Sugar substitutes include any sweetener used instead of regular table sugar, or sucrose.

Sugar is often one of the first items to be replaced when we are trying to cut back on challenges to a healthy weight and metabolism.

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The Best Way to Sweeten your Tea

However, the taste of sweet is something we all want, so we rely on sugar substitutes, particularly non-caloric varieties. The benefits of these include reduced risk of dental caries, hyperglycemia – particularly an issue for diabetics and prediabetics, and hyperinsulinemia – an issue in metabolic syndrome. Refined white sugar remains the taste standard to which all other sweeteners are compared.

Sugar substitutes are found in a variety of food and beverages marketed as “sugar-free” or “diet,” including soft drinks, chewing gum, jellies, baked goods, candy, fruit juice, yogurt, and ice cream. Several are available in powder, tablet, and/or syrup form to be used by the consumer to sweeten foods and beverages.

There are both artificial and natural sugar substitutes, as well as some in between – processed forms of natural sweeteners. There are both caloric and non-caloric types, including some with reduced caloric value that have a lower ‘glycemic index’ than sugar, meaning they have the advantage that they won’t raise blood sugar levels as rapidly or as steeply.

Learn more about foods that raise your blood sugar in our presentation.

Artificial non-caloric sweeteners

Artificial non-caloric sweeteners include acesulfame K (potassium), aspartame, saccharin, cyclamate, and sucralose. Some, such as aspartame and sucralose are based on natural substances, but have been modified in ways that make them “non-physiological,” meaning the body no longer processes them as it would the original substances. They are known to have notable aftertastes, but have been highly popular due to their lack of calories.

Artificial non-caloric sweeteners are controversial as they have been linked to various health disorders in research, including cancer. While it is claimed that the majority of these studies were conducted in animals under conditions that may not be relevant to general human use (i.e., amounts far above reasonable daily use), it is important to remember that these conditions are similar to those used for drug testing – and while the risks may be rare, they are still real. Further, and most importantly, these sweeteners have been shown to impair healthy weight management in two key ways: first, they influence how the body perceives intake, and may result in the semi-starvation state associated with rebound weight gain that is the bane of dieters; and second, they have been shown in research to disrupt the natural bacterial balance in the gut, a disruption linked to unhealthy metabolism.

Natural caloric sweeteners

Natural caloric sweeteners include agave nectar, honey, maple syrup, beet sugar, date sugar, raw cane sugar, molasses, coconut sugar, corn syrup and sugar alcohols or “polyols”, as well as the less commonly found tagatose and trehalose. With the important exception of corn syrup, these are believed to have lower-glycemic indices than processed white sugar, and some also have lower potential to cause dental caries. However, those highest in pure fructose, such as agave, have been linked to risk of fatty liver and elevated triglycerides (blood fats) with excessive use. The best of these are considered to be coconut sugar and molasses, which have the highest vitamin and mineral content of all the sugars/substitutes. Corn syrup is considered to carry the highest risk, especially the ultra-processed high-fructose corn syrup (also known as HFCS), in which the fructose has been concentrated to a degree with which the body cannot cope effectively – and so it has been linked to metabolic disease risks.

Sugar alcohols (i.e. erythritol, mannitol, maltitol, sorbitol, and xylitol) are carbohydrates that occur naturally in certain fruits and vegetables, but they also can be manufactured. They have fewer calories than regular sugar, approximately 2/3, but some also have less sweetness. They do not have significant aftertastes, but in large amounts may be associated with gastrointestinal side effects (cramping, gas, loose stools). Mannitol and sorbitol are most often used in processed foods and other products, including chocolate, candy, frozen desserts, chewing gum, toothpaste, mouthwash, baked goods and fruit spreads, usually replacing sugar on an equal basis. Erythritol is often used in combination with natural sweeteners such as Stevia rebaudiana and monkfruit to increase palatability, as it has near zero caloric value and is the least likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects. Xylitol is also used to sweeten products, but is also available as a standalone sugar substitute, and is considered the most advantageous of the sugar alcohols, as it has been shown to prevent dental plaque and bacterial overgrowth.

Tagatose and trehalose are considered “novel” sweeteners. They are natural sugars extracted from dairy and plants, respectively. Tagatose is nearly as sweet as refined sugar, with less than half the calories, and trehalose is about half as sweet as refined sugar with nearly the same caloric value; both have low glycemic indices. These are generally used in food products. Tagatose has been shown to lower blood glucose values in humans, and trehalose has antioxidant properties.

Regardless of perceived benefits, it is important to keep in mind that all but erythritol are still notable sources of energy, and use throughout the day can add up substantially to contribute to weight gain and/or curtail weight loss and management efforts.

