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I am trying to cut back on my sugar and have been looking for a natural sweetener to use in my coffee and tea. Could you explain the difference between these and sugar and which would you recommend?
by Vic2016

I am trying to cut back on my sugar and have been looking for a natural sweetener to use in my coffee and tea. Could you explain the difference between these and sugar and which would you recommend?


Comments

Joanne Perez, MS, RDN, LD

The nutritional difference between white/table sugar, raw sugar, honey and agave nectar is insignificant. But because agave and sugar are sweeter than white sugar, you might not need as much. Here are some facts about these natural sweeteners:

White (table) sugar is made from sugar cane or beet juice and is the most processed. 1 tsp of sugar contains 16 calories.

Raw sugar is derived from sugar cane juice, raw sugar and is slightly less processed than white sugar.

Honey is often higher in calories and fructose and usually has little to no processing. It should not be given to infants because it may contain botulism bacteria spores.

Agave nectar is extracted from a desert plant and is a concentrated source of sweetness. Many people like it because it has a lower glycemic index. Like honey, it should not be given to babies since it is not pasteurized.

Stevia is a non-nutritive natural sweetener that is naturally derived from the South American stevia plant. It is virtually calorie free, very sweet and does not raise blood sugar. But is does have a bitter aftertaste which is which often lessened in products like Truvia and PureVia.

It is a personal choice as to which sweetener you use. Just remember that our bodies don't discriminate between these sweeteners, except stevia. They are used either for energy or stored (except for stevia). Don't be fooled into thinking that natural means healthier.


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