, I was still looking for something that was a good alternative for many things, including popping in my coffee and hot drinks. I found that stevia was not a great all-rounder, xylitol is okay in moderation (causes me bloating when I have too much) and while honey is fab, it sometimes didn't fit well in baking certain products and didn't go well in my coffee. 

I gave up refined sugar 9 months ago, and while I occasionally have it by accident or when there is no alternative when dining out, I wanted something I could carry in my bag, drizzle over pancakes, use in my favourite new hobby of baking and well... whatever else I needed when my taste-buds needed sweetness. I wanted something that wouldn't shoot my blood sugar up and down and that I could use as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Imagine my surprise to discover a product that apparently has been on the supermarket shelves all along. How did I not see? Anyway, that aside, I am glad I found it and the product is Sweet Freedom.


The Story


Sweet Freedom is the brainchild of Tina Michelucci & Deborah Pyner a dedicated team who have a plethora of experience and knowledge in writing and creating low GL recipes. They wrote their first book with the help of dietician Nigel Denby, about the GL (Glycemic Load) of foods, more accurate than the GI (Glycemic Index). While writing gorgeous recipes they reached a stumbling block on creating recipes that were sweet and without artificial nasties. As Deborah's Mum was renowned for her brownies sweetened with apple sauce, they thought: 'How hard could it be to make a sweetener made entirely from fruit?' And so over a 3 year period they created the first sweetener in the world made 100% from fruit, that was easy to use and practically packaged. From this Sweet Freedom they then launched Choc Shot and I have had the pleasure of trying these goodies out.

One thing about this story also gives me faith in what they are doing, is that Deborah’s husband is diabetic so sugar was out for them and as they too could not stand the taste of artificial sweeteners or 'low cal' hot chocs they set out upon their personal challenge.

So let's see how Sweet Freedom tests out.



SWEET FREEDOM - Original


Ingredients: Syrup made from natural fruit extracts (apples, grapes and carob)

Sweet Freedom Coffee




Tastes and sweetens just like white sugar
100% natural
Made from 100% fruit; apples, grapes and carob
25% fewer calories than sugar
Use 25% less gram for gram
Low GI / GL - no energy highs and lows
Suitable for diabetics as part of a healthy diet
NO artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives
Produced using a water process with no chemicals or enzymes used
GM & gluten free
Suitable for vegetarians and vegans
Made in UK
23g of fructose per 100g (sugar is 50g, honey 40g, agave syrup 90g)
Branded products called 'fruit' sugars are made from sugar beet and are 100% processed fructose
(Sweet Freedom Dark is same as the above list also).



What's It Like?


This good sized bottle (350g) of Sweet Freedom contains 100% fruit; has a lovely nectar-like colour and an easy-pouring spout. My main test of the Original so far has been in coffee. I wanted something that tasted like sugar but without the high GL/GI that affected my blood sugar levels. As it is low GL I was able to use the same amount of Sweet Freedom as I would use of sugar and I did not have to use the yacky tasting artificial sweeteners either. I used this at home in coffee and I also popped it in my handbag for my weekly visits to the coffee shop.

After dropping the syrup into my coffee and stirring, I was able to enjoy my coffee like I used to, sweetened to perfection without the feeling I was ingesting some baddy. Thumbs up for Sweet Freedom Original. And much like baking, I recommend licking the spoon!

For diabetics reading, I am not an expert, but as long as you use this as part of a balanced diet, as it is low GL, it may be a great alternative if you are missing the taste of sugar and are fed up with artificial yackies. I recommend testing your blood sugar before and after to see how you go with it. Tina and Deborah seem to have a lot of knowledge on this subject, so I will leave it to them to fill you in further, and I am sure they won't mind you asking questions. I will post the contact details at the bottom of this post.



Sweet Freedom Dark


Ingredients: Syrup made from natural fruit extracts (apples, grapes and carob)


Sweet Freedom On Pancakes


What's It Like?