Natural non-caloric sweeteners

Natural non-caloric sweeteners are generally extracts of plants (i.e. Stevia and monkfruit) that are innately many times sweeter than sugar. Because of their extreme sweetness, they are generally diluted with fillers, including sugar alcohols – most commonly erythritol, due to its nearly noncaloric value. Of all the sugar alcohols (also known as polyols), erythritol is the least associated with undesirable digestive side effects. Stevia is available in tablet or powdered form (both loose and in packets), or in liquid/syrup form. Monkfruit is currently available in powdered form (both loose and in packets).

The newest natural alternative sweetener is allulose. Allulose is a type of natural sugar that resembles fructose, the sugar found in fruit, and is itself found in some fruits. According to clinical research, allulose has “the bulk and the mouthfeel of table sugar with very reduced caloric content” – about one-tenth that of regular sugars – making it suitable for weight management plans. People with diabetes and can also benefit from it, as it has little effect on blood sugar.

No matter how good the sugar substitute – moderation is still important

When choosing sugar substitutes, it is important to be informed and take all advertising claims with a grain of salt. While artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes may help with weight and glycemic management, they are not all created equal, not “one size fits all,” and are certainly not a license to overdo sugar and calories elsewhere, and should not be overdone themselves. As with nearly all foods, the more natural and unprocessed, the better.
In your efforts to manage your weight and health, keep in mind that just because a product is marketed as sugar-free does not mean it’s free of calories or even carbohydrates, and certainly does not automatically make it healthy. If you eat too many sugar-free foods, you can still gain weight if they have other ingredients that contain calories, and you can still be at risk for the same health problems.

The bottom line

When in doubt, always go au natural: monkfruit sweetener (Monk Fruit in the Raw, Nectresse) or unprocessed Stevia powder/liquid/syrup if you want something that won’t add up at the end of the day, or xylitol if your use is generally low.

The Trim Down Club gives you all the tools you need to get to your weight loss goals (and still enjoy your food!). Click here to learn more.

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Comments 297

  1. Hi, BabyBoomer. Ironically, that product is actually among the most processed. If you would like to list the various Stevia products available where you shop, I would be happy to tell you which one is closest to the type we would recommend.

  2. I usually use honey or nothing as I don’t crave sweets – even during the holidays. 1-2 cookies gets rid of any desires for sweet foods. I have malabsorption and have to take Creon 24,000 units 2 capsules with meals and 1 with snacks.

  3. I just bought into this program yesterday, and am really learning a lot. Thank you for that. What I’d like to know is will my whey protein, pre and post work out supplements affect my new way of eating? And do I just continue taking these items as usual?

  4. I0 years ago I found the MOST TRUE to sugar taste in a product called “Kurlu”. It is a stevia based sugar substitute that can be found at “letstalkhealth.com” Suzan Somers has one as well called “Somersweet” that can be found on her website. They do nothing to your insulin level or blood sugar & are both excellent to bake with or just eat by the spoonful! They are actually healthy for you!
    Cathy Thomas

  5. I am using xylitol and wonder what you consider “generally” low. I use 2 tsp in coffee [usually 2 coffees a day] and usually as a sprinkle over yogurt . Not sure if this is too much or it keeps within the guidelines of “generally low” Any feedback will be appreciated. Grace Sewall

  6. Hi, Lois. Raw maple syrup is great – especially if you can confirm it is pure. Just note that it does have carbohydrates, and so will add up over the course of a day. However, if you just have up to a teaspoon (5 ml) a couple of times a day, no worries.

  7. Hi, Tufailbutt. Splenda is sucralose, which is an artificial sweetener – we don’t recommend this, as it may work against your efforts here. Raw sugar is fine as long as long as it is “whole,” and as long as you use it in moderation; it is still sugar and will add up over the day, so see if you can keep use down to 2 teaspoons or less daily.

  8. Hi, jbryant. If you click on the “Exchange mode” button above your finished menu in the Menu Planner, you will see the exchanges allocated to you based on your nutritional needs. “Counted” means it would take the place of one of those exchanges.
    As for powdered beverages, we don’t generally recommend those, as they tend to be full of artificial chemicals that can work against your efforts here. We recommend that you choose whole food based items – in this case, for example, brewed coffee, a natural sweetener from the above recommendations, vanilla extract, and natural dairy or non-dairy milk.

    • I too, even though I’m diabetic, have a problem with the 6 meals I’m supposed to eat. 3 small meals and 3 healthy snacks. e.g. My biggest problem is MORNINGS. My spouse is an early riser and is eating breakfast at 7:00 – 7:30. There is no way my stomach wants food that early in the morning. I’ve tried 9:00 – 9:30 and that is better, but my favorite time to eat breakfast is between 10:00 – 10:30, which sort of throws a time schedule for the 6 meals out the window.
      This morning I was eating the required foods on my Monday meal plan at 9:45 – 10:15. I had to run out to the gym (which was closed because it is Labor Day), so I did grocery shopping instead. It is now 1:39 and I’m about to fix a salad, but, I’m not at all hungry. I’ll be forcing the salad down. And there is no way my stomach will be ready for an afternoon snack. Any suggestions?

