The Most Nutritious Sweeteners

honey

Raise your hand if you ever feel overwhelmed and confused about which sweeteners/sugars are the best to use in your treats?

Uh-huh…me too.  There are dozens of different sweeteners out there and all kinds of  arguments trying to convince you to eat one over the other.

While I’m certainly no sweetener expert (although I do consider myself an expert taste tester of all things sweet and sweeter), I will share with you what I’ve learned through the past few years of researching.

Better Sweeteners (in no particular order)

Sucanat/Rapadura – “Dehydrated Cane Sugar Juice”

This is by far my favorite sugar to bake with.  It is processed in the traditional way that people of India have used for thousands of years and leaves most of the minerals intact.  It substitutes one for one in recipes that call for sugar and has a delicious, rich flavor.

Rapadura is a brand name for Sucanat, so in general I find that Sucanat costs a bit less.  Be very careful to buy Organic Sucanat however, as some ‘regular sucanat’ brands I’ve seen are NOT dehydrated cane sugar juice…but some form of processed sugar with molasses added back in making it MUCH less nutritious.

Raw Honey

If you can find raw honey from a local bee keeper, go for it!  Raw honey (honey that has not been heated over 117° to kill healthy bacteria) contains many nutrients and digestive enzymes.

Raw honey is a wonderful addition to buttered toast or granola.  Honey is also wonderful to bake with (although then of course, it won’t be raw anymore).  If a recipe calls for one cup of sugar, I usually substitute 1/2-2/3 cup of honey.

Real Maple Syrup, Grade B

Mmm…I love maple syrup!  I never bake with it, but find it works wonderfully in liquid recipes like Strawberry Milkshakes, Smoothies, Warm Vanilla Soother, Creamy Orange Cooler, etc.  Oh, and it’s great on Pancakes and Waffles too!

Because real maple syrup is kinda pricey, I am the designated syrup pourer on pancakes…otherwise we’d have a lot of this “Liquid Gold” wasted all over our pancake plates.

Organic Grade B Maple Syrup is better than Grade A as more nutrients are present.  Plus, non-organic maple syrups may contain formaldehyde or other synthetic defoamers.

“Mom, can I please have some more formaldehyde on my pancake?”  I don’t think so.

Molasses

Molasses is the “waste product” that comes from the production of refined sugar.  It is rich in many minerals.  I don’t use molasses much for baking, except in recipes such as Molasses Cookies.  Mmm!

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This is by no means an exhaustive list of “healthy sugars”…these are simply my favorites and the sugars I’m most familiar with.  Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments section if you have researched and know of a great sugar to try!
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Sweeteners to Avoid

Refined Sugars

Unfortunately even many organic sugars (turbinado, raw, natural) are quite refined and contain very few nutrients.  I use these occasionally because AT LEAST they are (unbleached, organic, a little less refined) and better than…

White Sugar

This sugar is so refined that there are no nutrients left in it whatsoever.  It is also usually bleached to make it prettier.  Because it is not sugar in its whole form…it has a dramatic effect on blood sugar levels in the body.  I can actually feel the effect white sugar has on my body (can you?!).

But, if you have a choice between the two, choose regular sugar over…

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Dr. Mercola can explain why High Fructose Corn Syrup should be avoided way better than I can!  Read his professional information on the subject…

Agave Nectar

While I used to believe that Agave Nectar was a healthy substitute for sugar, it seems I should have done my homework more thoroughly.  Agave Nectar should usually be avoided as apparently, it is almost worse than High Fructose Corn Syrup.

By the way, I think I’ve changed any recipes I have here on my site that included agave nectar as an ingredient…but in case you find it anywhere, please let me know so I can edit it!

Artificial Sweeteners

Ooh, I can’t say enough about fake sugar!!!  Please don’t make the mistake of believing that you are eating/drinking healthier if you avoid sugar but use aspertame, splenda, or whatever the latest “fake sugar” is out there. They are worse than good ol’ refined sugar and can cause so many long term health problems.  I have reasons to be passionate about this subject…so if you want to picture me down on the floor grabbing your feet begging you to avoid these…that truly is what I’m doing right now.   You can read more information about aspertame here.  I believe these testimonials may say more than I ever could.

I’d love for you to share your experiences, thoughts on this subject, and favorite sugar choices with us!

