3 Sugar Alternatives That Are Good For You

If you enjoy sweet foods or beverages but worry about the negative effects of sugar on your health (and your waistline), you are probably familiar with most of the common sugar substitutes like saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose. But new research suggests that these sugar substitutes may not be good for your health either. A study of mice that were given either sugar or artificial sweeteners found that the mice getting the sweeteners were prone to obesity and diabetes because of the way the sweetener affected their intestinal bacteria. The mice receiving the sugar did not have the same problem. If you're trying to stay away from sugar, but you're also worried about the effects of artificial sweeteners on your health, do you have to give up sweets altogether? Not necessarily. Take a look at some natural sugar alternatives that are actually good for your health.

Yacon Syrup

Yacon syrup comes from the yacon plant, which is a type of daisy that's native to South America. The syrup used for sweetening actually comes from the root of the plant. It tastes similar to molasses or caramelized sugar, which makes it a great choice for baking and for making syrups and sauces. Although yacon syrup is quite sweet, it has only about half the calories of table sugar, and it has a low glycemic index score.

Better yet, yacon syrup has several health benefits. It's been found to help reduce obesity, and it also contains fructooligosaccharides that help improve calcium absorption in the body, which can lead to better bone health and protect against bone loss. Fructooligosaccharides are also prebiotics that can help improve digestion and treat minor digestive problems. Some studies show that yacon syrup can help raise testosterone levels and increase sperm number in men as well.


Erythritol is what's known as a sugar alcohol. That means that it's a hybrid of a carbohydrate and an alcohol. If you chew sugarless gum, you may be familiar with xylitol, which is a sugar alcohol. However, erythritol has considerably fewer calories than xylitol – it has only .24 calories per gram, compared to 2.4 calories per gram for xylitol, and 4 calories per gram for sugar.

While sugar alcohols have a reputation for causing digestive problems, erythritol is mostly absorbed by the body before it reaches the colon, where it would be most likely to cause problems. Though eating very large amounts of erythritol could still cause digestive problems, in ordinary amounts, you probably won't experience any problems. Because erythritol is mostly excreted in the same form it was when it was eaten, it has no effect on blood sugar or insulin levels, making it an excellent choice for people with diabetes. And while ordinary sugar can contribute to tooth decay, some studies have shown erythritol to actually have a protective effect on teeth.

Monk Fruit Sweetener

Monk fruit sweetener is made from monk fruits, which are round melon-like fruits that grow in Southeast Asia. Although the juice of the fruit is as much as 150-200 times sweeter than table sugar, it has no calories at all, making it a great sugar substitute for dieters.

Monk fruit sweetener is safe sugar substitute – it can be used by most people, including people with diabetes, pregnant and nursing women, and children. Because it's so much sweeter than ordinary sugar, you may have to adjust your recipes when cooking with monk fruit sugar. Monk fruit sugar may even make you feel better when you're sick. In traditional Chinese medicine, monk fruit is used to treat colds and sore throats, because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

You don't have to risk the adverse health effects of artificial sugars or settle for ordinary sugar with all of its calories and other drawbacks. These natural sugars can help you improve your health and enjoy a diet that's filled with sweetness.