The title here might be just a bit misleading as limiting your intake of sugar and sugar substitutes is recommended by the American Heart Association. Too much real sugar can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance. While substituting it with natural and artificial sweeteners can help you control your calorie intake, it still pays to eat any of them in moderation. If you’re looking to swap out sugar in your cooking or eating, these substitutes are probably your best bets, but you should discuss them with your doctor before going crazy.
1. Acesulfame K
As artificial sweeteners go, this one is probably one of the better choices. You’ll find it in drinks, desserts, yogurts and tabletop sweetener. Despite some debate, health experts say that Acesulfame K has not been linked to any serious health risks so it makes a good choice if you don’t want too much sugar in your diet.
The reason why sucralose is a better choice than other artificial sweeteners is because it’s derived from sugar, but doesn’t contain any calories. It is used in a wide variety of foods, including packets you can use to sweeten your food and drink, as well as some salad dressings, pickles and bread products.
3. Stevia Leaf Extract
Stevia is a great option for replacing sugar in your cooking because, unlike artificial sweeteners, it is a natural sweetener and comes from the stevia plant. If you go with this one, make sure you choose one that is approved by the FDA as some of the crude or whole leaf products are not. Stevia can be used to replace sugar in baking and it often appears in tabletop sweetener blends.
4. Monk Fruit Extract
Again, because monk fruit extract comes from a plant and is not processed, it could be a good choice for you. The plant has a history as medicinal, but its natural sweetener makes it a good choice for sweetening food and drink. You may notice a slightly fruity flavor when you use this sweetener so some experts recommend mixing it with other sweeteners to minimize that.
This is a sugar alcohol and has a texture and sweet flavor that is very close to traditional sugar. It often appears in sugar-free candies and drinks, but you can also find it as a table sweetener. You may have to experiment a bit with this one as using it in cooking and baking may require some tweaking because you probably won’t be able to use it 1:1.
Truvia, like stevia, is derived from the stevia plant. It is much sweeter than typical sugar, which means you can use less, saving you calories while also enjoying your favorite sweet treats. It makes a good option for replacing sugar in baking or in your drinks, though experts caution against using it 1:1 since it is so much sweeter. You can find truvia at most supermarkets so it’s a viable option for your sugar needs.
7. Whey Low
This sweetener is a mixture of fructose, sucrose and lactose, all of which are naturally occurring sugars. When they three are combined, your body doesn’t absorb all of it, saving you calories without having to give up sugar. In fact, it contains just 4 calories per teaspoon. You can use this sweetener in any recipe that calls for regular sugar.
Do you use sugar substitutes? Which ones do you use most often?