      • Hi, AvaGantor. Don’t fight it – 10 am is just fine for your breakfast meal, and working out and dining with your spouse are also very important things. Just be sure to get any fruit and dairy items scheduled for your snack at another meal.

  9. WHAT DO YOU MEAN COUNTED? IM NEW AT THIS. FIRST DAY. DO YOU MEAN NOT EATING SOMETHING ELSE ON MENU FOR THAT DAY? AND IS POWDERED SUGAR FREE FRENCH VANILLA BAD BECAUSE I HAD BEEN DRINKING THAT IN MY COFFEE PRETTY REGULAR.

  10. Hi, MaryRuss. CrystalLight uses artificial sweeteners that we wouldn’t recommend – they can actually work against your efforts here. It’s much preferred to add a natural sweetener (as above) to water and a few squeezes of lemon or lime.

  11. Hi, ShandyK. Maple syrup is fine if it is pure/real, and not imitation or “tainted” – be sure to read the label. Also keep in mind that it is still sugar, and it can add up. Your choice of honey is probably a little better, though again, it can add up – just use it in small amounts if you can. If not, note that each 2-1/2 teaspoons or 17-1/2 g is considered a carb exchange.

  12. Hi, Sparkyone1. Truvia is not ideal, but it is still better than wholly artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, and acesulfame K. People who are very sensitive to the taste of Stevia can only handle Truvia, so again, it’s the better option. As for Nectresse, it has been discontinued – but better versions are out there that are more pure, called by the Chinese name “lo han guo” (available through Amazon or at Whole Foods Market). Unprocessed Stevia can be found there, too, as well as health-oriented shops in general.

  13. Where can you purchase Monkfruit in the Raw, Nectresse and unprocessed Stevia? Also, you contradict yourself below. In response to The Shadow you say, “Regarding Truvia, it is a relatively processed form of Stevia, and so is not recommended in this program. We prefer regular Stevia, such as Sweet Leaf” but later tell Cass225 “Hi, Cass225. Truvia appears to be fine”. So, is Truvia fine or not? Still confused.

  14. Can anyone recommend which is the best sugar substitute that does not leave nasty aftertaste as some do such as Canderal etc. Really enjoy a cuppa when I ge tin from work and have always used unrefined cane sugar. Is this OK. New to the club.

  15. Hi, meade. We wouldn’t recommend Canderal because those products are based on artificial sweeteners – if you look at the nutritional information, you will find things like aspartame, acesulfame K, and sucralose listed, which are discussed in this article. If you are looking for something non-caloric, we recommend Stevia or monk fruit for beverages, and inulin for baking. Xylitol is good for both, but does have some calories.

  16. Hi, Miriam. The best way is to enter the Community (link above), and select the forum that best fits your question. Someone will get back to you there. If you have questions about recipes, just post each in the recipe or article in question. Regarding your sweetener question here, we don’t recommend Splenda because it is artificial, but the text on this page offers some natural alternatives that may be more consistent with your efforts in this program. Regarding your cheese choices, all are fine.

  17. Hi, trmme2170. Honey can be fine, as long as it is pure and/or raw, and not based on a significant amount of table sugar. Just note, though, that it can add up – so try to use it in moderation and count it in your daily intake if it reaches more than a full tablespoon (15 ml) in a day.

  18. Hi, genefair49. Skinnygirl contains ingredients that keep it from being on our recommended list, as do other products like it. The challenge with these drops is the need for a preservative, and the general choices is considered to be quite unhealthy. You are probably better off filling a purse-sized container with good Stevia and/or monk fruit powders for your on-the-go sweetening needs.

  19. Hi, smoore74. There are several imitation honey products on the market. Honeytree uses an artificial sweetener, which we wouldn’t recommend, as it may work against your efforts here. Nature’s Hollow makes a sugar-free product based on a natural sweetener, xylitol, which we also recommend here. If you yourself are not concerned about sugar, Bee-Free Honee is the most natural product on the market.
    As for Zulka, it is a bit better than the standard white sugar. However, it is still quite refined. If you can find something called Sucanat or a similar product that is darker brown than Zulka – and has “whole” on the label – that would be a better choice, at least for items where a brown sugar taste is acceptable.

  20. Also…almost forgot. I cannot have honey. I love honey too. It’s on my food sensitivity list….I have many unfortunately. So my grandmother said to try the imitation honey she uses —-she’s diabetic. I love it. I put a little on my cottage cheese. Is it a safe alternative?

  21. Hello….I purchased the brand name Zulka –Morena Pure Cane sugar to replace the standard white sugar I had been using. Other than baking, I only use sugar when I have my morning coffee or when I make a pitcher of tea for dinner. My husband has to have southern sweet tea with his meal! It fits within my budget and tastes good. Is this a good choice?

