Sugar substitutes: healthy and unhealthy choices

There are many kinds of sugar substitutes, but which ones are healthy now and which ones are absolutely unhealthy? To start with, there are many different kinds of sugars. Here you can make a difference in healthy and unhealthy sugars. And there is a difference between refined and unrefined sugars. Refined are all sugars that end in -ose, just think of fructose. Fructose is more easily said to be fructose.

The advantages and disadvantages of sugar

There are actually very few advantages to ordinary sugar, yes it tastes nice and sweet, and we like that! That’s why we often use sugar to make our food and drinks sweeter. It’s a habit that starts at a fairly young age, for example a standard spoonful of sugar in the tea of small children so that they like it better. Nowadays parents are a bit more aware of the disadvantages of sugar and you can see that a lot less happens but in my youth it was no more than normal. And because regular white sugar is also very cheap (you could call it an advantage), the unhealthy snacks are full of it.

There are plenty of disadvantages, addictive, fattening, energy wasting and also contributing to various diseases such as diabetes, heart and vascular diseases and forms of cancer, it has been proven that some cancer cells grow from sugar. Also, sugar reduces your immune system and sugar is one of the major reasons for obesity. According to science, fruit sugar is the culprit. This is the big fat and disease maker, with too much fructose it is stored as fat in the liver. In addition, you also have standard kitchen sugar or sucrose. Sucrose consists for half of fructose and the other half of glucose. Sugar also interferes with processes in your body and in your brain and makes you very sleepy.

Why we like sugar so much and what it does in your body can be read here. I have processed the whole process of sugar in your body in a separate blog post.

If you are used to a very sweet taste and find it difficult to eat less sweet, you can use sugar substitutes. To make things a bit clearer between all the different types I’ve made an overview for you here.

Sugar substitutes: Unhealthy


Agate syrup is also very often used as a substitute for sugar, this is because it is nice and sweet and usually also organic, but does organic also mean healthy? No, unfortunately this is not the case. Agate syrup is made from a cactus and the agave nectar is removed from the cactus, then filtered a few times, because it is filtered, it actually takes out all the nutrients and fructose is added so that your blood sugar level still skyrockets. Because of this process it has actually become even worse than normal kitchen sugar.

Corn syrup (high fructose corn syrup)

Corn syrup is made by corn starch. But it’s not as healthy as you think. To make this corn syrup, various chemical processes are involved and the end product is corn syrup. Above all, it is not healthy for you because it causes the development of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Barley and wheat malt syrup

Barley and wheat malt syrups are cereal syrups and have a mild/sweet taste. The malt syrups (also known as maltose) cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, so it is not a good substitute for sugar.

Rice syrup

Rice syrup has a slightly less sweet taste. You can taste little difference between all other sugars, so this syrup doesn’t stand out that much. Like barley and wheat malt syrup, rice syrup also has a very high glycemic index.

Glucose-fructose syrup

It’s a syrup that’s hard to imagine without. It is used in many foods, but it’s not as good for you as it seems. Jet is mainly used because it is very cheap and tastes the same as sugar. The reason why it’s not healthy is that it causes the blood sugar level to rise quickly again. And according to reports in America it can also contain mercury.

Sweet, primal sugar

You see a lot of sweet things coming up. Oerzoet is in fact unrefined dried sugar cane juice. It still contains all the nutrients and hasn’t been adapted much further. This is available at the normal organic shop and sometimes you see it appear temporarily in a supermarket. The name reminds you of something healthy, but it also has a negative effect on your blood sugar level. This also ensures that you get a lot of need in fast food and binge eating can get.

Sugar substitutes: Healthy

Stevia is one of the most healthy options so far. It is made from a green plant with very sweet leaves. Stevia is about 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Unfortunately, the green powder has a bitter aftertaste so that less people use it. An alternative is Stevia droplets, these are more processed but less of a bad taste. Stevia also keeps your blood sugar stable.

