Video: Which Natural Sweeteners are Best?

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist August 3, 2011

In the post Slay the Sugar Monster in Four Doable Steps, the recommended first step is to replace all refined sweeteners with natural, wholesome sweeteners.

Which natural sweeteners are best?  Which ones are optimal for those with blood sugar problems?

In this latest video filmed for the Weston A. Price Foundation, I catalog the list of wholesome sweeteners and discuss which ones to avoid and which ones to use and for what purpose.

Where to Find Wholesome Sweeteners

Be sure to check out my Resources page for places to source quality, wholesome sweeteners – even the hard to find, low glycemic ones mentioned in the video.

For a complete transcript of this video lesson in any language, click here.

Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist.com

 

Comments (80)

  1. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for this great video! I just love this WAPF series that you are doing. I found the section on stevia very interesting. Can you tell me why the liquid stevia is not good? I understand that it processed so does that mean it is no longer nutritious? I am going to miss the liquid. It’s so easy to use…and the green powder just does not dissolve well. :-( Any tips?

    Thanks so much!

    Love,

    Mary

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Hi Mary, the liquid is highly processed with undesirable ingredients typically added like alcohol or glycerin. When the stevia is highly processed, the whole and nutritious aspects of it are removed. A bit of the liquid stevia used on occasion is fine, but try not to make a daily habit of it.

      Reply
      • I don’t use stevia, but what if you wanted to grow the leaves and make your own extract? Would that be preferable? My dad is an aspartame addict who is willing to switch to Stevia now and I’m trying to make this easy on him…and obviously ANY stevia’s going to be better than aspartame! He really wants calorie-free for whatever reason (but he’s replaced his diet pop with freshly brewed tea, so I’m not arguing with him right now, baby steps) so stevia seemed like the best answer….

        Reply
  2. Sarah,
    Where do you order the green stevia that you showed on the video? I would like to switch to that because the liquid i use does contain glycerin. Thank You for all the informative info.
    Also while i am asking, what kind of deodrant is good when trying to come off alumimun anti perspirants? My dh has agreed that we should get off them.

    Reply
  3. Thanks so much for the helpful video. I have many health problems so I’ve been on a journey learning about nutrition. I love your blog and Dr. Price and Mrs. Fallon’s books, etc. I wanted to say that when I switched from agave nectar (which my Dr. had recommended) to stevia, raw honey, and coconut sugar my inflammation issues were greatly reduced. Also, my reactive hypoglycemia is pretty much not a problem. I think I’ll try the date sugar next. Are the enzymes in raw honey destroyed if used in coffee? Thanks.

    Reply
  4. In response to the deodorant comment, I have something funny going on and have for years since I went natural (weird, huh? Maybe a years long detox!) and deodorants only make it worse. I’ve discovered baking soda. I don’t stop sweating, which I don’t want to do anyways, but I NEVER smell, and I used to reek.

    Reply
  5. I went to my local amish store and they had Demerara sugar. Can you tell me more about it and If it is a safer alternative.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      It is my understanding is that demerara sugar is just another name for brown sugar. Demerara (brown sugar) is less processed than white sugar but sucanat (also called rapadura) is a better option as it is whole and unprocessed as mentioned in the video.

      Manufacturers are always trying to confuse the consumer with different names for the same things!

      Reply
  6. I really appreciated this video as it was full of so much good information. I do have a question about why xylitol made from non GMO birch trees was not on the list? I know the corn ones are not good as they come from GMO corn but how about the other?

    Reply
  7. Sarah, thanks for the excellent article. I don’t bake, or add sugar to anything with one exception. Water Kefir. For that I usually use sucanat. Occasionally I use organic “B” maple syrup, as that seems to help grow the grains. I have also used a sugar you may be familiar with – Florida Crystals organic pure cane sugar, that I can buy at my local grocery store. The ingredient list is only organic evaporated cane juice. Any opinion on that product? BTW, I do sometimes add some organic blackstrap molasses to the kefir, and I make another drink that mom always used. Blackstrap molasses, apple cidar vinegar, water and local honey. Great stuff.

    Reply
    • Yeah. We should have all known the claims were too good to be true! I saw red flags when so much was produced and had the ol’ USDA label and from Mexico to boot. I think we were and are still being hood winked by all this USDA stuff coming out of Mexico and China. Sorry, there just aren’t that many USDA agents going around the world checking all the products coming here that claim to be organic. I’m such a skeptic any more!

      Reply
  8. It’s true about sweat not smelling bad on a natural diet! I only have to wear deodorant (or baking soda, or lavender oil, or carry a spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide in my purse) now if I know there’s a chance I’ll be eating or drinking something processed (at a party, for example).