  22. Hi, LindseyA. Raw/unprocessed is better than the common agave products, but it is still disproportionately high in fructose, which makes it disadvantageous to the liver and blood fats, especially relative to some other sweeteners such as coconut sugar/nectar and yacon syrup.

  23. Hi, MarilynSue. We don’t recommend agave nectar because it has side effects that can interfere with your efforts here. If you are looking for a syrup type product with a sugary flavor, we suggest coconut nectar.

  24. That Stevia, organic does not have an aftertaste, but it recommends not using more than two packs a day. Tried the xylitol grandular and it’s ok, also the Monk Fruit extract and tried the Skinney girl packets. Skinney Girl when used with the Stevia, organic get the sweetest so far for me and no aftertaste.

  25. Hi, SnowBird. Monk fruit sweetener is available either as powder (i.e. Nectresse or Monk Fruit in the Raw) or liquid (usually combined with Stevia). It is sold in health-oriented shops, such as Whole Foods Market, but some major grocery stores carry it, too. The Equinox product looks excellent.

  26. For many years, I ingested large amounts of aspartame every day, (in my coffee, on my cereal, low fat yogurt, low fat everything! and at least 2 flavored waterers every day) and have just quit using it. I am very active and eat fairly healthy, but can never seem to lose the 5 pounds I want to lose. I am wondering if it is because of all the aspartame that has built up in my body. I have started using Equinox Organic Maple Flakes, made from pure maple syrup and organic cranberry juice concentrate. I would assume that this would be a healthy alternative?

  27. Hi I am using Truvia which I find doesn’t leave an aftertaste. I have used in cooking as well and can’t tell the difference. You only need a small amount than recipes state which also makes it more economical as it is quite expensive to buy, but I find it the best. Is it a natural substance?

  28. I’ve gone 2% powdered milk. I’m hoping it’s better than powdered creamer. Stevia and/ or Coconut Sugar is what I’m using to sweeten it. Creamer….is it far better than the options, or am I making a bad choice on this one?

  29. YOUR WORDS….honey is not really recommended in this program, due to the effect of concentrated fructose on the liver and blood fats (this is true even if it is “raw”)…..MY Q – pure honey contains fructose? as an additive or is it part of the honey itself?
    I ask because I haven’t had white sugar for years, but use honey daily…..honey produced by a local farm, not the store bought processed garbage….which led me to understand that “real” honey was a good alternative to sugar….are you telling us this is NOT the case?
    Thanks,
    Dan

  30. For all those who want a natural non-caloric sweetener but do not like the taste of Stevia, try monk fruit (also known as lo han guo), inulin, or a combination.
    Truvia is a form of Stevia that has somewhat less of an aftertaste.

  31. Hi, Mjhantsche. Unfortunately, we do not recommend ‘Sugar in the Raw,’ because ironically, it is actually quite processed. I suggest to find an organic ‘whole’ evaporated cane juice product, including Sucanat.

  32. Hi, Sherry. We don’t recommend Sweet-n-Low because it is artificial and can work against your efforts here. Recommended alternatives are monk fruit (also called lo han guo), inulin, Stevia, or combinations of any of these.

  33. Hi, WoolEvery. Raw cane sugar is brown and has a bit of a brown sugar flavor, but is much better for you than regular brown sugar, which is often refined white sugar with some molasses added back in (the body does know the difference!).

  34. Never heard of monk fruit sweetner in Canada neither! Me I use Splenda. But I also want to cut back on it…so I use 1/2 a teaspoon for now. When I will run out of splenda, I will try stevia or might try to find Monk fruit. I think we have to gradually change our habits to new ones. I would use what I have on hand first because I don’t like to waste any food…then buy the new stuff.

  35. I must refrain from caffeine; even the amount in regular green tree is quite troublesome to me. Therefore, I need to ask if drinking decaffeinated tea, and various herbal teas, would be appropriate, beneficial, and allowed. As far as sweeteners go, I go back and forth from table sugar to stevia; I don’t mind the flavor of stevia, but I do notice that it, and any other artificial sweeteners, create a bladder urgency (irritable bladder?). So I tend to stick with sugar. I am quite a sweet-lover, but I also know from experience that if a person removes all added sugars and sweeteners from the diet, after a week or so, the natural sweetness of foods will come shining through! When I was off all added sugars, a dried prune tasted like ambrosia, and I thoroughly enjoyed the natural sweetness of whole-grain crackers. So I think perhaps eliminating the added sugars may be what will be best for me; difficult to manage at first, but well worth it in the end! Foods tasted cleaner and more flavorful; I was able to taste the natural sweetness of foods after eliminating the added sugars. Like I said before, it took about a week to overcome the craving for sugar; in my case, it was almost like drug addiction, so it was truly a withdrawal of the drug of choice; sugar. It was NOT easy or fun, but worth it!

