5 Best Sugar Substitutes

Try these safe and healthy sugar substitutes.

Oct 28, 2020

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Many people consume large amounts of sugar every day. Besides the spoon of sugar, you put in your morning coffee, you may be ingesting sugar in the foods you eat and beverages you drink without even knowing it.

Excessive sugar consumption can hurt your health according to Healthline by harming your metabolism by interfering with the hormones that regulate hunger and feeling sated as well as increasing your risk of diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, and poor oral health.

While using honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, or one of the other commonly used sweeteners are better for you than processed white sugar, they are not an option for people who are diabetics. That’s why artificial sweeteners were invented but some of them may come with their own potential health risks.

With the holiday season beginning with Halloween and continuing through the New Year, now is the best time to cut back on sugar. Fortunately, there are safe alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Stevia Leaf Extracts

Stevia leaves are a plant-based sweetener that is extracted from the leaves of a South American Shrub according to Healthline and in the case of sugar extracts, natural is better. There are zero calories in stevia which is up to 250 times sweeter than sugar. And unlike many sweeteners, you can cook and bake with it.

A surprising benefit of this sweetener is that it is packed full of health benefits including nutrients and phytochemicals. And according to a study the stevioside in stevia has anti-diabetes properties. Stevia leaves sweetener is sold under the popular brand names: Truvia, NuStevia, and Sweetleaf and is available in supermarkets.

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Erythritol

Erythritol is made of sugar alcohol that is found in small quantities in some fruits according to Nutrition Action, but it contains far fewer calories. This sweetener does not raise your blood sugar, insulin, or your cholesterol according to Healthline. It tastes almost exactly like sugar so it is easy to make the switch. You can purchase Erythritol in the green section of markets, health food stores or online.

Monk Fruit Sweetener

This sweetener is extracted from monk fruit, a native Southeast Asia plant. The plant’s extract contains mogrosides, which are very sweet – 150 to 200 times sweeter than sugar – according to Medical News Today. It contains zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and the FDA considers monk fruit safe to use. An added benefit is that monk fruit contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Monk fruit sweetener can be purchased as granules, powders and liquids and is available in health food stores and online.

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Xylitol

Made from sugar alcohol, this sweetener that is found in birch trees and corn according to Nutrition Action. It is about as sweet as sugar but with fewer calories. Xylitol lacks the fructose that is found in sugar so it is much healthier to use because it does not raise your blood sugar or insulin levels. Just be careful not to overuse because it could produce a laxative effect and contribute to gastrointestinal distress. You can purchase Xylitol in the green sections of grocers, health food stores and online.

Sucralose

Sucralose, commonly known as SPLENDA® is hardly a new kid on the block. Sucralose is actually made from sugar but it is not a sugar according to Food Insight. There is a process used to replace parts of the molecule that results in a no-calorie sweetener that is 600 times sweeter than sugar. Sucralose can be cooked and baked with and is a common ingredient in soft drinks, chewing gum, canned fruits, and much more.

Sucralose’s safety is assured by over 100 studies over 20 years of research. The FDA approved its use in 1998 as a special use food and expanded that to all foods and beverages in 1999. You can purchase SPLENDA® and other brands of Sucralose sweeteners in supermarkets.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.