Learning to be sweet without sugar

18 October, 2019

A lot of diabetics as well as the health-conscious want to decrease their intake of sugar; and have a volley of questions about sugar and sugar substitutes! How to cut back on sugar? What are the recommended sugar alternatives? The benefits and side effects associated with sugar replacements? How much is too much?

The important thing for you to understand is, if sugar seldom finds its way into your diet – like a donut once a fortnight or an ice cream once a month, and in diminutive doses, then a small serving of a sugared treat once in a while, will in fact help you stay on the path and prevent you from feeling deprived! It is vital for you to monitor that sugar does not habitually sneak its way in, via the apparently ‘healthy’ cereals, frozen yogurt, processed foods, etc. If the mainstay of your diet is whole cereals, legumes and unprocessed foods without added sweeteners, you have nothing to get paranoid about!

Sugar substitutes for diabetics

We’ve rounded up for you a couple of excellent alternatives to sugar:



By and large, most nutritionists’ and dieticians’ top pick is honey. It is rather versatile, has a fairly long shelf life, and most essentially, has always been considered a medicinal food, stocked up on vitamins, minerals, as well as anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties. Honey is sweeter than normal sugar; consequently, you need to use a lot less of it. If you're substituting honey in a recipe for sugar, use half the quantity it says to use. Honey works wonderfully well in sauces, yogurt, tea and coffee.

Agave nectar

Agave nectar

Agave nectar is obtained from Agave tequiliana plant. It is sweeter than regular sugar. Initially, when introduced, the agave nectar was remarkably popular because it has a lower glycemic index in comparison with sugar. However, eventually, it garnered a lot of disapproval due to the refining process used to manufacture it as well as the fact that the somewhat high fructose content was similar to high-fructose corn syrup.

Maple syrup

Maple syrup

Made from the sap of maple trees, you have grades A and B of maple syrup. Grade A is light, medium, or dark amber-coloured, while Grade B is the darkest. Maple syrup boasts of strong anti-oxidant activity and proffers humongous health benefits. One teaspoon will provide you with a small bit of calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, and zinc. It also has a lower glycaemic index than sugar. Maple syrup tastes fantastic with plain yogurt, granola, and a bowl of oatmeal. It blends well into sauces and marinades, and most definitely makes a great addition to nearly all recipes!

Coconut sugar

Coconut sugar

Coconut sugar has been rather well-liked. It's manufactured from the sap of the coconut palm tree and has a brown hue. When it comes to a calorie comparison, it's nearly the same as regular sugar; nonetheless it does have a minute amount of potent vitamins and minerals from the coconut plant.



A calorie-free substitute to sugar, Stevia is derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant found in South America. In general, most stevia products are recognized safe by the Food and Drug Administration; although the use of the stevia leaf and crude extracts are disapproved due to safety hazards. What’s more, some people are known to complain about a bitter aftertaste of the Stevia.

Pick the sugar alternative that's best for you.

Addressing the fundamental cause for strong sugar cravings is very crucial. Also, discovering the experience of naturally present sweetness in most food helps supports your wellness goals for the long term. To indulge into it, once in a while, and to satisfy the sweet tooth - opt for a healthier alternative to sugar. There’s a multitude to select from.

On the whole, decide on what you enjoy the most and that which will bring about satiety in smaller amounts. You could experiment with all the sugar replacements that are available and settle for the one that’s best for you!

This article is authored by Dr. Shweta U. Shah


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s). Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author(s).

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