  36. The best sweetener to use is ‘SWEET FREEDOM’ this is 100% fruit sugar and has no additives. it is SYRUP, and can be used on lots of items and drinks, also 25% fewer calories. It can be bought from Morrisons, or any good grocery/supermarket.

  37. Hi, I am new to the club (like I joined today) and I cannot use any sugar substitute like Stevia or Equal as these bring on a migraine. I can use Sweet & Low & suppose I could use Agave (but it is so sweet). Is the Sweet & Low O.K.?

  38. If you are sensitive to corn, stay away from xylitol… it is corn based. Also stay away from corn starch, corn hidden in cereals. Same thing with eggs, stay away even from some egg substitutes as they have eggs in them gelatin can be used to replace eggs… check on line for more information on that one. I find that eggs really cause me a lot of pain, and the corn causes inflammation to increase. Read Labels.

  39. I just joined today. I agree with the shadow from 7-20-13. Lots of this stuff I have never heard of. I am on a very low income and dooubt I can afford to buy most of the stuff they want you to eat. Any suggestions for something like this? I know most of the stuff is healthy but I can’t afford the basic fruits and vegies that you need to eat every day. I also use splenda becausse I have it and it is cheaper then the rest.

  40. Answers to some of your questions:
    Rossana – Stevia is encouraged as a natural sweetener (see paragraph about “Natural non-caloric sweeteners”)
    PatriciaRobinson – At this time, Natvia appears to be one of the better commercial Stevia products, relatively unprocessed.
    Joycesmit – Just before this Comments section, you will see the last tiny paragraph of the article, and above this the header “The bottom line”.
    Hildamaude – evaporated milk milk is fine in small amounts.
    DonnaCaristo – the Trim Down Club program is based in large part on principles of type 2 diabetes care and prevention.
    KathleenCase – honey is not really recommended in this program, due to the effect of concentrated fructose on the liver and blood fats (this is true even if it is “raw”)
    DebbieChandler – Stevia syrup is also known as “liquid Stevia,” which is available at WalMart (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Sweetleaf-Sweet-Drops-Liquid-Stevia-Sweetener-2-fl-oz/21091400)

  41. Hi I am a type n2n diabetic and have noticed that it asks a choice for low sugar, is this Diabetic friendly for weight loss and control of glucose ?also.Website doesn’t talk about it before ordering. Just need to know cause we T2D’s have to weight control and PORTION control as well. Thanks

  42. I thank all of you who commented on your experience with sweeteners and/or asked questions regarding them. I am new to the program, and the comments and questions are both interesting and enlightening. For instance, I was very surprised to learn that agave can affect the liver. Wow! this was an eye opener. I, like many others, thought agave (being a natural sweetener) was a good thing. Well, like Oprah says “when you know better, you do better.” Thanks for the enlightenment!

  43. Hi, The Shadow. Please see below responses to the questions. Whenever you see my name/photo, that is a response.
    The foods in the Menu Planner are relatively unknown to many people, and that is part of their advantage – they are not as mass-produced as many other foods, and so are less manipulated and refined. We provide articles regarding these foods, and will continue to do so to make sure people understand just how incredibly beneficial these foods can be for weight loss efforts and general health.
    For bottom-line recommendations in the articles, look toward the end of the article. For example, in the present article, the last line gives the recommendation.
    Regarding specific brands of foods and sweeteners, we do not write articles about those, and usually do not list them. We generally give guidance regarding how to make choices, so that if a new product becomes available, you can make the judgement call without waiting for the article. At any time, however, you can post questions about them, and we will get back to you. Regarding Truvia, it is a relatively processed form of Stevia, and so is not recommended in this program. We prefer regular Stevia, such as Sweet Leaf.

  44. A lot of the stuff in this, and the menu, I have no idea what they are, or if I would like them or not. Not everyone knows about this stuff is, or works with it as you do. There were over half of some of the stuff I have never heard of, let alone if I would, or would not like them. I use Truvia, by reading this, I have no idea if it is good to use or not?
    This is what I find with almost every one of these plan’s. When you wright it, you just assume that the rest of us know what the heck you are talking about? Can you just say if this one is good, and don’t use these by name?
    I see a lot of people asking questions, but I do not see any reply’s!! What’s up with this??

    Why should we leave a reply, if we get no reply back? IF you could write me back with a reply, I would be most approached. Thank you very much.

  45. Hi I’m concerned! I just started this program and i am on the go constantly I really like doing my herbal life shakes and my nutra blast smoothies shakes. I do not want to replace those. What can I do

  46. Splenda and Sweetex are both considered artificial sweeteners, and have been associated with weight gain – and so are not recommended in this program. NuStevia is fine, but be aware of which type you buy – if it is not the No Carb option, then be aware that the carbs can add up.

