September 12, 2008

You Ask, I Answer: Vanilla Extract

I know you always tell us that "sugar is sugar" in terms of calories (whether it's brown, raw, or white.)

What about vanilla extract?

Does it have the same calories as sugar?

-- Linda Coyton
Hong Kong

Great question!

Vanilla extract doesn't quite fit into my "sugar is sugar" reference frame because unlike caloric sweeteners (i.e.: honey, table sugar, and agave nectar) it is not a pure carbohydrate.

The examples mentioned above all contain 4 grams of sugar per teaspoon.

A single gram of carbohydrate (remember, sugar is a carb) provides 4 calories.

Hence, a teaspoon of sugar contains 16 calories (4 grams at 4 calories per gram).

A teaspoon of vanilla extract, however, packs in approximately 13 calories.

The reason?

It contains 1 gram of sugar (4 calories) and 1.3 grams of alcohol (at 7 calories per gram, that's equal to 9.1 calories.)

A few companies offer alcohol-free vanilla extract, which provides 4 calories (1 gram of sugar and a few grams of water) per teaspoon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you shared that info. It's always bugged me how they don't have the nutrition facts on vanilla! I use it every day in oatmeal or smoothies and I love it so much.
Love this blog, btw!