We all know the dangers of sugar and that we should drastically reduce consumption. Unfortunately, many people turn to artificial sweeteners as an alternative, but those are equally if not more harmful than sugar.
So, what should you use instead? Luckily, there are some natural sweeteners that won’t harm your health or expand your waistline!
But, don’t fall for the trap that natural equals healthy. Sweeteners like honey and maple syrup are all-natural, however, they are still sugar so should be used very sparingly. Somehow, agave has been grouped into the “healthy” category, which it is far from healthy. It has high-levels of fructose in it, and fructose can contribute to insulin resistance when consumed in large amounts. This can lead to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. That is a very simplified explanation. If you would like more details, you can check out this article that explains it more in-depth.
Below is my natural sweetener guide so you can make a more informed decision about which is best for you.
|Sweetener||Sweetness level||High Quality form to buy||Benefits||Things to consider|
|Stevia||About 300 times sweeter than table sugar||The actual stevia plant or check the label to verify it is from 100% whole leaf stevia. Look for RebA.||Non-caloric, no impact on blood sugar, and may reduce blood pressure||Many people dislike the aftertaste, many companies sell highly processed forms of stevia combined with other sugars|
|Xylitol||About the same sweetness as table sugar||From a non-GMO plant source||Low caloric, not a significant impact on blood sugar, some studies show it can help reduce plaque buildup and harmful bacteria in the mouth||Potential minor digestive issues in some people, can be toxic to household pets, like dogs; is very processed|
|Erythritol||About 70% as sweet as table sugar||100% erythritol||Nearly non-caloric, tastes very similar to table sugar, does not spike blood sugar or insulin, easily digested||Potential minor digestive issues in some people|
|Coconut Palm Sugar||About the same sweetness as table sugar||Check the label for coconut crystals, coconut sugar or coconut palm sugar||Has a low glycemic index, contains some nutrients and fiber||Still contains a moderate amount of fructose which should be limited|
|Agave-NOT a healthy sweetener!||1.5 times sweeter than table sugar||Organic agave||Lower glycemic index than regular table sugar||Agave contains a high percentage of fructose which is not healthy for your body and should not be consumed.|
|Honey||Slightly sweeter than table sugar||Raw, local & organic||Can help boost immune system & seasonal allergies||Just don’t overdo it, it’s still sugar|
|Lucuma Powder||Has a sweet, maple flavor||100% lucuma powder||Good source of fiber & nutrients, can help boost the immune system; does not impact blood sugar levels||Does not dissolve in beverages|
|Maple Syrup||About 3 times as sweet as table sugar||Organic pure grade B maple syrup||Lower fructose content than table sugar, contains some trace minerals||Don’t overdo it; it’s still sugar|
|Monk Fruit (lo han gou)||About 200-300 times sweeter than table sugar||Pure monk fruit or pure lo han gou sweetener||Non-caloric, no impact on blood sugar, may have anti-inflammatory benefits||Beware of certain processed brands that contain other sweeteners as well|