There are so many sweeteners out there these days…how do you pick the right one? 

Most doctors agree that sugar is a big no-no. Aside from it’s high calorie content that causes obesity and weight gain, it can also majorly disrupt your body’s insulin response. It’s inflammatory nature can cause serious health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It also has ZERO nutritional value. On top of that, it’s hiding in a lot of the foods we already consume. Your liver can safely only process about 6-9 teaspoons daily, but did you know the average American consumes 19.5 teaspoons of sugar every single day? That’s about 73 pounds a year!! Yikes!

There are a few things you should consider when choosing a sweetener.

#1 Glycemic index. This is a measurement given to carb-containing foods that affect our actual blood sugar. Meaning it doesn’t just count carbs, but measures their impact. A low glycemic index has many health advantages, while a high one can be a culprit of diabetes, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer.

#2 Herbal or natural versus artificial sweeteners. Natural substances are derived from nature like a plant or bees for example. Artificial substances are synthetic sugars substitutes. While most have zero calorie benefits, they have no nutritional value and can be linked to a variety of health issues and diseases.

Ok so we’ve come to the conclusion that too much sugar is bad for us, we want something with a low glycemic index, but it needs to be natural and not artificial. That said, is it more health advantageous to choose a no-calorie sugar substitute like Stevia or Monk Fruit, or should you go for an alternative like raw honey or agave? We picked the top 4 “healthy” sweetener options, weighed their pros and cons, and then picked our #1 choice.

#1 Stevia

This favorite of dietitians is a powder that is derived from the pulverized leaf of a plant found in South America.

Pros:

  • Herbal, not artificial
  • Zero calorie, carbohydrate, and sugar-free
  • Does not impact blood glucose or insulin
  • Available in multiple forms like powder or liquid
  • 100-300 times sweeter than sugar, so you may use less

Cons:

  • Has side effects including gas, nausea, and bloating
  • Often mixed with sugar alcohols (Read the label)
  • Licorice after taste

#2 Monk Fruit

Derived from a small melon grown in in the tropical regions of South East Asia.

Pros:

  • Herbal, not artificial
  • Zero calorie, carbohydrate, and sugar free
  • No known side effects
  • Does not impact blood glucose or insulin
  • Has antioxidants that can boost the immune system and can positively effect the digestive tract
  • Available in multiple forms like powder or liquid
  • 150 – 200 times sweeter than sugar, so you may use less

Cons:

  • Harder to find and more expensive than other sweeteners
  • Can be mixed with other sugar substitutes (Read the label)
  • Fruity aftertaste

#3 Raw Honey

A natural substance that is made by bees from the nectar of flowers.

Pros:

  • Sweeter than sugar, so you may use less
  • Has antioxidants and antimicrobial properties
  • Contains vitamins and nutrients

Cons:

  • Moderate glycemic index (but lower than sugar)
  • Higher in calories than table sugar
  • High in fructose

#4 Agave

A sweet syrup that comes from the same plant as Tequila.

Pros:

  • Neutral flavor
  • Low glycemic index
  • Has beneficial and immune-boosting properties

Cons:

  • Higher in calories than table sugar
  • High in fructose than any other sweetener

So our winner is….Monk Fruit. It’s all-natural, has zero calories and carbs, packs an antioxidant punch, and we actually love the aftertaste. While honey and agave are great natural options, they are just too high in calories and fructose for us. Just be sure to read the ingredients to make sure you are using pure Monk fruit like our pick Lakanto Pure Monkfruit 30% extract.

Share: