Healthy Diet

Birch Sugar, Erythritol, or Agave Nectar: Breakdown of eight Sugar Substitutes

Sugar is addictive,(1) results in weight problems,(2) and is even suspected of accelerating the danger of most cancers.(three) Not nice information – particularly should you assume that about 80% of packaged meals include added sugar.

The World Well being Group (WHO)…

recommends consuming a most of 50 g of sugar per day (12 teaspoons). 

Most of us eat way more than this every single day.  

To wean your self off sugar, it may be useful to go for sugar alternate options, along with reducing down in your consumption. Alternate options starting from birch sugar to erythritol to stevia can be found in retailers and marketed as wholesome – however are they?

We’ve in contrast eight alternate options to sugar beneath. 


Xylitol is a sugar alcohol (E 967) which is used as a sugar substitute and is best often called birch sugar. Xylitol is a pure constituent of some greens and fruits (e.g. cauliflower, berries and plums). Birch sugar could be produced industrially by hydrolyzing xylan (a hemicellulose) into xylose, which is then additional processed to acquire xylitol. Nevertheless, since this course of could be very costly, birch sugar is most frequently produced from corn cobs lately.

A spoon full of birch sugar
Execs of Birch Sugar:
Birch sugar has about 40% fewer energy than refined sugar and doesn’t trigger your blood sugar degree to rise as excessive after consuming. Plus, birch sugar doesn’t trigger cavities. The nice factor is, this sugar substitute has the identical sweetness as common sugar.
Cons of Birch Sugar:
Xylitol shouldn’t be calorie-free and supplies about 240 energy per 100 g. Consuming giant portions of it (20-30 g) can result in flatulence or extreme diarrhea. As there’s nonetheless not a lot analysis on xylitol, the health-promoting elements of it ought to be handled with warning.

Do you know?

Birch sugar is harmful for canine! The sugar substitute could cause extreme liver harm in animals. Due to this fact, in case you are a canine proprietor, watch out when utilizing this sweetener in your cooking.


Honey is a pure product, accommodates lots of worthwhile vitamins, and is taken into account one of many the oldest sweeteners on the planet. It’s produced by bees accumulating flower nectar, breaking it down into easy sugars after which storing it in honeycombs.

A bowl full of honey

A bowl full of honey
Execs of Honey:
Honey has lengthy been used as a therapeutic agent in pure drugs. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Paired with ginger, honey can be utilized to battle colds.
Cons of Honey:
What it is best to know: 100 g of blossom honey accommodates about 310 energy. That’s virtually as a lot as 100 g of white sugar. Due to this fact, honey isn’t going to save lots of you a lot energy. As a result of water content material of honey, 100 g of honey shouldn’t be as candy as 100 g of sugar. The truth is, honey is about 80% as candy as sugar. It has the same impression on blood sugar ranges as sugar (sucrose). For diabetics or these attempting to handle blood sugar ranges, there is no such thing as a benefit to substituting honey for sugar.


Kids beneath the age of 1 shouldn’t eat honey. The pure sweetener might include a bacterium that may develop within the youngster’s immature digestive system and even trigger toddler botulism. The sweetener additionally will increase your danger of cavities (like sugar, too).

three. STEVIA

Steviol glycoside is a sugar substitute that’s extracted from the South American plant species stevia rebaundiana. It has been an accredited meals additive within the EU since 2011. Earlier than that the sugar substitute was often called a shower additive.

Steviablätter und eine Schüssel Stevia

Steviablätter und eine Schüssel Stevia
Execs of Stevia:
Stevia has no energy and doesn’t harm the tooth. It additionally has no impact in your blood sugar degree, so stevia will also be utilized by diabetics.
Cons of Stevia:
The stevia added to meals is a chemical extract (E 960) and thus doesn’t include any important vitamins. Stevia could also be a lot sweeter than sugar, however it has a bitter aftertaste.

Attention-grabbing reality:

Stevia is 300 to 4 hundred occasions sweeter than white sugar (= granulated sugar).


Agave nectar, also called agave syrup, is produced from the juice of the agave plant present in Mexico. This sweetener tastes like honey however has a thinner consistency.

Agave syrup is dripping from a spoon

Agave syrup is dripping from a spoon
Execs of Agave Nectar:
In distinction to peculiar sugar, agave nectar accommodates metabolites, nutritional vitamins and minerals. The sugar substitute is runnier than honey and thus extra soluble in meals and drinks. Plus, it’s appropriate for vegans.
Cons of Agave Nectar:
Agave nectar has about the identical variety of energy as honey and is thus not a lot decrease in energy than sugar. On account of its excessive fructose content material, the sweetener has a decrease glycemic index, however an excessive amount of fructose consumption over a protracted time frame could be unhealthy to your well being: it may elevate your blood fats degree, result in a fatty liver, contribute to insulin resistance, whereas additionally elevating the danger of metabolic syndrome and sort 2 diabetes.

Do you know?

The glycemic index signifies the impact of a carbohydrate-containing meals in your blood sugar ranges. Pure glucose is used as a reference level and has a worth of 100.


Erythritol, like birch sugar, is a sugar substitute. It happens naturally in meals like strawberries, pears, melons, and grapes. Nevertheless, this sweetener is extracted from corn and mushrooms for industrial functions.

