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The Truth about ''Natural'' Sweeteners

Does Sugar by Any Other Name Still Taste as Sweet?


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  • Where is the information about stevia? And xylitol? Stevia, which has zero calories, is an herbal extract and some studies suggest that it helps stabilize blood sugar. Xylitol (beet sugar), while expensive, does not elevate blood glucose levels at all. Xylitol is very low in calories and tastes just like table sugar. It even has benefits for teeth! I would expect these to be included in any discussion of sweeteners.
  • Could and would someone please explain why evaporated cane juice has tracable amounts of nutrients while rapadura, sucanat, and turbinado are all less than .5% of daily values (according to the chart in this article)?

    Thanks in advance for your reply.
  • Very informative. Thank you for sharing as I learned quite a bit from this article.
  • Interesting article! One respondent mentioned "date syrup". Wonder where you buy that!!!
    I use quite a bit of honey because it is so natural. Like to get local honey, if possible.
    But really, there has to be some value to using something as close as possible to its origin, as opposed to chemically derived. It seems like common sense - as does everything in moderation of course. There is so much that hasn't been studied. I anticipate that more evidence will make itself known showing natural sweeteners to be even better than thought. (I'm not sure some of these, such as agave, will ever qualify as natural.)

    By the way, I didn't see date syrup on your list. We go through 2 jars of this a week in our home as it's about all we use for sweetening.

    Thanks for taking the time for such an informative article!
    Thank you for putting together this list of natural sweeteners! I have an intolerance to artificial sweeteners, stevia, and xylitol. It's nice to see some attention paid to natural sweeteners on a weight loss site. As a user of these products, it was nice to see the conversions all in one place.
  • Excellent article. I especially enjoyed the mineral content comparisons and best applications. I love to cook, and try to make healthy choices, so I have quite a collection of these sweeteners, and need to know how to use them to best advantage. Honestly, though, I really agree with you that "sugar is sugar" and for the most part, the health advantages of the different types are overblown. I always get a chuckle when I see "evaporated cane juice" on an ingredient label. I think, "Oh, you mean sugar?" :)
  • Agave nectar is the same thing (process wise) as high fructose corn syrup
  • Thank you so much for the useful information. Especially the substitution ratios, and baking adjustments.
  • This is a very informative article. Thank you!
    I really enjoyed this article and learned a few things! I'm printing off the chart for a handy kitchen reference. Thank you! :)
  • I learned quite a bit from this article on sugar. The chart comparing the different types of sugar would have been more helpful if another column listing the "sugar equivalent" had been added (especially since it was discussed in the narrative portion). Printing this one page versus six would have been ideal.
  • Thank you... I needed to really see in black and white, what the process is and what it will affect my choices. HOWEVER, please forgive me for wanting to poke at another area of "sweetness" I grew up in a very "hippyish" household in Berkeley, CA (I am still recovering) and Stevia was a mainstay in our summer teas long before it hit public awareness... Can you recommend an article on that, or offer one here on Sparkpeople? I think it's worth looking at... Thanks so much for your efforts, every tool I receive from this site has galvanized me to really move it!

  • I think it is also good to mention that there are different types of agave nectar on the market such as raw vegan which is not boiled down from the agave. It is much healthier than the boiled kind.
  • Very important guys - will say it one more time sugar is sugar is sugar. People say they are afraid of splenda because it's supposed to cause cancer (they said the same about Equal but how many people have died from that), but sugar ages you faster than normal, it causes weight gain which brings on all types of other ailments like high blood pressure and heart disease. I prefer Splenda and I just purchased Truvia to give it a try. Agave, Black Molasses, and all these fru fru names are no better than regular sugar. When you digest it your body treats it and processes it as glucose.

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