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Comments

  1. says

    I also have a question about honey. I recently purchased my first raw honey and it is much creamier and more solid (I can’t just pour it out) than the honey I used to buy. Your picture of honey at the top of this post looks more like the honey I used to buy and I am wondering if that is raw and where you purchased it. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve bought raw honey from different sources, and sometimes it’s runny (like what’s pictured) and sometimes it’s more like a spread. I don’t really know why some honey is like that…aside from the fact that it has crystalized a little bit. Very interesting!

    [Reply]

    Kivy Reply:

    http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/#.UOcAa6yGecY
    This explains some of why the honey looks different. You can heat honey to clarify it if you have crystallization.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    Regarding raw honey: sometimes honey is filtered (not heated, just strained) getting out all of the honey comb, pollin, etc. I have found that UNfiltered honey is creamier b/c it has all the good bee pollin and honey comb, ect. FILTERED honey is clear as it eliminates the above list. Both are good if indeed the honey is raw (not heated). :)

    [Reply]

  2. Patty Cerney says

    This is awful bossy of me but can you do some research on coconut sugar and let me know your thoughts. I ordered some with my Azure Standard order last week and have been enjoying it in my coffee. It also made fantastic waffles. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve got this on my “list” (others have asked the same), but no promises on when this research will be done and posted about!! It sounds really yummy!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I didn’t find much about coconut sugar, at least from any sources I know I can count on to give me accurate information. From the description on the Azure site, it seems to be pretty good. One source I found said, “The coconut palm sugar found in Thai markets generally are not 100% pure coconut palm sugar, but is blended with white cane sugar and also malt sugar” – so you’ll want to be sure what you find is PURE and not mixed with white sugar or malt sugar.

    Otherwise…I guess I still don’t know. It SEEMS like a good choice?? :)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    The only thing negative I’ve read about coconut sugar is that it’s
    non-sustainable. In order to produce it, the flowers have to be cut
    from the palm, thus preventing it from bearing fruit. I found several
    good descriptions of why this is a poor choice, particularly for those
    of us who use coconut oil and coconut flour. There is a well-
    written article on the subject onthe Tropical Traditions website.
    (They no longer sell coconut sugar).

    [Reply]

    Vicki Fotheringham Reply:

    I have used coconut sugar for a while now. It works far better for my husband’s diabetes. He can have desserts, if I use it, but even using sucanat, he has to watch out how much he eats. It may be the same with coconut sugar, he has finally learned not to eat a king’s portion each time he has something. I don’t like the idea that the coconut sugar is non sustainable. And it was unavailable for a month or so when we got the first 5 pound bag to test the waters on it. It will only raise my husband’s blood sugars about 20 points not the 150 as with sucanat, or 200 with sugar products.
    Thanks for doing this blog! I do appreciate all the effort you put into it and all the great info you help us gain!
    Vicki

    [Reply]

  3. Wendy says

    What are your thoughts on honey granules?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I haven’t researched them, so I’m not sure. If they are ONLY made of honey and nothing else, I can’t imagine why they’d be bad for you.

    [Reply]

  4. says

    I know someone who highly recommends granulated fructose as a sweetener alternative over anything else because it is has a low glycemic index. Any thoughts on that?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Unfortunately, I have to disagree that granulated fructose is a better option than regular sugar. Fruit sugar is just about as “bad” as regular white sugar as far as how it effects our body and insuline levels. I used to use it a lot, and it bakes very nicely…so I wish I could recommend it…but I really stick with Sucanat now for baking.

    [Reply]

    Vicki Fotheringham Reply:

    Laura I totally agree with you! Fructose raises my husband’s blood sugar just as much as regular sugar. They used to say it was safe for diabetics, but now they know it is no better than regular sugar is.

    [Reply]

    Vicki Reply:

    Fructose is not low on the glycemic index. There are several things that need to be taken in consideration about how sugars react on the body. Fructose will raise the blood sugar and sustain it over a long period of time. It used to be the train of thought that because fructose was in fruit, it was safe. However, in the freshly picked fruit, it IS safe. Granulated fructose, just like white sugar has been processed and it is that processing that will create issues.

    [Reply]

  5. says

    Tell me your thoughts on Stevia??

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Stevia is a healthy sweetener as far as I have understood. I just don’t prefer it…I find it bitter, unfortunately.

