Comparing Sugar Substitutes

Agave 

Source: Made from agave plants. Native to the southern and western US, Mexico, and South America

Forms: Syrup

Health Benefit: Mostly made up of fructose (the sugar found naturally in fruit), which doesn’t spike blood sugar as much as regular sugar does

Calories: 21 per teaspoon compared with 16 for sugar. Since it’s slightly sweeter you can use less

Compared to Sugar: 1.5  times sweeter

Uses:

  • Added to iced tea, smoothies, cocktails
  • Used in energy bars
  • Tequila is made from blue agave
  • Can pour onto pancakes and other foods

Blackstrap Molasses

Source: By-product of sugarcane

Nutrition: Magnesium

Flavor: Bitter on its own

Uses: 

  • Adds a rich smoky sweetness to spicy or savory dishes & baked goods like gingerbread

Coconut Sugar

Source: Made from the sap of coconut-tree blossoms

Nutrition: Zinc, Potassium, Iron, Vitamin B

Form: Granular

Flavor: Caramel taste, no coconut flavor

Uses:

  • Works well in coffee or tea
  • Can substitute for white or brown sugar in recipes

Raw Honey:

Health Benefits: Raw honey contains disease-fighting antioxidants that may be destroyed during pasteurization. Local honey may reduce allergy symptoms

Calories: 21 per teaspoon compared with 16 for sugar

Uses:

  • Stir into coffee, tea, smoothies, and oatmeal
  • Spread on bread for sandwiches
  • Creamier & richer than regular honey so a little goes a long way

Maple Syrup

Health Benefits: Contains up to 54 antioxidant compounds which may help combat cancer and diabetes

Uses:

  • Topping for pancakes & waffles and ice cream
  • Use in BBQ sauce or salad dressing
  • Make glazes or gravies for pork

Monk-Fruit Extract (Nectresse) 

Source: Derived from a round, green melon from Asia

Calories: 0

Compared to Sugar: 150-300 times sweeter

Uses:

  • Usually combined with other sweetening agents like sugar alcohol, molasses, and regular sugar
  • Not commonly used in packaged foods yet
  • Can buy packets & canisters at grocery stores
  • Can be used for cooking & baking

Stevia-Leaf Extract (Truvia)

Source: Extract from the leaf of the stevia plant. Native to South America

Forms: Powder, liquid, pellets

Health Benefits: May help control insulin resistance

Calories: 0

Compared to Sugar: 200-250 times sweeter

Uses:

  • Tabletop sweetener
  • Found in certain beverages such as soft drinks & iced teas
  • Flavor oatmeal, yogurt, and cereal

Tagatose (PreSweet)

Source: Naturally found in milk

Health Benefits: Acts like a prebiotic, stimulating growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive system

Calories: 6 per teaspoon

Compared to Sugar: 10% less sweet

Uses:

  • Can be used to replace sugar in most recipes

References:

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