  47. Hi, Annette421. Most non-dairy creamers such as CoffeeMate are highly processed and high in “bad” fats, and so are not recommended. A popular alternative is almond milk.
    However, if you use only a very small amount per day, say 1 teaspoon, and have not had luck with alternatives, then don’t worry too much about it.

  48. Hi, Irismi. Coconut sugar is an exccellent choice, and organic natural cane sugar is a close second. Just note that these are not carbohydrate- or calorie-free, and will add up – but no more than agave. Agave is less desirable because it affects the liver in a way that will work against your efforts here.

  49. Hi, KeithSpencer, and others mentioning Splenda. Just a reminder that it is an artificial sweetener, and not recommended in this program, as it may work against you. Research studies have linked it to additional weight gain due to faulty signals it sends in the body.
    If Stevia’s aftertaste is too strong, monk fruit sweetener is a natural option that is somewhat milder.

  50. Stevia products consist of extracts from the Stevia rebaudiana plant, which is naturally sweet. Products are found in health-oriented stores (including large chains such as Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s), but also increasingly in mainstream grocery stores next to the artificial sweeteners. Some of the products out there are highly processed with undesirable chemicals, such as Truvia, and/or have undesirable fillers, such as Stevia in the Raw. The best bet are products based on Sweet Leaf.

  51. Hi, adrianaatkinson, and all others interested in honey. Honey is not recommended in significant amounts in this program because it is mostly concentrated fructose, which can work against your weight loss and health goals, even raising blood and liver fats. Same with agave nectar and maple syrup. Recommended alternatives include coconut sugar and even organic natural cane sugar.

  52. Hi, dsdobbs. “Moderation” when it comes to honey means perhaps 1 Tablespoon throughout the day (not all at once).
    Regarding Splenda, just a reminder that it is an artificial sweetener and not recommended on this program. Such sweeteners have been shown to work against weight loss and related health effforts.

  53. I have used several substitute sweetners over twenty years and have come back to splenda I use it in tea and coffee and for home made jams and pickles. Spoon for spoon cup for cup with less calories and I have not noticed an unpleasant taste from it.also its made from sugar so realy its a way of cutting down on sugar. There are comments on Stevia from plant suger i have tried this product as well, not sure about the calorie content to compare it with Splenda so no comment but Splenda is my choice

  54. I just join the program tonight. I hope this program help me and encourage me to reach the weight I need to be to maintain my health. In my house we use organic raw sugar, organic agave, stevia in the raw and raw honey. Depending of what we’re eating we choose what to used (in greek yogurt we use agave, hot green tea we use honey or stevia), ect. I have never had coconut sugar, can we use this natural sugar in everything including baking? Please help.

  55. From the above article, I understand that all artificial sweeteners are bad for our health. They advise natural caloric sweeteners, but caution moderation because they will affect the weight lost effort; corn is not recommended, and coconut seems to be the best. Their bottom line is, go natural with Monkfruit, Nectresse, unprocessed Stevia powder/liquid/syrup if you don’t want add-ups, and xylitol, with moderation. If you prefer organic honey or pure maple syrup, it’s up to you if your intake is done with moderation. Splenda, Equal, and the like are all artificial and are not recommended if you don’t want to sabotage your weight lost efforts, or stay healthy.
    Where to find all these goodies? Why not check out the Healthy Food section of your grocery store, or stores that specialize in healthy food like Whole Food and Trader’s Joe?
    If you joined this club, I guess you want to loose weight and stay healthy. So, try to follow their advice as close as possible. If you can’t, make the healthiest choice possible with a lot of moderation.
    GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF YOU!!! (I joined last night and I hope I will be able to make good use of the program).

  56. I drink coffee every morning and use Truvia. I like the taste of it. My doctor told me to use only natural stuff whether it is sugar, water, ETC. It is more exspensive, but if it’s going to help your health it worth it to me.

  57. I just joined the club today. I have been so depressed over my weight and have had such low motivation to do anything about it. I really hope this program will help and hope I will get encouragement from you who are working the program.

  58. Can you use too much Stevia in a day that is not healthy? I put it in my coffee avg 2 cups a day. Is Splenda bad for you? What about Truvia. I really need to know what is the best sweetner as I have to have sweet coffee.

  59. I have been using honey to sweeten my green tea, and have quit drinking my 32oz of regular sweet tea daily, have also given up soda for gatorade, but still drinking my coffee with regular sugar but lowing the amount to only half of what I use to use 1heeping spoon now only 1/2 teaspoon.

  60. I joined today hoping for success. I’m allergic to most of the artificial sweetners that are out. Reading some of your postings, I think I would probably should stick to honey or the agave, which I haven’t tried. Thats one step 1, of the process of not drinking sugar that I can start today! THANKS for your info! Keep writing. F.M.

