It is a well-known fact that too much sugar is not good for us but I wasn’t concerned about it much as I didn’t eat sugar in high quantities and didn’t consume any sweet drinks. But when I found out sugar breaks down collagen and makes us age faster, I started to look for the best sugar substitutes to avoid sugar completely.
What Are The 5 Best Sugar Substitutes?
Of course, there is honey, maple syrup, or molasses but they are high in calories and contain sucrose as well so to me it’s not a big difference if I eat sugar or honey.
On the other hand, I like natural food and think we have everything we need in nature. However, it is not easy to satisfy the sweet tooth and keep your body weight in terms, at the same time. I mean: when you want to lose weight or keep it afterward, you are not supposed to consume a lot of sweet fruits like cherries or grapes, are you?
Another thing is that fruits are not recommended being eaten after a meal as they ferment in the gut then. So what to do when you want something sweet after lunch? Or if you like your coffee sweet. What to reach out for?
In these cases, sweeteners come handy and they have found increased popularity. They do a great job for people with diabetes or those who are on a keto diet.
But there is still a large group of people who think that all sweeteners are detrimental to our health.
So where is the truth?
As always, I can only speak for myself from my experience. In addition to that, I also like looking for scientific evidence. So in this article, I’m showing you a list of the best low-carb sugar alternatives. They do not affect your blood sugar level and should not have any bad effects on your overall condition. And most of all, they do not harm your skin like sugar!
BIRCH SUGAR (XYLITOL)
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, a naturally present substance that can be found in various fruits and vegetables. It is widely present in birch and beech trees, rice, oat, and wheat but the main source of xylitol for commercial use is corn cobs. After extraction and processing, the product is white and looks like crystalline sugar. The sweetness of xylitol is equivalent to sugar and it has been widely used in food and health products for many years.
Xylitol has a low glycemic index so it has a low effect on blood sugar levels. Like everything else, it should be used in moderate amounts. Overuse can cause laxative problems.
– no aftertaste
– low glycemic index
– increases body absorption of calcium
A safe amount to consume: 50 mg per day
It is important to note that xylitol is highly toxic for dogs so it is recommended to store it out of the reach of dogs.
I’d recommend you to buy organic xylitol on Amazon. (affiliate link)
Erythritol, together with xylitol, is my favorite sugar substitute. It is a sugar alcohol that has only 6% of the calories of sugar but contains 70% of the sweetness. It doesn’t affect blood sugar levels which is a benefit. Sugar alcohols are not digested by the body and that’s why it is good if you are concerned about your weight.
Our body does not have the enzymes to break down erythritol so it is absorbed directly into the blood and excreted with urine.
Erythritol is an excellent sugar alternative with no side effects if it’s consumed in moderate amounts.
– no aftertaste
– acts as an antioxidant
– almost no calories
A safe amount to consume: 35 mg per day
High-quality erythritol is sold in health food stores, or on Amazon (affiliate link).
Stevia is a South American plant that is naturally sweet without calories. Being about 200 times sweeter than table sugar, it is sold in a liquid form, as dissolvable tablets or powder. Stevia is the only sweetener out of the five ones mentioned here that has an aftertaste and I don’t like it. But I had to add it to my list because it is a safe and good sugar alternative. I suppose that everyone’s taste is different so you might as well find it your favorite one. It has been used as a natural sweetener for centuries.
– strong sweetness so you only need a small amount
– no calories
A safe amount to consume: 4 mg/kg body weight per day
Liquid stevia in good quality is available on Amazon (affiliate link).
Sucralose is a sugar substitute that is produced by chlorination of sucrose. It is six hundred times sweeter than sugar but has zero calories. Its taste is similar to sugar. I have this sugar substitute in my morning shake as it is contained in the protein powder I use.
– no aftertaste
– it is heat stable so you can use it for cooking
– it’s stable at different pH so you can add it to vinegar or lemon.
A safe amount to consume: 5 mg/kg body weight per day
Sucralose is quite a controversial sweetener. Some experts suggest that sucralose is linked with weight gain but others say that it is a safe alternative.
It is not recommended using it for baking and cooking as it may break down at high temperatures and create harmful substances.
I do not use sucralose. My favorite sweetener is xylitol and, as a second option, erythritol.
Monk fruit extract contains zero calories just like stevia and is about 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is rich in antioxidants so it really seems like the best option. However, it does have a special flavor and aftertaste which might disturb some people.
- anti-inflammatory properties
- zero calories
- not known side effects
There are many more sweeteners and some of them are not considered safe. I wouldn’t recommend using saccharin, aspartame, or acesulfame as well as many other artificial sweeteners.
Talking about replacing sugar, you might say that honey, agave syrup, or maple syrup can substitute sugar very well. That’s true but concerning sugar effects on our skin, these options won’t help. Honey and the other foods do not contain refined sugar but they do contain sucrose and for our skin, it is as bad as sugar, I’m convinced of that.
If you eat sugar in fruits, you can never eat as much as if you have chocolate, ice cream, or sugary drinks. Fruits contain a lot of fiber and we are unable to eat them in huge amounts, plus they are also full of antioxidants and that balances the sugar off.
So I’m not against the consumption of fresh fruits. However, I don’t think fruit juice, honey, maple syrup, or dried figs do any good to our skin, let alone the calories contained in them.
For m, xylitol and erythritol are the best sugar substitutes to consume in small amounts if you prepare a homemade ice cream, protein shakes, ice coffee, or anything you want to replace sugar, cut down on calories, but most of all prevent your skin from losing more collagen.
Do you have experience with any other sugar substitute? I’ll be happy to hear that!