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What Is The Healthiest Non Sugar Sweetener

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Types Of Sugar Substitutes

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Here are the main types of sugar substitutes along with their pros and cons:

Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose , are used to sweeten drinks and other foods without adding calories. Theyre useful for those who may want to avoid added calories but who still want to enjoy sweet beverages and treats. Theres some evidence, however, that artificial sweeteners may have unintended effects on our bodys processes, including hormone production. Some artificial sweeteners may also cause digestive issues in specific individuals.

Artificial sweeteners typically have zero or very limited calories and also tend to be extremely sweet, much sweeter than sugar, so less is required to sweeten foods. Most artificial sweeteners are a poor choice for baking, however, despite being ultrasweet.

Sugar alcohols, such as xylitol and erythritol, have fewer calories than sugar and occur naturally in fruits and vegetables. Theyre often used to sweeten processed foods, and research shows that certain sugar alcohols actually improve dental health. The downside? Sugar alcohols may lead to gastrointestinal distress if consumed in large quantities.

The Worst Sugar Substitutes

#1 High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup comes from corn. You can find it in processed foods, like baked goods, desserts, soda, juices, snacks, and commercial bread. Despite its name, the most common form consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose the same as table sugar.

Pros: Its cheap in the U.S. and sweet.

Cons: Most of the corn used to make HFCS is genetically modified. HFCS has been linked to numerous health concerns, such as an increased risk for metabolic syndrome, obesity, liver disease, and insulin resistance leading to type 2 diabetes and cancers. Its also void of nutrients.

#2 Brown Rice Syrup

Made by breaking down the starches in brown rice, this sugar substitute is a thick sweetener made of three sugars: maltotriose, maltose, and glucose. But maltose and maltotriose are just two and three glucose molecules, respectively. They function just like glucose in the body. Processed foods, including toddler snacks and bars, often contain brown rice syrup.

Pros: Brown rice syrup contains glucose, not fructose. The advantage of this is that glucose appears to have a less damaging effect on your liver than fructose.

Cons: Because its essentially glucose, rice syrup has a very high glycemic index of 98 higher than any other type of sugar . Brown rice syrup is also prone to arsenic contamination.

#3 Agave Nectar

#4 No-Calorie or Artificial Sweeteners

How To Get More In Diet

Getting more natural sweeteners in your daily diet isnt hard if you completely stop using refined table sugar and use healthier sugar substitutes instead. Plus, you also can look for food products that are sweet thanks to ingredients like stevia rather than refined sugar.

To find your best sugar substitutes, youll likely have to test out a few. You might end up liking one for your morning coffee but a different one for your baking needs.

Even when using natural sweeteners, like raw honey, you still want to be mindful of your overall sugar consumption.

How much natural sugar should you have a day? According to The American Heart Association , you should limit the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance.

For most American women, this is no more than 100 calories per day and no more than 150 calories per day for men . The AHA defines added sugars as any sugars or caloric sweeteners added to foods or beverages during processing or preparation.

So added sugars include refined sugar as well as natural sweeteners like honey.

If you are being treated for any ongoing health concern, especially diabetes, check with your doctor before incorporating any new sweeteners and sugar substitutes into your diet.

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Alternative Sugars You Should Actually Avoid

Artificial SweetenersArtificial and low-calorie sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, and neotame are considered the worst of the worst in the realm of alternative sweeteners. While the actual science is still out on the safety of aspartame and saccharin, theres plenty of anecdotal evidence that shows this stuff just isnt that good for you.

Many people report headaches, stomach aches and a general ill feeling after eating artificial sweeteners. And some studies have shown that chemical sweeteners can actually change the bacterial makeup of your microbiome, throwing your entire gut health out of whack.

The FDA does a pretty terrible job of regulating this industry, so its pretty hard to know if what youre eating is safe. Sucralose is the worst offender. Others like Nutrisweet, Truvia and a number of brands from the stevia plant claim to be better, but theres little data to support any claims.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup

This one almost goes without saying. High-fructose corn syrup, which is made through a chemical process thats anything but natural, is one of the worst offenders for insulin spikes, as it doesnt have to be digested by your body. This stuff simply filters right into your bloodstream and goes wild.


Sugar Alcohols

The problem is that your body cant digest most sugar alcohols, so they travel to the large intestine where they are metabolized by gut bacteria.

The Benefits Of Sugar

The Healthiest Sweetener

The first benefit is energy. Table sugar is a carbohydrate known as sucrose, which is actually composed of two simple sugars, glucose and fructose. As soon as the body breaks it down, the glucose is metabolized to provide an almost-immediate boost of energy. Just as importantly, excess glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver and in fat cells, giving the body an energy reserve that can be used whenever its needed.

The second benefit is mood. Its not your imagination or an uncontrollable urge theres a physiological reason why we feel better after eating something sweet. Sugar triggers the release of the hormone serotonin, which is known colloquially as the feel good hormone.

