You’re Sweet Enough: Healthy Sugar Alternatives!

Confused about all the possible sugar alternatives out there? Not sure which tastes the most like sugar without the insulin response? Curious to know how Stevia can be used in baking?

Today I will talk about my favorite sugar alternatives. You’ll learn about the benefits of Xylitol in particular if you are on a low carbohydrate diet, and the added nutritional benefits of coconut palm sugar. I’ll also share with you some thoughts on artificial sweeteners and clarify the controversy about agave nectar.

While there are a bunch of alternatives you can try, remember, the goal is to reduce the amount of sugars in our diets in general and this can be a challenging practice. So I want to hear from you!

What do you do or use to keep sugar cravings at bay? Have you found any of the sweeteners mentioned in today’s Motivational Monday to be helpful to you on your quest to reduce sugars in your diet? Do you have a favorite? Let me know! We’d all love to hear about your experiences~

Have a great Monday and a happy week!

Share Your Thoughts...

23 comments on “You’re Sweet Enough: Healthy Sugar Alternatives!

  1. AvatarDebra Burton

    You have some of the BEST information! Please keep up the incredible videos that are so full of REAL knowledge, short and to the point. Just excellent!
    Sports Nutrition Consultant (years ago) and Aesthetician

    1. AvatarBarbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Thanks Debra! And sorry for the long delay in approving this but I have been traveling abroad with very limited internet access…. so glad though that you enjoy the site!
      Wishing you all the best~

  2. AvatarDr Leslie Gerstman

    Great video. So glad you to hear you talk honestly about agave.
    Agave marketers have done an incredible job getting their product on the shelf
    Unfortunately, it’s not that great for you. Slightly better than cane sugar, yes.
    But that’s not saying much .
    I’m a big coconut nectar fan. Tastes great, has some nutritional value, and low glycemic response.
    I also like raw honey in my tea when I’m sick. Has anti microbial and anti viral properties and tastes yummy 🙂

  3. AvatarWendy Silvester

    Fantastic info Barbara! Very informative and so important as there are many people out there looking to live a healthier lifestyle but need guidance and information to make changes to their diet/way of life. Love the videos and recipes – keep them coming! Also what are your thoughts on organic/raw honey or rice malt syrup as other alternative sweetners in cooking/recipes?

    1. AvatarBarbara Mendez, RPh, MS Post author

      Thanks Wendy! I am glad you liked it!
      Both honey and rice malt syrup are fine as sweeteners, but regular honey has a higher glycemic index than table sugar so if you are looking to keep weight and cravings under control, it may not be the best option. However, you asked specifically about RAW honey, which has a quite a low glycemic response, making it better than regular honey. As with all sweeteners, use respectfully in order to keep sugar cravings in general in check and to keep you from creating a taste preference for sugar.
      Thanks again!

      1. AvatarWayne W. Skarda

        It would be good if you explained that there is no connection
        between a sugar alcohol and alcohol as we know it. This
        misconception will turn a lot of people off…..especially when
        it comes to their kids consuming it. (xylitol)…..among others.


  4. AvatarDee

    I have been trying to get my fat percentage down. It is at 32, and I weigh 130. My question to you is, should I stay away from good fats? There”s so many mixed messages out there about eating good fats. This is what I eat on a daily basis, avocados, black olives in my salad at lunch time. And banana”s in my protein shake.

    1. AvatarBarbara Mendez

      Hey Dee~ While it is important to be mindful of the amount of calories one takes in overall, fat being high in calories, by far the biggest contributor to body fat are the foods that contain sugar and/or are quickly digested into sugar. Common foods that might be seen as “healthy” but are loaded in sugars include muffins, granola bars, cereals….A good way to avoid these sugars is to eat foods as they exist in nature, whole foods, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, rice, beans and some protein.
      I hope this helps!

  5. AvatarLaura Bode

    Hi Barbara,

    Limiting and decreasing sugar in my diet is still a challenge for me. I’ve been using Agave as a sweetner for a couple of years. I’ve heard its not the best choice, as you explained, but haven’t made a change yet. I’d like to give Xylitol a try. Can you tell me what stores sell it?
    Hope all is well with you.

  6. AvatarJon Sheppard

    Hey Barbara,
    Thanks for the VERY useful info!! I didn’t realize the effect sugar was having on me but as I watching your video, I kept saying “yeah, I see that” or “wow, I could do that!” .
    Keep the great info coming!!!

    Best regards,

  7. Avatarjorge mendez

    I, as you know do not have a sweet tooth, but, against your wishes, kept using one of the commercial artificial sweeteners in my American coffe and sugar in my espresso.
    Happy to say, I have tried Algave and Stevia in their instead. It took a while to use the right amount, but once I calibrated how much to use, I do not miss sugar at all.
    I am sure you will be pleased to know,

    Your Dad

  8. AvatarZara

    Great video. And good to know about the agave. I thought it was so much better than sugar!!

    i’m having trouble with really believing that something called XYLITOL could be better than sugar though. LOL!!

    1. AvatarBarbara Mendez, RPh, MS Post author

      I hear ya, about the Xylitol…doesn’t sound better does it? In the end, the goal should be minimal amounts of sugar in the diet so that when you do have some, it doesn’t matter where it comes from really. If you have it infrequently (like once or twice a week) then a small amount of real sugar won’t do you any harm. It’s the habitual and regular use of sugar that is a problem, but too much of any of these things can still be too much. THe goal, as I stated early in the video, is to reduce the amount of sugar and change your taste preferences to sweets.
      Thanks for your comment Zara~

  9. AvatarBonnie

    Thanks, Barbara. I love your videos. A few years ago, for other reasons, I took cinammon supplements. I noticed that my sugar cravings just went away. It was quite miraculous. I haven’t continued to take cinnamon because I didn’t know about safety. I’d be curious what you think.

    1. AvatarBarbara Mendez, RPh, MS Post author

      Totally great and safe! Cinnamon balances out the blood sugar/insulin response to sugars and when you ingest it, you typically see a reduction in sugar cravings. If you want to learn more about it, I do have a video on Cinnamon in the archives…
      Thanks Bonnie!


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