    Reply
  9. I was so excited to find “organic raw sugar” at Costco a few months ago! The label says “made from freshly squeezed cane juice that is evaporated and crystallized on the same day it is harvested. No chemicals, pesticides or herbicides. In accordance with strict organic standards.” Do you still think this is bad too? The color is somewhere between white and brown sugar.

    Reply
  10. i usr\e sorghum syrup alot…not available everywhere…i ordered mine from a family farm in tenn..similar to mollasses but milder…supposed to have a higher mineral content..

    Reply
  11. I was certainly interested in this video. I just saw Florida crystals in the grocery store and wondered about it. I’m glad someone asked about it. I’ve been cutting back on the sugar/sweetener called for in some recipes. Since I have changed our diet here at home I find all that sugar is just too much now. Since you mentioned stevia I have to say I just bought the liquid recently, thinking it was ok. I am so glad you put the info out there because it is confusing. I have a question. I am wanting to make kombucha and I am supposed to use white sugar. I have never seen organic white sugar. Is it ok to use regular white? How do I know if it is gmo or not? Also, I made your angel food cake recipe, but only used 1 cup sugar (see, cutting back) and it was so good! I’ve been wanting to tell you that. Thanks, Sarah.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Hi Linda, you can use regular white sugar for kombucha if you can’t find organic white sugar. The sugar is used up when you ferment for the proper amount of time (no less than 7-8 days). I usually ferment for 10 days or so to make sure all the sugar is gone. If it gets too strong, you can dilute with seltzer or mix with a flavored tea or fruit juice to soften the vinegar-y taste if necessary.

      So glad the angel food cake turned out well! :)

      Reply
  12. Sarah, do you know anything about lucuma? I’m talking about the powder available in health food stores and online. It seems that it’s only dried fruit (similar to date sugar) and it’s ‘raw’ which I assume means dried at low temps. I haven’t found out yet if it’s legal on GAPS or not – it’s more than half glucose, with fructose and a tiny bit of sucrose.

    Reply
    • Magda,
      I’m curious about lucuma too. Sarah, I hope you find some time to address this sweetener. I am also curious about momordica or Luo Han Guo.

      Reply
  13. Thanks again for another great video Sarah. I encourage our local WAPF members to watch them and use your very helpful website too! Keep up the good work!

    As far as sweeteners go, I’d suggest people trying to get off them and save them for special occasions. If people want to reduce them in their diets but find they are addicted then read Eat Fat Lose Fat. If you are traditionally nourished, eat lots of the right fats, you can eliminate the cravings. I have a kitchen full of those good sweeteners and some not so good and rarely find myself ever using them, as I have no craving. Fortunately, they have a very long shelf life!

    Reply
  14. Hi Sarah,

    All this sugar business is so confusing! I was just reading recently that perhaps coconut sugar is not a great option since it contains a high level of fructose.

    So with all these alternatives to sugar, how is one to know which is the best? I don’t do a lot of baking, every now and then I make crepes/pancakes and have been using agave syrup which I now have come to realise is BAD! So threw that one out oops! Would you recommend using Grade B maple syrup instead in the pancakes? Also I do make smoothies all the time so what would the best sweetener to use for that?

    Thanks :)

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      The fructose in coconut sugar is not like the fructose in HFCS or other processed forms of fructose like in agave. Natural fructose is L-fructose which is the primary fructose molecule in fruit or honey and coconut sugar. Processed fructose (the one to avoid) is D-fructose which is a reverse isomer with reverse polarity to the small amounts of natural D-fructose found in fruits. The unnatural form of D-fructose in agave and HFCS primarily raises triglyceride levels and increases adipose (fat) tissue. Natural L-fructose does not do this.

      Reply
  15. Hi Sarah,
    Do you have any tips on picking truly raw honey? I’ve been buying one labeled raw, but just found out that they heat the honey to 140 degrees during processing. Much like the “raw” cheese issue you wrote about. So frustrating! How do I pick a truly raw honey??? Some honey is solid at room temp–is that a better bet than the liquid ones?

    Reply
  16. @Kate:: Regarding your earlier post asking about stevia leaf…This is how I first used stevia, bought as dried leaves in Thailand. I would make a pot of ginger tea in one of those big things like they have on buffet tables or something…maybe a half gallon? In to that pot, I would use fresh ginger and only a few stevia leaves and it was plenty sweet!!