Date syrup

Dating syrup increases the blood sugar quickly, but when combined with a baking with nuts, for example, it causes your blood sugar levels to become less unbalanced.

Coconut blossom sugar

It looks like light brown sugar, which makes it easy to use in the same way as table sugar. The advantage is that it has little effect on your blood sugar level. And it still has all the good nutrients of the coconut palm. In addition, coconut blossom sugar contains many antioxidants.

Palm sugar

Palm sugar is extracted from the palm/stalk of a palm tree. Palm sugar looks like brown sugar, but it doesn’t taste like brown sugar at all. Brown sugar has a fairly icy flavour, which is not the case with palm sugar. Palm sugar can be compared to the sweetness of caramel and toffee. It is a lot cheaper than coconut blossom sugar.


Cinnamon is a spice that was used early in history. Many Chinese people still use it for medical purposes today. This is not surprising because it has a beneficial effect on cardiovascular diseases. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect. Cinnamon has a stabilizing effect on your blood sugar level making it a perfect sugar substitute.

Vanilla powder

Fresh vanilla comes from a climbing orchid and therefore supplies vanilla pods. Vanilla powder contains a lot of vitamins and minerals, and a study has shown that it can combat harmful bacteria. You can use it very easily in the preparation of all your sweet dishes.


Lucuma also has the nickname “eggfruit”. This fruit grows in South America. You can compare the taste with maple syrup, also a well-known sweet-maker. You can use it almost everywhere, for example in your tea or through a homemade ice cream. This is especially a good sugar substitute because it comes directly from nature without any additives. It also contains few calories and a rich amount of vitamins and nutrients.


Mesquite is also a sweetener extracted from a tree, namely from the pods of the mesquite tree in the north of America. Mesquite is a good substitute for sugar because it has high nutritional values. It contains a lot of fiber, vitamins and minerals. It has a caramel-like taste.


Xylitol is a sweetener that is about 600 to 700 times sweeter than sugar. This substance is mainly derived from fruit and is widely used in chewing gum and all other sweet sweets such as toffee. it is often claimed that it is bad for you but that is actually not the case. There appear to be more effects than negative ones. This natural sweetener has no side effect and has 40% less calories than ordinary sugar. The ratio with sugar to replace it is 1:1 Xylitol is also very tooth friendly and is therefore often used in toothpaste.

Banana powder

Banana powder is a very good substitute, a delicious sweet (banana) taste but not the disadvantages of the rapidly rising blood sugar level. Banana powder is made from a red banana, also called the cuba-banana. It is mainly made in Indonesia and Asia and imported by wholesalers. You can’t (yet) get it in a normal supermarket, but you can get it at the nature store or online. Banana powder contains fibres, proteins and fats as well as many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Yacon syrup

Yaconsirop is a relatively unknown sweetener with a caramel-like taste, you also have a powder version of it. Yacon is a very sweet carrot, you can’t buy it easily in the shop, but it’s very easy to order online. Unfortunately, it is quite expensive.

Ama on the subject

Amazake is a sweet product that is best known in Japan, where they use it each old and new as a tradition. You don’t see it much, but in good organic shops you can see it sometimes. Amazake is made by boiling rice. a fungus is added that activates the enzymes. this causes a process to take place. this causes other substances to be converted into sugar. It has a soft cream-like structure and is often used in cake fillings and desserts.

Dates / Dried fruit

You can also use dried fruit as an alternative to sweeten your baking. The advantage of dried fruit is that it is full of vitamins, minerals and fibres. If you react strongly to dates with dips in your energy level, try dried apricots to sweeten something.

Sugar substitutes: With moderation

Honey (cold hurled)
Honey can also be used as a substitute for sugar, but there you have to pay attention to what kind of honey you take and whether this fructose is rich. Look for the raw honey that has been thrown cold.

Maple syrup (Maple Syrup)

Maple syrup, like all other sugars and syrups, is a sweet-maker. It is already well known in America. In the Netherlands, h