Updated: Apr 20, 2021
It’s official, clinical dieticians agree that the best sweetener is no sweetener at all.
“Sugar and artificial sweeteners are addictive and will hijack your health and metabolism,” - Brigid Titgemeier, MC, RDN, LD.
No sugar or sugar substitute is healthy; they stimulate your appetite, encourage your sweet tooth and pack on the pounds. And they place you at risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and fatty liver.
But we’re all human and likely won’t be able to quite cold turkey. Most of us will need to wean ourselves to break the sweet habit.
Artificial sweeteners found in such products as chewing gum and condiments garner the most “no” votes. The only exception is for those with diabetes where real sugar raises blood sugar, artificial sweeteners will not. Artificial sweeteners may cause you to crave more sweet foods and are associated with changes in the gut bacteria that lead to increased fat storage.
Refined sugars hide in many of our processed foods like granola bars, cereal, yoghurt and drinks. Table sugar is inflammatory, high in empty calories and devoid of nutrition.
Naturals like raw honey, pure maple syrup, agave nectar and raw sugar offer a few more nutrients than table sugar. At the end of the day natural sweeteners are still forms of sugar that are high in calories. And when it comes to metabolism they will still spike blood sugar.
Stevia and monk fruit in powder, drops, granules or plant form are natural, convenient sweeteners. In their 100% pure and organic form, these herbal sweeteners are zero-calorie, zero-glycemic, and zero-carb making them a dietician favourite.
Whole food sweeteners like fruits are the best sweeteners of all! Fresh, frozen or dried fruits sweeten foods while adding nutrients that are vital for health. Focus on whole fruits, not juice, to provide potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate. Bananas and applesauce sweeten oatmeal while mango and berries sweeten yoghurt and smoothies. Mother nature’s candy, dates, have become very popular sweeteners because they are stable and versatile. SPUD published that 100g of pitted dates can provide 2.5g of protein, 77.5g of carbohydrates, 7.5g of fibre, 50mg calcium, and 600mg of potassium (bite-for-bite, this is three times as much potassium as bananas)! Popular varieties like medjool and deglet noor both contain 62mg phosphorus, which works closely with calcium to maintain bone health. With the exception of calcium, all of these nutrients are found higher in dates than maple syrup, of which offers about the same amount of sugar. And honey, which is higher in sugar, is lower all across the board on these nutrients. See the following Qvid to blend up some.