    [Reply]

    bluekitteh Reply:

    I have to agree that Stevia has a potent nasty after taste
    no matter how little you use.

    [Reply]

    Leah Reply:

    i’ve heard that using too much stevia can actually be toxic–i dont’ remember where i read that, but it was the number one reason i was against using it. i did end up trying it and had a reaction to it anyway, so it’s out for me! but do a little more research on the toxicity?

    [Reply]

    Sue Reply:

    When people tell me that stevia is nasty or too “tart” i have come to find out they are using way too much. IT is 300 times stronger than sugar, so you only need a tiny amount, and I dont think people are used to doing this. I have been using stevia since 1994, so i have much experinence using it

    I heard 30 years ago that the FDA tried to not let it in, but that was because the sugar alternative companies didnt want it here.. now its being used all over the place. It has been proven that it is not toxic – and the diabetic council has approved it as a sugar substitute.

    [Reply]

    Vicki Fotheringham Reply:

    Thank you for this info, Sue! I will give it another try. I’ll bet we used way too much as well. I know it is said to be good tasting as well as good for us.

    [Reply]

    Melodya Reply:

    I thought the same of the taste of stevia. However, a few grains of salt offset the bitterness. Now if you have an aversion to salt, this wouldn’t work for you but for a diabetic, it may do the trick!

    [Reply]

    Sue Reply:

    I wanted to add another Stevia Comment.

    I started substituting stevia for some sugar in my baking. I typically have cut the sugar in half for many years, but now I cut it to 1/4 sugar of the sugar in the recipe and you can use 1/4 t stevia for the rest. The substitution amount is 1t stevia = 1 cup of sugar. I have also started using coconut nectar in some recipes as well as raw organic sugar and sucanat.

    I made cranberry orange relish for the holidays and used the sugar substitution with raw sugar and stevia. My kids cant ever taste the difference when I do this!!

    I made home made hot chocolate recipe and do this – kids cant tell :-) the difference

    [Reply]

    Sarah Reply:

    One teaspoon = 1 cup of white sugar?? I’m new to trying alternatives for my family, but this sounds like such a little bit. I use one packet of Truvia to sweeten my tea. Could you confirm?

  6. Patty says

    how good is crystallized cane juice.
    thanks.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    A little better than “regular white sugar”…but not as nutritious as Sucanat or Rapadura (dehydrated cane juice).

    [Reply]

    Kori Reply:

    what about “evaporated” cane juice? Goofy all of the names for products.
    I’m working on my next Azure order. They have “evaporated cane juice
    crystals”
    https://www.azurestandard.com/shop/product/3721/
    and now even coconut nectar, coconut crystals and coconut sugar
    crystals – are you familiar with any of those?
    :-)
    Kori

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Evaporated cane juice seems to be another name for “organic sugar crystals” from what I’ve noticed about them. They are quite different from sucanat, which is DEHYDRATED sugar cane (so confusing!). Evaporated cane juice does not retain as many nutrients as dehydrated.

    I’ve not researched the coconut sugars. Interesting!

    Linda Reply:

    wow, I just noticed I got evaporated cane sugar. Hmm..well, I
    recently purchased the sucanat so now I can replace the other sugar.

    Crystal Reply:

    I buy Rapunzel Organic Whole Cane Sugar. This: http://www.amazon.com/Rapunzel-Organic-Whole-24-Ounce-Packages/dp/B001E5DZIO/ref=pd_sbs_gro_1

    In the description on Amazon it says evaporated cane juice, but it is the same as what comes in the box (the link Laura has above). It is Rapadura. The description on the back on he package says that the sugar is dried. The wording is confusing! I will have to see how the cost compares to the sucanat. I really love this sugar though! :)

  7. says

    I am shocked about the agave thing…crazy…what about raw agave??? is there a difference??

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Maybe a little bit. :( Frustrating, huh?

    [Reply]

    Kenan Reply:

    Do you know how to substitute sucanat for agave. I have found a recipe that I want to try but it calls for agave and I am not sure what the right measurements might be. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura@HeavenlyHomemakers Reply:

    I’d probably try just subbing it one for one to see how that works. Hard for me to tell you exactly without looking at the recipe, so hopefully I’m not telling you wrong on this one!

