Here Are 3 Sweeteners To Avoid And 5 You Should Try Instead (And Why!)

Some sweeteners are better than others, depending on your current health needs. But there are a bunch of alternative sugar replacements that could be affecting your overall health, your organs, and even your state of mind. If you’re looking for different but tasty ways to replace sugar, then check out these healthy alternatives that pack a sweet punch.

Avoid: Aspartame

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Sometimes called Equal or NutraSweet, this popular sweetener has gone from a “low calorie option” to “potential cancer-causing sweetener” over the years. Marketed as a sweet but low-calorie sugar alternative, it is not known that aspartame is really bad for your health. This nonnutritive sweetener has been linked to Gulf War syndrome, liver cancer, attention deficit disorders, headaches, dizziness, digestive symptoms, liver damage, and even changes in mood. We’ll take our coffee without the cancer, thank you!

Try: Stevia

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Stevia is a much better low-calorie option for dieters. This powerful sweetener is made from the leaves of a plant, therefore, it has none of the yucky additives that aspartame has. It’s a hundred times sweeter than refined sugar and it’s packed with some impressive health benefits. Stevia helps prevent cancer, reduces bacterial formation in the mouth, helps control blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and it’s even used against skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. Whenever possible, stick to organic stevia to really avoid additives.

Try: Coconut Palm Sugar

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Another natural sweetener that will truly enhance your morning coffee! Coconut palm sugar is made from the sap of a coconut palm tree and is low on the glycemic index. The most interesting thing to note is that it contains the same calories and carbs as regular sugar but the fructose and glucose levels are much lower. Add in the purported benefits like phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals and we’ve got a winner!

Avoid: Sucralose

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Sucralose, also known as Splenda, is another zero-calorie sweetener that is very similar to aspartame. Sucralose is about 400 to 700 times sweeter than regular sugar, so a little goes a long way. It’s marketed as another diet alternative sweetener. But recent studies have shown that sucralose reduces the good bacteria in your stomach, which can result in an insulin spike, making it one of the worst alternative sweeteners for diabetics. Add that to the possibility of getting triggering migraines and that’s a big bucket of no for us!

Try: Maple Syrup

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Good old maple syrup! We pour it on our pancakes each morning without even realizing the many health benefits associated with this golden elixir. Taken right from maple trees that sit in the forest, the process to obtain this sugary liquid is really tedious. Maple syrup contains antioxidants like zinc and even some trace amounts of calcium and iron, so in small doses, it’s really good for your health. Make sure you get pure maple syrup whenever possible, as store-bought brands tend to have extra chemicals and unwanted ingredients.

Avoid: Agave Nectar

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A long time ago, agave nectar was thought to be one of the greatest substitutes for table sugar. Further studies figured that we were painfully wrong! Agave nectar is nothing more than high fructose corn syrup. This sweetener can be found in various health foods as it’s typically commercialized as a natural, diet-friendly sweetener. But the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Agave is dangerously high in fructose, (about 85%!) What’s even more dangerous is the fact that high fructose intake can raise your “bad” LDL cholesterol and cause fat to be stored in the belly area. This is definitely not the “nectar of the gods!”

Try: Date Sugar

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You might be surprised to know that date sugar isn’t actually sugar, which is one of the reasons why this natural sweetener is our fave! Granulated dried dates, aka, “date sugar,” are rich in fiber, potassium, copper, iron, and magnesium, and mirror the effects and health benefits of whole dates. Plus, they’re an incredible replacement for brown sugar and you can even use it for baking.

Try: Raw Honey

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Arguably, one of the healthiest options on the list! Raw honey is the bees knees…no pun intended! This type of honey is not heated or pasteurized like store-bought regular honey is. It’s quite the opposite, in fact, as raw honey retains many of the beneficial nutrients and antioxidants that it naturally contains. You can use it with ginger and lemon to relieve tummy troubles. Eaw honey is also great as a mild cough suppressant when you’ve got the flu.