Healthy Ways to Sweeten Food and Beverages
Learn the best (and most healthy) way to add some sweetness to your life!
There are three primary ways to sweeten food and beverages:
- Natural high-calorie sweeteners (sugar, honey, etc.)
- All-natural zero-calorie sweeteners (such as stevia)
- Artificial sweeteners (like aspartame, erythritol, saccharin, etc.)
If you are diabetic or are trying to lose weight, sweeteners such as sugar, honey, agave, etc. are probably not the best choice of sweetener for your weight loss journey because they are high in calories and can cause your blood sugar levels to spike telling your body to store excess calories. Although these types of sweeteners may be an all-natural sweetener, they are high in calories and will cause you to pack on the pounds if consumed in large quantities, not to mention the effect sugar has on blood glucose. Other names for sugar on nutritional labels are fructose, sucrose, and dextrose.
So, many people choose to opt for calorie-free artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, or saccharin. Even though they are a safe choice for diabetics, these sugar-free sweeteners do cause some concern about the potential long-term health effects that are still unknown because of the chemicals and alterations these products go through before you eat them. There have been countless studies that report the ill effects of these types of artificial, calorie-free sweeteners. Reports range from artificial sweeteners causing mild to major health effects, even cancer. For that reason, we say no-no to all of the types of sweeteners in this category.
We recommend using an all-natural artificial sweetener alternative, such as stevia. It comes from the leaves of a plant and has zero calories. Even better, stevia has virtually no effect on blood glucose making it a great option for anyone with diabetes, hypoglycemia or trying to lose weight. But don’t be fooled by some brands of stevia. Always make sure to check the ingredients list for other added sugar alcohols like erythritol or sugar additives like dextrose.
Avoid 'stevia blends' which are brands looking to make a quick buck on the new popularity of stevia as a healthy sweetener. Brands like stevia in the raw, truvia, purevia, etc. Simply look at the ingredients to determine if a brand of stevia is pure or a stevia-blend. If you see ingredients ending is -ose, -tol, or -dextrin it's most likely a blend. The only ingredients in 'pure' stevia should be stevia, rebania, stevioside (which are all different names for stevia).
We recommend using Sweetleaf® stevia for best weight loss and optimum health. See more about this diabetic-friendly, weight loss friendly stevia here. It is available in powdered stevia packets and in flavored liquid stevia.
According to Wisdom Natural Brands; Sweetleaf® Stevia offers the following benefits:
- Best tasting; highest quality stevia
- No added chemicals and extracted using only heat and purified water
- All natural
- Zero calories
- Zero glycemic index
- Zero carbohydrates
- Safe for diabetics
- Great for baking and cooking; unlike chemical sweeteners
- Kosher certified
- No saccharin; aspartame; refined sugar; maltodextrin; fructose; or artificial sweeteners of any kind!