  61. I enjoy drinking a nice hot cup of tea. I have gotten use to drinking it without sugar however when I do want a sugar taste to the tea I will eat a handful of raisins with my tea this way I am also getting fiber with a sweet taste. In the past I would put honey and or lemon in my tea too.

  62. I do not drink tea, but I drink 1 (12oz)cup of coffee each morning. I’ve tried monkfruit and stevia and can’t handle the aftertaste, so I use 2 splenda packets or 1 T of sugar. Which is the better choice?

  63. I went to a conference a few months back and 1 of the guest speakers was a dietian. She explained alot to us about sweetners and I bought a cook book from her after the conference was over. I believe the last part of this article “BOTTOM LINE” says it all. I have been using Nectresse for several moths now and I love it. Personal choice is really what I got from this. I have tried Stevia… although I am not a big fan of it… try new stuff. You never know. PLUS: it is VERY important to read the serving table on the item so you can use it properly. Good Luck!

  64. I’ve been studying this issue for years, and will share the simplest answers for most of your questions. The writer, here, did say the most natural sweeteners are the best, healthiest way to go.

    Stevia is the best, as long as you get the unprocessed or organic kind without the extra fillers. Truvia has the fillers in it. Stevia is made from a leaf naturally. It has 0 calories and has 0 glycemic index, meaning it will not negatively affect the glycemic index of human blood, meaning it does not raise the blood sugar levels, especially for diabetics.

    Grade B dark amber maple syrup is the most natural maple syrup, is healthy to use, and is acceptable in limited amounts. Regular store maple syrup that’s cheap is mostly sugar and is not healthy at all.

    Blue Agave is a natural sweetener that many holistic practioners prefer, but should be used in moderation. Honey, also, is a natural, healthy choice, but again only when used in moderation as well, since it is high in fructose. Honey is a miracle food, that some have called food of the gods. It fights off infections and has anti-inflammatory properties. When you have a cold or flu or allergies, a teaspoon of honey with a sprinkle of cinnamon powder twice a day will help you to get well faster, or fight off those infections all together in some cases.

    Splenda is made of half normal white sugar, or sucrose, and also processed sugar substitutes, which makes it a bad choice. I refuse to use any of the man-made, processed, sugar substitutes, and would much rather use full-on real pure sugar to any of those.

    Equal/Nutrasweet/Aspartame is one of the worst things you can put in your body. I consider it a poison. It can cause migraines and other health problems.

    Go natural, and use all in moderation.

  65. I am new to the Club as of today. A year ago I gave up processed and raw sugar on the advice of my immunologist. Due to autoimmune disease, sugar was causing fungal infections. She recommended agave nectar. I love it. Now, I see it is not a good sweetener for health. Does anyone know how Stevia compares to agave nectar?

  66. rn2sing wrote: I’m using Stevia In The Raw. Is this ok to use?

    Great question, my wife Stella and I also use Stevia In The Raw. Would love to hear from a moderator if this is full of fillers. It’s reasonably priced so probably bad for us. Who knows, would love to see if this has fillers.

    Tom

  67. Years ago when I was doing another diet, I learnt that Stevia was a great sugar substitute..
    it was easy to use and helped me lose a lot of weight… & I reached my goal..
    Since then I have had a lot of stess in my life. like 3 spinal operations, last 1 failed, am now in a wheelchair,
    got a divorce ( due to husband unable to accept. so he had affair) I gained it all back..
    so now with the help of the Trim Down Club I’m regaining my inspiration again.. Thank You belle58 !!

  68. Good article….it did nto mention Splenda, which is the one I have used for quite some time now. I am new to the plan and will convert to stevia, as soon as I get to a store that carries it. In the meantime, I am rying to just stay away from it. I use it in my morning coffee (decaf).

  69. For those who have type 2 diabetes and are seeking advice, I can tell you a story about how I saved my mother’s life. She was 79 diabetic and overweight. The doctors gave her one medication after another, until she could no longer remember who I was, she could barely make it to the bathroom with a walker, and finally was taken to the hospital to die. I took matters into my own hands, brought her to my home, and placed her on a very strict low carb diet. Her breakfast was oatmeal, banana and milk. Typical lunch consisted of one or two eggs, 2 slices of whole grain toast, a tablespoon of low fat cheese and skim milk. Dinner was a piece of chicken, some vegetables or salad and a small potatoe with a glass of skim milk. At 8pm I gave her some plain yogurt. I stopped giving her all of the medecations with the exception of thyroid, which I could not replace with food. I gave her a strong multi vitamin I bought at Whole Foods and an additional Vitamin D. We did sitting excercises daily, at first, and in a few months she was able to walk every day. Within a year her doctor announced that she was no longer a diabetic, and her stats were better than mine. It’s been 7 years now, she can run up the steps and leads a very happy and healthy life, free of medications.:) In my opinion the healthiest sweeteners are natural, something you would find in the garden of eden. I use coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, and honey. If I need to cut back on calories I use Organic Stevia. Always make sure you buy it at a reputable place such as Whole Foods. I hope this helps. Bella

  70. I use Stevia as a sweetener most of the time, and raw cane sugar for baking etc.
    However, I have found a HUGE difference in the various brands of Stevia as far as sweetness is concerned. Some call for one teaspoon of stevia (powder) = 1 teaspoon of sugar, BUT I found another brand “Herbal Select” that includes a very small scoop ( about 1/20 of a teaspoon) for the same amount of sweetening power!(They also make a liquid version that just takes a few drops to sweeten my tea.)
    It pays to check the “dose” in order to get the most for your hard earned dollars /pounds/euros etc. Right?