More energy and a better mood? Sounds pretty good, right? Unfortunately, its usually not going to end well when you get too much of a good thing.

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The Problem With Sugar For Your Health

You can find added sugars in most processed foods. This includes products that companies advertise as healthy, such as cereals, granola bars, crackers, and juices.

And it can be easy to miss on the ingredient label when there are at least 61 different names for sugar ranging from cane juice to anhydrous dextrose.

Sugar is rampant in our food system. And eating too much of it is linked to many significant health concerns.

  • Consuming excessive sugar is associated with an increased risk of obesity and heart disease.
  • Sugar increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Studies indicate that added sugar increases risk for esophageal and breast cancer. And added fructose intake may increase risk of pancreatic and small intestine cancers.
  • Sugar increases risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a disorder in which excessive amounts of fat build up in your liver. Even drinking one sugar-sweetened beverage per day can increase your risk.

Refined sugar isnt an essential part of the diet. It doesnt contain vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, or protein, nor does it have any benefit in the body.

It would do your health no harm if you never consumed a gram of refined sugar.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

A personal note on my recommendations written above. As a dietitian, I am not always comfortable recommending sugar alternatives. I frequently recommend natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup, but understand that these higher-carbohydrate, higher-calorie options may not work for all individuals. After spending time reviewing the most current clinical research and looking at multiple products, however, I came up with a list of products that I would recommend to someone looking to use a substitute for sugar.

Note that the USDA 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines recommend that added sugars be limited to less than 10 percent of calories per day. I believe the sugar alternatives in the round-up are made by trusted brands are composed of high-quality ingredients. “Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

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Can Monk Fruit Help You Lose Weight

Eating less sugar could help you shed pounds if you combine it with other weight loss measures. Sugar is a source of empty calories, which are calories without nutritional benefit, says Dr. Liberatore. Replacing sugar with monk fruit is a good way to cut those empty calories.

But sugar alternatives are not the fast track to weight loss. In fact, some studies have found that artificial sweeteners can contribute to weight gain by building sugar craving and dependence.

Focus on your overall diet if you want to cut calories or lose weight, says Dr. Liberatore. Dont rely on a sweetener alone to improve your health or help with weight loss.

Does Yacon Syrup Really Work For Weight Loss

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Pretty much all claims behind yacon syrup are based on one study:

This study was a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. The participants were 55 obese women with cholesterol problems and a history of constipation.

The women were split into two groups. A total of 40 women took yacon syrup, while 15 women took another type of syrup with no active ingredients .

All of them were advised to eat a low-fat diet and mildly restrict calories. The study went on for about four months.

At the end of the study, the women in the yacon syrup group had lost 33 pounds on average. At the same time, the placebo group gained an average of 3.5 pounds .

The study also found reductions in waist circumference.

The women in the yacon syrup group lost 3.9 inches, or 10 centimeters, of their waist circumference. No significant changes were seen in the placebo group.

There were several other effects noted in the yacon syrup group:

  • Their body mass index decreased from 34 to 28 .
  • Their stool frequency increased from 0.28 per day to 0.99 per day, effectively curing them of constipation.
  • Fasting insulin levels went down by 42%.
  • Insulin resistance, a major risk factor for diabetes and heart disease, was reduced by 67%.
  • LDL cholesterol went from 137 mg/dL to 97.5 mg/dL .

Studies on other types of soluble fiber have shown some amount of weight loss, but not nearly this impressive .

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Ranking The Best Artificial Sweeteners Of 2021

Artificial sweeteners are synthetic compounds that active the same sweet-sensing taste buds in your mouth, but dont actually contain any calories.

While theres a lot of controversy about the long-term safety and benefits of artificial sweeteners, they still seem safer and less dangerous than consuming an equivalent amount of sugar.

Sugar is undoubtedly linked to obesity, metabolic disease, and poor long-term health. If youre trying to wean yourself off sugar, an artificial sweetener might be just what you need. Here are the ten best artificial sweeteners on the market.


Whole Earth Erythritol is a high-quality artificial sweetener that uses erythritol, a sweetener that provides no calories and is usable in baking, cooking, and adding to drinks.

This plant based sweetener is suitable for keto, paleo and diabetic diets making it a great alternative to satisfy that sweeth tooth for a variety of people.

Because of all these advantages, its our top pick.

Sugar Alternatives To Try

Is sugar your dietary weakness? Many people crave it. But even if you dont necessarily have a sweet tooth, it can be tough to avoid sugar altogether. Nearly everything contains added sugar from soda and other sweetened drinks to almost all processed foods.

Fortunately, a wide range of sugar substitutes and sweeteners both natural and artificial are available to help reduce the amount of table sugar in your diet. Limiting sugar intake is especially important for older adults.

