Tapioca Syrup Review
Tapioca Syrup is a natural liquid sweetener created from tapioca starch. This clear, neutral flavored syrup adds sweetness to various foods, and it is commonly used as an alternative to sucrose.
What Is Tapioca Syrup?
It is commonly added to confectioneries, baking products, and beverages for its’ ability to provide neutral base, which means it is free from any distinct color or flavor. It has a very high solubility and can release energy almost instantaneously due to the balanced distribution of simple and complex carbs.
This is why it is often compared to sucrose, although Tapioca Syrup does have slightly higher nutritional value than sugar crystals.
How Tapioca Syrup Is Made
Tapioca syrup comes from a brown skinned tuberous root known as cassava, which grows in Asia, Africa, and South America. It is plucked from the ground, ground into starch, and then with the use of certain enzymes, it is broken down into syrup. The results product is sweet only because of this final stage of processing.
This final process breaks down the starch molecules into polymers, which finally creates the sweet taste. The long the processing takes places, the sweeter the syrup is. Sweetness is often measured based on dextrose equivalent (DE) levels.
How It’s Used
Tapioca syrup, depending on their DE levels, will have various functions in foods and beverages. Low-DE syrups make for excellent binders since they are high viscous, which is why they are added to cereal or granola bars. However, they still lack much sweetness. High DE-syrups are very sweet, but they are not very viscous and are poor binders as a result.
The DE level and overall sugar profile of each batch of tapioca syrup influences multiple other factors. For example, tapioca syrup can influence the crunch of a granola bar, body of a baked good, thickness of a sauce, and crystal control of ice cream. This is why food manufacturers will often require specific batches of tapioca syrup with exact sugar profiles to ensure their products stay consistent.
Tapioca syrup has several home uses as well. You can use tapioca syrup in cooking and as a binding agent. It can retain moisture levels in processed meats, and it can be added to make homemade cocktails and smoothies. It is also a great alternative for corn syrup, male syrup, or honey, so any recipe that calls for one of those ingredients can use tapioca syrup instead.
Is Tapioca Syrup Healthy?
Tapioca syrup is often touted as a “healthier” alternative to sucrose, and technically those who make this claim are correct. Tapioca syrup does have a lower carbohydrate content (roughly 15% less) than sucrose, as well as a lower sugar content.
A quarter cup of tapioca contains 168 calories on average, compared to 194 in a similar size of sugar. So while tapioca syrup may be slightly better for you, it’s not necessarily “healthy.” It’s still a sugar-laden, calorie-packing additive that can do you more harm than good if you consume it on a regular basis, or in high amounts.