  71. I don’t see any mention of 100% pure maple syrup. Not the “pancake syrup” that is normally sold in grocery stores. I’m talking about the dark, grade B, if possible, PURE maple syrup. The darker, the better. This is a lot healthier than honey and some of the other substitutes, which can raise your blood glucose levels. We use it in our coffee and tea, and on hot cereal. It has also shown to help in cancer prevention and also helps prevent heart disease.

    You would have to like the maple flavor, tho. :O)

  72. I get out of the article above that Stevia is the way to go. They also list it in the recipes they provide. I guess the inventors of this site never get on here to address anyone’s questions. It would be helpful if they did. Good luck everyone!

  73. The bottom line of the article says:
    When in doubt, always go au natural: monkfruit sweetener (Monk Fruit in the Raw, Nectresse) or unprocessed Stevia powder/liquid/syrup if you want something that won’t add up at the end of the day, or xylitol if your use is generally low.

    You can do otherwise but your results may suffer.

  74. I have read the 41 responses to THE BEST WAY TO SWEETEN YOUR TEA but what do the experts say???!!! I have also just joined and would just like a straight answer. I, like a lot of the people here,use splenda on my cereal, brown sugar in my tea and honey in my coffee.

  75. Honey should be used in moderation because it is high in fructose, which in significant amounts can add up and sabotage your efforts with little to know health advantage. Coconut sugar is considered a healthier option – but again, it can add up.

  76. Truvia contains a processed form of Stevia, and so is less desirable that the natural form. If you find the taste of Stevia challenging, you can mellow it out a bit by exchanging some of it for xylitol, a tasteless sugar alcohol.

  77. Amazon uk has stevia but can not find syrup unless liquid stevia is same!
    If you want answers go on face book.I think forums are for members as today is my first day and I have read through the forums and they do not appear to monitor them much!

  78. Stevia, a plant-based sweetner. I use the packets. I believe it comes loose & in syrup form. Lots of recipes ask for the syrup. Monkfruit, I saw for the 1st time today. Made up from different fruits. Will check it out oneday.

  79. The above info is informative, but gave me no clear cut choice. I use Stevia in my tea and coffee and I guess I will continue to do so. Information is great, but your header suggested that we were going to be told “The best way to sweeten our tea”. Didn’t happen.

  80. What is the best substitute for sugar? My life if far too busy to read through all this info. I need quick and easy answers. I am finally motivated to lose weight and am looking for the basics not a lengthy analysis. Not even sure where to look for your answer.

  81. Hi. I joined today and cannot believe how much my life is run by sugar…..But, I do sweeten my tea with honey & have done so for a number of years as I noticed it didn’t give me the sugar lows afterwards…..Very interesting.

  82. New to the program and like the educational aspect of it. I stopped using saccharine and aspartame, switching over to the plant-based sweetener for my tea. Was this the right way to go? What is the best product to use?

  83. hi I’m a new member and reading about all the sugar substitutes it’s still confusing. I myself like using Splenda, but I found that over the years I am using more to sweeten my food. I’m still confused on what to use.

  84. my name is melvina teelon And I just joined today.I am 5ft. tall and I weigh 160 lbs. I am a type 2 diabetic I am on Metformin 4 pills a day ,and Januvia and actos. I have had 5 bypass surgery on my heart and I have had 2 heart attackes and I now have 3 stents in .so being over weight is bad for me ,but I crave sweets all the time so I’m hoping you can help me .I am 79 years old and married.

  85. Hi I am new to trim down club, I am Diabetic (due to age and weight and am treated with Glicazide and Metfonmin) I also have an underactive Thyroid which slows down my metabolism. I have tried to lose weight many times and been unsuccessful, my GP had also said it would be almost impossible to lose weight so it would be better to just make sure not to put any more weight on! I have been on a similar diet for 3 months I took out white/brown bread, pastry and many sweet things from my diet. I began to eat more fruit & veg I used ryevita instead of bread and I also used Stevia as my sugar substitute. I lost 10lbs and so I was pleased to join your club and with your recipes and ideas I am now looking forward to losing more weight, I had hit a point where I lost nothing for 4 weeks Hope to start again now with your help
    Crochetsheila

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