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Who Should Buy Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are generally safe for all individuals and are great for people trying to lose weight and avoid sugar consumption. Furthermore, since blood sugar isnt affected by the consumption of artificial sweeteners, diabetics will benefit greatly from them.

Special populations such as pregnant women and children should consult a doctor before consuming any artificial sweeteners.

Saccharin The Oldest Artificial Sweetener

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Saccharin, the sweetener sold in pink packets under the brand name Sweet ‘N Low, is calorie-free and is about 300 to 500 times sweeter than sugar, per the Sweet N Low website. It was the first artificial sweetener, with chemists discovering it as a derivative of coal tar by mistake in 1879, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

If youve been using artificial sweeteners since the 1970s, you may remember a previous warning label that warned of saccharin increasing the risk for cancer. But rest assured it’s safe. The research that prompted the label was done on animals, and further studies by the National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health concluded that saccharin shouldnt be on the list of potential carcinogens. Saccharin is currently FDA-approved.

A 132-lb individual would need to consume 45 tabletop packets of the artificial sweetener per day to reach the ADI of 15 mg of saccharin per kg of body weight per day, according to the FDA.

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The Best Sweeteners Fruits

Its likely that you already have at least one or two of these healthy sweeteners in your kitchen. Fresh or frozen fruits without added sugar are the ideal choice as a sweetener, because they dont contain any empty calories.

Its true that fruits contain the same fructose that table sugar contributes to the diet, but in substantially lower amounts than, for example, diet soda. And the water and fiber in most fruits, plus the fact that it usually takes a while to chew and digest them, means that their fructose is metabolized much more slowly by the body, lowering any negative health impact.

Then, theres the fact that most fruits provide antioxidant benefits and contain a wealth of vitamins and minerals and the fact that the generous amounts of fiber they contain can help to lower cholesterol levels, promote cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health, aid in weight management, and help in all of the other ways they kept preaching in health class. Needless to say, they were right. Fruit is good for you.

Cooking or baking with fresh or frozen fruit is a great way to go, but of course, you cant easily add most fruits to your morning coffee or tea. If you could, the taste would beodd, to put it mildly.

So fruit may be the best sweetener for your health, but its often not the most practical.

Lets keep going.

Why Do We Eat Sugar

Well, it tastes good.

Most of us prefer sweet foods over bitter ones. Why? Because, in the course of evolution, the human brain learned that sweet things provide a healthy source of rapid energy. When our ancestors scavenged for berries, sour meant not yet ripe. Bitter, on the other hand, often meant poisonous.

Sweet not only tasted pleasurable, but it also provided a burst of blood sugar that led our brains to activate the release of dopamine. And this remains true.

Sugar causes your brain to release opioids and dopamine. This is similar to the neurological reward response brought on by addictive drugs.

And research actually shows how sugar can be highly addicting.

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Tips For Reducing Sugar In Your Diet

Follow these steps to help reduce sugar in your diet on a daily basis:

  • Choose to drink water, calorie-free beverages, or low-fat milk instead of sugary sodas and drinks.
  • Choose whole fruits instead of processed desserts and fruit juices. When you do drink fruit juice, make sure its 100% juice with no added sugar.
  • Add fruit to cereal instead of buying sweetened cereal or adding table sugar.
  • Use sugar-free preserves or fresh fruit to sweeten plain yogurt instead of eating sweetened yogurt with fruit in it.
  • Choose lower-calorie, sugar-free hot chocolate drinks instead of candy.
  • Snack on vegetables, fruit, low-fat cheese, or whole-wheat crackers.
  • Choose unsweetened products, such as unsweetened applesauce, nut milks, or nut butters.
  • Add flavors like vanilla, spices, or citrus to flavor foods and drinks.

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Breaking It Down: Types Of Sugar

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For the chemistry buffs, heres a quick bit of context: Sugars are also known as simple carbohydrates. They digest quickly, releasing sugars into your bloodstream.

Each type of sugar has its own set of problems:

  • Glucose is the most rapidly metabolized by the body and can send your blood sugar levels skyrocketing. It has a glycemic index score of 100 .
  • Fructose has no impact on insulin production or blood glucose levels. It also has a relatively low glycemic index score. But it must be metabolized by the liver and is associated with elevated levels of triglycerides, metabolic syndrome, and weight gain.
  • Sucrose is crystalized white sugar, from the cane sugar plant, and it consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose.

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Sweeteners Diabetics Should Avoid

Not all natural sweeteners are safe alternatives for people with diabetes. For example, while agave has a low glycemic index , it has more calories than granulated sugar and higher fructose content. Fructose can cause the body to produce less insulin and put more strain on the liver as it breaks down the sugars.

In short, the side effects or effects of an alternative sweetener on insulin resistance may outweigh the benefits. Be careful when consuming artificial sweeteners and even more natural ones such as maple syrup, corn syrup and xylitol.

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