It’s no secret that we live in a world with a sweet tooth!
With the average American eating over 150 pounds of sugar every year, many health-conscious consumers have started on their journey to find the perfect alternative sweetener.
It’s no surprise that there are endless options for alternatives to familiar table sugar on the market, so sometimes we may need to take a step back and consider just which one fits our taste and lifestyle the best. Personally, we’re all about the natural sweeteners, so we’ve put together this list of our favorites to help you decide which one is perfect for you!
Why We Love It: This product of hardworking honeybees is liquid gold straight from Mother Nature!
What’s In It: Honey is naturally comprised of 70-80% sugar and has a relatively high glycemic index of 62. However, this thick, flavorful liquid is rich with nutrients such as amino acids, enzymes, antioxidants and other beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Did You Know: The flavor of each batch of honey is dependent on the flowers the bees used to make it. In particular, wildflower honey may have a noticeably different (though no less delicious!) flavor from bottle to bottle because of this factor.
How We Use It: Adding a bit of floral sweetness to our tea, or satisfying our early morning sweet tooth with a teaspoonful!
Why We Love It: To us, agave is a less thick, luscious honey-like liquid sweetener with notes of caramel, maple and vanilla.
What’s In It: Though it is comprised of 90% fructose, agave nectar’s sweetness comes with a low glycemic index of 30. It contains natural enzymes that stay intact as long as the nectar doesn’t reach a temperature over 118°F.
Did You Know: Agave is made from the cactus-like agave plant—the very same that’s used to make tequila!
How We Use It: Unlike honey, agave dissolves quickly, so we like to use it sweeten cold drinks such as iced tea.
Why We Love It: Move over, maple. There’s a new sweet syrup in town—one that boasts a flavor profile reminiscent of molasses and caramel. Can you say yum?
What’s In It: Featuring a low, low (did we say low?) glycemic index of 1, yacon syrup supplies beneficial antioxidants, fiber and FOS (fructooligosaccharides), which are prebiotic compounds. It is considered a low-calorie sweetener at about 40 calories per 2 tablespoons of syrup.
Did You Know: Yacon syrup is made from the tuberous root of the yacon plant found thriving in the Andes Mountains of South America. Its use dates back to the time of the ancient Incas!
How We Use It: We can’t get enough of the molasses-like flavor, so we love to use it to sweeten yogurt and smoothies.
Why We Love It: Holy sweetness! Stevia delivers up to 400 times the sweetness of regular table sugar paired with just a hint of licorice-like flavor, which is something our sweet tooth can get behind.
What’s In It: One of the original zero-calorie sweeteners to hit the market, stevia contains steviocide, a substance to thank for the plant’s sweetness as well as its lack of calories.
Did You Know: Native to the sub-tropics of Central America and Asia, the stevia plant is a perennial shrub also known as “sweet leaf.” For centuries, people have used the tiny, unassuming leaves of the stevia plant as a natural sweetener, chewing them on their own for their pleasant, sweet taste.
How We Use It: We reach for the stevia when a recipe calls for a burst of sweetness, especially in our desserts, soups and sauces!
Why We Love It: Sugar may be notorious for contributing to tooth decay, but xylitol is famous for doing just the opposite—all while boasting sensational sweetness!
What’s In It: Xylitol is actually a sugar alcohol. It has 1/3 the calories of table sugar and features a low glycemic index of 7. Since it is not absorbed completely in the gut, excess xylitol acts as a dietary soluble fiber.
Did You Know: Many “oral health”-promoting chewing gums, candies and natural toothpastes use xylitol as their sweetener! Unfortunately, xylitol is very toxic to dogs, so be sure to exercise caution when using this sugar if you have fur-babies at home.
How We Use It: There’s rarely a cake, cookie or any kind of dessert that we don’t use this wholesome sweetener as a 1:1 substitute for sugar in! However, xylitol does not work well with yeast, so steer clear in using it in your grandmother’s famous bread recipe.
Why We Love It: Because, well, is there anything coconut can’t do? We are over the moon when it comes to coconut sugar’s balance of subtle sweetness and caramel-like flavor.
What’s In It: With a low glycemic index of 35, coconut sugar is comprised of 70-79% sucrose and boasts a high mineral content. It is naturally rich in potassium and magnesium, as well as vitamins B, B2, B3 & B6.
Did You Know: This subtle sugar is produced from the sap that is extracted from cut flower buds of the coconut palm. It has been used as a natural sweetener for thousands of years in South and Southeastern Asia!
How We Use It: Whether a recipe calls for white or brown sugar, we use coconut sugar in a 1:1 replacement ratio. We rarely start our day without a cup of coffee sweetened with this versatile sugar!
Why We Love It: Not only is dextrose easily used by the body, but we can’t imagine what our protein shakes would be like without it!
What’s In It: Dextrose has a high glycemic level of 100, which is why it is a popular sweetener for athletes. 1 teaspoon of dextrose contains approximately 12 calories.
Did You Know: Dextrose is a simple sugar derived from corn, also known as glucose. It serves as a primary energy source for your body, making it especially beneficial for athletes and fitness enthusiasts!
How We Use It: It may be less sweet than regular table sugar, but dextrose finds its way into our pre- and post-workout shakes; sometimes we even sprinkle some into our water for a sweet energy boost during exercise!
Which sugar substitute do you use on the regular? Which do you want to try out?
Health & happiness,