This was syrupy yumness. It tasted slightly like treacle but with not-as-strong a taste. It worked perfectly drizzled over my buckwheat pancakes and bananas. I normally have them without anything on top so this was a lovely treat. I also tried out one of Sweet Freedom's on-line recipes HERE. I decided on something simple to compare with my other baking experiments. I baked chocolate chip cookies with a twist. My twist was that I had no chocolate chips, so I used some chocolate mulberry bits and they worked fine. The recipe was surprisingly moist, but Mike, my willing guinea pig, who normally doesn't like anything with chocolate in it, has been going back for more from the plate. I am not sure I will have many left at this rate. I only used 50ml of Sweet Freedom Dark in my cookie recipe and this was perfectly sweet. I couldn't tell the difference between this and other syrups or sugar in my cookies. But I will let you be the judge, as I have been refined-sugar free for some time now.

Sweet Freedom Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies





With the Sweet Freedom Dark I am looking forward to further baking and experimenting, and for when I just need a slice of toast with something sweet on it. This is so easy to use and not as sticky as honey so it was far easier to clean off cooking utensils and less sticky on spoons.


And please note that even though these are made of fruit, they don't taste of apple or the ingredients' main flavours; they taste like good quality syrups.


And the Pièce de résistance  (Major yum - my translation)

Sweet Freedom - CHOC SHOT!




Liquid hot chocolate that's not just for drinking



Ingredients: Sweet Freedom (natural fruit extracts; apples, grapes & carob), water, cocoa, rapeseed oil, natural chocolate flavour.


ChocShot Liquid Hot Chocolate



100% natural
Sweetened with our magic ingredient, award-winning Sweet Freedom
Only 14 calories per teaspoon
Low GI / GL - no energy highs and lows
Suitable for diabetics as part of a healthy diet
NO artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives
GM & gluten free
Suitable for vegetarians and vegans
Made in the UK


What's It Like?


Okay, take one human being, walk into a lovely cafe, order a hot chocolate; sit down, bring the cup to your lips, taste the yummiest, tastiest hot chocolate you've ever had - and then realise you are at home and you have just added Choc Shot to some hot milk.

Seriously, this is Choc Shot. I was utterly surprised. 

It came out of the bottle thicker than the other Sweet Freedom products and I was not convinced it would taste nice. I added the required amount, stirred and voilà, perfect hot chocolate. And yes, unlike my usual stirring and stirring and stirring needed when I make a hot cocoa this was totally not necessary. It blends easily and perfectly.

Now, is it something I would drink all the time? No. I will have it maybe once or twice a week as a treat, as it's a really rich and tasty hot chocolate. Sweeter than my usual cocoa with honey but totally delightful at those times when I perhaps feel a bit stressed out or have no chocolate in the house and this ticks all those boxes. It was even great to dip my chocolate chip cookies in. This is a keeper and I will definitely be buying this again.

In addition to making hot chocolate with 'Choc Shot' you can also use it to drizzle over pancakes, add to milkshakes, add to sweet toast concoctions and I am sure there are many more uses. For more ideas 'Sweet Freedom' have some fun easy recipes HERE


Who Will Like Sweet Freedom?


People who hate the thought of those poisonous artificial sweeteners like the dreaded aspartame.




People who are diabetic and want to indulge a little while maintaining a healthy diet.



People who are on a sugar-detox like me, who want some sweetness, not all the time, but who want the option of using a natural sweetener.



People on a low GL diet who want options for dessert and sweet sauces.



People who go out for coffee in cafes and do not to put refined sugar or sweeteners in, a bottle in the handbag goes a long way.



People who love to bake but do not use refined-sugar, find stevia too bitter and find honey too strong a flavour in certain recipes.



People in general!



OVERALL SUMMARY Of Sweet Freedom


Easy to use, tastes amazing, Original & Dark 100% made from fruit, no refined sugar or nasty sweeteners, works well in baking, cooking, tea, coffee, ice-cream, pancakes. Choc Shot really compares favourably to great hot chocolate in a cafe.

My brain is telling me it can't be true that it is this good and made from fruit. Wish it was a little less expensive as I can see me using a lot of this.


If this has wetted your appetite for trying Sweet Freedom you can purchase it online HERE and Asda, Sainsbury and other supermarkets stock it (check the hot chocolate and sugar shelf). For orders outside the UK you can purchase from britstore.co.uk who ship worldwide You can also keep up to date with Sweet Freedom on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE


*Post Disclaimer: I received Sweet Freedom Original, Dark & Choc Shot from Sweet Freedom in the UK for review. All opinions are my own.  

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