Sugar-free Sweetness

Being my bum self, I spent quite a few hours at the gym earlier today. There is some point to going to the gym (aside from helping me kill time): it helps me fit into my pants every day without them bursting a button or a zipper. Given my family’s predilection for food, every little bit of calorie-shaving counts.

Some of you may know that my family has practically sworn off sugar as part of our everyday lifestyle. No, we’re not diabetic, but we’re simply trying to lighten the caloric load our bodies have to process. Also, sugar = carbohydrates. There’s scientific evidence that shows cutting down on carbs results in faster short-term weight loss because you eat less.

With last Sunday being Father’s Day, my family felt it our duty to treat our dad to all his favorite foods. After lunch at Italianni’s, we were looking for a sweet dessert. Of course, it had to be sugar-free.

Sugarnot! storefront

For that, we went to Sugarnot! Cafe at Podium Mall in Ortigas. My mom had spotted the small store with the intriguing name when she had dinner with some colleagues at Pagliacci, and she’d brought home some creampuffs, walnut rolls, and ensaymada for us to sample. We liked them so much that we couldn’t wait to try the other choices they offered.

Sugarnot’s selling point is simple: everything is sugar-free, low-fat, and low-carb. According to the helpful and informative staff behind the counter, the owner suffers from diabetes. He set up the cafe so that people who couldn’t have sugar could still indulge in sweets.

In place of sugar, the cafe uses Isomalt in its products. Isomalt is a sweetener made from sugar beet processed by an enzyme. This renders it only partially digestible and thus reduces its caloric content and glycemic impact — a boon for dieters and diabetics alike. Some local bakers, most notably Uncle George (you can find their products in Greenhills Tiangge) have already been using it as a sugar substitute with great success.

Sugarnot!: cake view As we entered Sugarnot to place our orders, we gravitated toward the pastries on display. There was tiramisu, a chocolate cake called the Last Temptation, and a New York cheesecake. Sugarnot!: Isomalt We ended up ordering a piece of each of these choices along with a fist-sized chocolate chip cookie. My parents also ordered cappuccino, while Marielle ordered an iced guilt-free caramel blended drink.

The coffee drinks complimented the cheesecake, the tiramisu, and the chocolate chip cookie. The Last Temptation cake was especially good; I can say with conviction that it was the best chocolate cake I’d ever tasted. It was moist and had just the right amount of sweetness.

Need I say we found the entire experience extremely satisfying? We’ll definitely be back for more. Of course, food of any kind should be taken in moderation. It’s just comforting to know that trying to lose weight doesn’t necessarily mean depriving oneself of the joys of sweets.

UPDATE: DessertFirst and ShopCrazy review Sugarnot! Ü

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