Simply Sweet: 10 Alternatives to Sugar

on November 20, 2015


The Sweet(er) Life

Let's be real: we all need a little sweetness in our life. But holiday desserts loaded with sugar can do more harm than good. Fortunately, there are some great sugar alternatives out there that will still satisfy that craving.



This sweetener has been around for thousands of years, and for good reason: it's packed with vitamins and can be used in everything from tea to baked goods.



You might be familiar with this ingredient if you're a fan of gum-most sugar-free varieties use xylitol. Its chemical composition helps to prevent the growth of bacteria and it's found naturally in our own bodies!



This South American herb has been used for thousands of years and is much sweeter than sugar, so a little goes a long way. It's all the taste, with none of the calories!


Maple Syrup

Derived from tree sap, this natural sweetener provides both sweetness and depth to a variety of dishes. It comes in both a liquid and a dehydrated form.


Coconut Sugar

Coconut is everywhere-it's not uncommon to see someone sipping on coconut water or baking with coconut flour. Add a little sweetness to the scene with coconut sugar, which scores low on the glycemic index, preventing the "sugar crash" you might usually get.



This fruit has had a long history of medicinal and food use in Asia. It's got zero calories but plenty of flavor, and it comes in a crystallized form-just sprinkle and enjoy!


Agave Nectar

This liquid sweetener is derived from a plant in the cactus family. It's a good substitute for sugar because it is lower on the glycemic index, but it contains high levels of fructose, so use sparingly.

Calorie Secrets

Brown Rice Syrup

As the name indicates, this sweetener is derived from brown rice. It's half as sweet as typical sugar and has a flavor similar to butterscotch.



This fruit can be used to sweeten in a variety of ways-blend dates into baked goods, or use date sugar as a substitute. Either way, you'll be saving on calories without skimping on flavor.



Similar to xylitol, erythritol is a "sugar alcohol" that contains fewer calories than traditional sugar. It occurs naturally in fruits like melons, pears, and grapes.