Many health food companies try to avoid adding refined sugar to their products, so they use natural sugar substitutes instead. Stevia, brown rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, and agave nectar are a few examples, but I have also seen barley malt in lists of ingredients. It's often used in cereals, granola bars, mixes, sauces, and baked goods.
Barley malt is made from sprouted barley. It's thick, dark, and has a mellow malt flavor. It's a favorite of health food companies because it's considered a slow-digesting sweetener. It also has half the sweetness of refined sugar, so it's great to use in your own kitchen and to make breads, sauces, veggie dishes, and, of course, home-brewed beer. To see how it compares to sugar
|When substituting barley malt for refined white or brown sugar, use 1 1/3 cups of barley malt for 1 cup of sugar, and reduce the liquid in the recipe by about 1/4 cup. You can also add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of barley malt used in your baked goods to make them less dense.
Honestly though, both sugar and barley malt are high on the glycemic index, meaning they enter and leave your bloodstream quickly, so they're not exactly healthy for you. Even though barley malt is made from a grain, it's still a sweetener and it affects your body in the same way as sugar. Keep this in mind when thinking about this and other sugar substitutes.