You might think sugar only sweetens your favourite cupcake recipe, but it actually plays a couple of other roles as well. You might not have heard of the Maillard reaction, but it’s responsible for many of your favourite foods. In this process, sugars react with amino acids to form a variety of compounds that are responsible for everything from the brown crusts on breads to the golden-brown deliciousness of French fries. No sugar means no Maillard reaction, so cutting sugar from your cinnamon rolls means no golden brown crust. Sugar is also hygroscopic, meaning it tends to absorb water from its surroundings. It’s this property that helps cakes stay moist, and why your ‘healthier’ muffins might seem like dry sawdust.