    Reply
  17. Rebecca in Abu Dhabi August 4, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Living where I do, I do not have some of the choices that you in North America do. I do the best we can with what we have! I have been on quest to find sucanat type sugar but have probably just ended up with the processed stuff you mentioned. I do have access to some exotic choices like Kitul Teacle from Sri Lanka and Date Honey Topping (just dates) from Saudi Arabia and jaggery (not sure what kind) from India. The jaggery and date honey tooping are a bit tricky to use because of taste a texture. Jaggery comes in big chunks that need to be shredded, producing a sticky mass of sweetness. Any suggestions?? Currently I substitute the treacle for maple syrup.

    Reply
    • Check out iherb.com. It ships internationally and has very low shipping rates.
      There you can find different kinds of coconut sugar, rapadura (Rapunzel brand), maple sugar and syrup.

      Reply
  18. I have not been able to find the difference between “evaporated cane juice” and “dehydrated cane juice”. Is there a difference?

    Reply
  19. Thank you for the video, but I am still confused re: turbinado vs. sucanat. I have been using
    Trad** Jo** Organic Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar. The ingredients listed are only organic evaporated cane juice. Is this the type of product that is processed and to be avoided?

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist August 7, 2011 at 10:21 pm

      Turbinado has been processed with some of the molasses removed. If you compare it to sucanat which has had nothing removed, they look and taste quite different.

      Reply
  20. Pingback: Consider Natural Sweeteners over Refined Sugar » I Researched 4U

  21. What is the skinny on “Just Like Sugar” products that are quite new? I personally only heard of it today. I like to order rapadura in bulk also but we use raw honey and maple syrup too.

    Reply
  22. sarah,
    what brand of molasses do you use…i can only get the Wholesome Sweeteners brand in my area but it is in plastic…

    thanks!

    Reply
  23. Hi Sarah,

    I make a lot of drinks at home and was wondering what kind of sweeteners will be better to use. There is so many of them on the market now, it is hard to know what to go with. I am looking for something healthy.

    Thanks a bunch!

    Reply
  24. you mention that you drank molasses with raw milk… I understand the calcium in milk blocks iron absorption? very curious, trying to bring my iron up in breastmilk as my 1 yr old is anemic. this would be an easy addition to what I’m doing already. thanks.

    Reply
  25. Hi Sarah,
    My son will turn 1 year next month. I would like to prepare a birthday cake for him. What sweeteners are safe for a one year old? I don’t have access to a good quality honey so I would like to avoid it for a bit longer. Could you recommend a particular flour to use as well?
    Thanks!

    Reply
  26. Hi Sarah,
    I love the web sight, and this article was very helpful. Do you have specific recommendations for replacing the nasty sweeteners called for in a specific recipes? Like a recipe that calls for a cup of white and a cup of brown- would I just use two cups of sucanat? or a two cups sucanat and a TB of molasses? to replace that ‘brown’ sugar flavor? If I also use einkorn flour or coconut flour- would it change the flavor entirely? or be a good substitute? Thank you :)

    Reply
  27. I would like to say that there is one thing that works, at least for me! It’s called lemon! I cut a lemon in half and take it to the bathroom with me. After I dry I get the half of the lemon and pat some of it very carefuly under my armpit. I let it dry completly before putting any clothes on. Now, since lemon can burn your skin, be sure never to expose the skin in the sun! It will burn you! Just make sure it’s dried. Store it in a container with a lid on to make sure it doesn’t dry completely. It can burn a bit if you use it right after shaving. Just hope this is healthy! ; )

    Reply
  28. Sarah, I am just overwhelmed by all the information, so please forgive me if I am asking something that has already been addressed elsewhere. I have type 2 diabetes, but I am going to beat the typical Conventional Wisdom protocol and someday not have to take meds. I LOVE my morning coffee and know it is only because it is sweet and creamy. I would never drink black coffee, though I have tried. My question is, what sweetener can I use that won’t affect my blood glucose, or affect it much? I was using splenda, then went on to Stevia in the Raw, now I have SweetLeaf Stevia. If the last is bad for me, then if you don’t have an answer, I’ll just have to give up my coffee. Not the end of the world, but the little pleasure I get to have is taken from me. Do you have some counsel for me? Thank you so much for all you do!

    Reply
  29. I’d really like to know a bit more about sorghum syrup. Do you know if this is healthy? I can get it locally and it’s much cheaper than honey or maple.

    Reply
  30. Hi, thanks for the all the informative videos and articles!!!

    I’ve been wondering about mixing molasses with milk: wouldn’t the calcium in the milk block the absorption of the iron in the molasses?

    Thanks again!

    Reply

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