Execs of Erythritol:
Erythritol accommodates virtually no energy and doesn’t harm the tooth. It additionally doesn’t have an effect on blood sugar.
Cons of Erythritol:
This sweetener could be very costly. One kilogram prices between seven and ten euros, relying on the producer.

Good to know:

Erythritol is about 70% as candy as sugar. Maintain this in thoughts should you bake with it. 


This sugar substitute is comprised of the nectar of the flower buds of the coconut palm. It tastes loads like caramel.

A big spoon full of coconut sugar

A big spoon full of coconut sugar
Execs of Coconut Sugar:
Coconut sugar is claimed to include many nutritional vitamins and minerals, together with magnesium, iron and zinc. The sweetness of coconut sugar is corresponding to peculiar granulated sugar.
Cons of Coconut Sugar:
Coconut sugar has a decrease glycemic index than sugar (35), however this is because of its excessive fructose content material like agave nectar. Regardless of having a decrease glycemic index, it’s a pretty pure type of sugar. So, people with kind 2 diabetes ought to use it sparingly. Plus, this sugar substitute prices about 20 euros per kilo, which isn’t precisely low cost. However this isn’t stunning when you think about that it’s extracted by hand. Thus, this sugar substitute must be labeled as a luxurious good.


Dates come from the date palm, which originated across the Persian Gulf. They’re cultivated in palm gardens. At house within the desert, they want lots of solar and water in the summertime. There are over 100 various kinds of date palms. The most important rising areas are in Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria.

Execs of Dates:
Dates are an actual energy meals. They’re very wealthy in vitamin A and B nutritional vitamins, present lots of potassium (650 mg) in addition to magnesium (65 mg). The excessive degree of antioxidants make them an anti-inflammatory meals. Do you battle with constipation? Dates (and different dried fruits) are excessive in fiber and assist stimulate the digestion. However don’t neglect to drink lots of water if you eat them!
Cons of Dates:
Dates are excessive in sugar and include lots of energy (100 g have 290 energy). For that reason, diabetics shouldn’t devour this pure sweetener in giant quantities.

Concepts to be used:

There are a lot of methods to make use of dates within the kitchen: as a snack, filled with almond butter, for baking, or in smoothies and salads – the chances are limitless.


Extracted from the sugar maple tree, maple syrup (also called “liquid gold”) is scrumptious on pancakes and likewise various to sugar in tea.

maple syrup

maple syrup
Execs of Maple Syrup:
Maple syrup is a pure product: in contrast to peculiar sugar, it accommodates greater than 50 useful compounds together with antioxidants and a molecule with anti-inflammatory properties. The darker the syrup, the upper the focus of those compounds. Plus, 100 g of maple syrup has 90 mg of calcium, 185 mg of potassium, 25 mg of magnesium, and a couple of mg of iron. Nevertheless, the query stays how a lot of those advantages are literally derived when the syrup is consumed within the really useful (small) quantities.
Cons of Maple Syrup:
The sweetness of maple syrup (100 g has 260 cal) is 60 to 70% decrease than refined sugar. So that you want extra maple syrup to attain the sweetness of sugar. Take note of the purity and the elements if you purchase it. Maple syrup (not a protected identify in Europe) usually accommodates sugar water – not really useful for a sugar-free eating regimen. The elements of syrups, akin to maple syrup, usually include varied proportions of glucose and fructose relying on the producer. That’s why diabetics have to be cautious about utilizing this syrup – as it may trigger the identical response as plain white sugar, relying on the quantity and the standard.

Do you know:

You want about 40 liters of maple sap to provide one liter of maple syrup!

eight Sugar alternate options >> So, which sugar substitute is the perfect?

Evaluation the execs and cons of these sugar alternate options to kind your personal opinion:

Birch sugar doesn’t trigger your blood sugar to rise a lot, however it does have 240 cal per 100 g. 
Honey has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Nevertheless, it’s loaded with energy: it has 310 energy per 100 g. 
Stevia has no energy, however the sweetener is added to meals as a chemical extract (E 960).
Agave nectar accommodates lots of nutritional vitamins and minerals. In case you eat an excessive amount of of it for an extended interval, although, it may elevate your blood fats degree.
Erythritol has about 70% of the sweetness of normal sugar, however has virtually no energy and doesn’t destroy your tooth. 
Coconut sugar accommodates magnesium, iron, and zinc – alternatively, it’s excessive in fructose. Additionally it is slightly costly and thought of a luxurious good.  
Dried dates are an excellent supply of power as a snack and may stimulate digestion. Nevertheless, they’re excessive in energy and shouldn’t be eaten in giant quantities.
Maple syrup is a pure various and accommodates many antioxidants and anti inflammatory properties. However it’s 60 to 70% much less candy than sugar, which implies you want extra sugar to attain the identical sweetness.

In abstract, many sugar alternate options are sometimes touted as more healthy than they really are. Certainly, lots of them are excessive in fructose or are chemical extracts. For this reason we advocate utilizing sugar substitutes sparingly (similar to refined sugar). Or attempt to slowly in the reduction of on it – ask your self, “Do I actually need to sweeten my tea?”


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