    [Reply]

  8. Amanda says

    The use of formaldehyde in maple syrup production has been illegal for years. Also, most producers do not use chemical defoamers, but use butter or other oil as a “defoamer” to prevent boiling over. We live in Southern Ontario where maple syrup is produced (we are actually going on a sugar bush tour with our kids tomorrow!) and I cannot justify paying twice as much for certified organic syrup when I know our local product is just as purely natural.

    [Reply]

    Melodyá Reply:

    That’s awesome for Canada. However, the US still loves to use chemicals so long after other countries outlaw them.

    I don’t know how to find out the facts for the US? Not any local maple syrup in MO. Lol

    [Reply]

  9. Cheri says

    Do you use sucanat for everything in place of white and brown sugar? What if a recipe calls for white and brown sugar, would you use sucanat for both measurements? I’m guessing evaporated and dehydrated are not the same thing.

    [Reply]

    Cheri Reply:

    I guess you don’t have to really answer. I just reread your post and
    it answers my question. Except for the both measurements part.
    Silly me :)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Here’s a post I wrote explaining measurement adaptations! http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/how-to-adapt-a-recipe-to-make-it-healthier

    [Reply]

    Gina Reply:

    If you can get your hands on Honey Granules (brand, not product), i keep hearing that it is the best substitute for white sugar, from the perspective of color and flavor, without compromising nutritional value. Unfortunately, the only place i know of to find them is the Bread Beckers, out of Woodstock, GA.

    [Reply]

  10. Stephanie says

    I order from a local co-op and they had this great explanation some popular sugars. You can take a look here: http://www.bulknaturalfoods.com/rapadura-organic-whole-cane-sugar.html.

    [Reply]

    Charlotte Reply:

    Now I’m confused. The information on the link above says that Sucanant is NOT the same as Rapadura. Help!!!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    My guess is that the information in that link is older (outdated) information. Sucanat used to be processed differently than rapadura, making rapadura a healthier choice. Now, sucanat is being processed just like rapadura – deyhdrated cane sugar juice. SO, basically they are the same thing – Rapadura is a name brand version of sucanat. Hope that helps and isn’t MORE confusing!

    [Reply]

  11. Merrilee Morse says

    About raw honey: do NOT trust the raw honey you buy in grocery stores! The big yellow can you buy in stores like Safeway? In all likelihood it comes from China (even if other countries are listed; China got wise and started shipping through other countries to hide the real source)and in many cases they adulterate the honey with high fructose corn syrup. Make sure you know the people you buy your honey from. Buy local!

    [Reply]

  12. Brooke says

    Hey Laura,
    Do you know if Turbinado (sp?) is good to use? Healthier? I’m bought my 1 box of Sucurant but I don’t like the smell… it bothers me ;). Anyways, I was wondering what you know about this. Thanks

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It’s healthier than regular white sugar, but still a little more processed then sucanat. So…I use raw sugar or turbinado guilt free every once in a while, knowing that at least it’s better than regular sugar, but if at all possible, I use sucanat (or maple syrup).

    [Reply]

  13. Amy Cook says

    how do you store 50lbs of sucanat?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I store it in big tupperware type containers.

    [Reply]

  14. Julie says

    So pretty much the only thing my hubby will drink is kool-aid. I have been looking for a way to make it without white sugar (even though he brought me home two bags of white sugar from sam’s the other day!) Would Sucanat work for that? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It might work – I think it would make the kool-aid flavors kind of funky though. Maybe try using organic EVAPORATED cane sugar, which is at least better than white sugar, but tastes pretty much like white sugar as the molasses has been removed.

    [Reply]

    Kelly Reply:

    Bread Beckers recommends substituting honey granules 1:1 for white sugar and sucanat for brown sugar in recipes. Thought I’d share!

    [Reply]

  15. Tressa says

    Ok, so amongst all of the various confusing options what do you think about muscovado, Lo han, and pure glucose?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Muscovado I feel good about – glucose I haven’t studied up on.

    [Reply]

  16. says

    Anyone know anything about xylitol? You’ve most likely seen it in trident gum. I went to see an herbalist and her recommended it because it doesn’t affect your blood sugar. Laura, how do you research these things, where do you look?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I typically look it up on the Dr. Mercola website, as he is someone who I trust to do good research on these things. I was suprised to see that he uses xylitol, so it must be a pretty good choice! Here’s his article: http://blogs.mercola.com/sites/vitalvotes/archive/2009/05/29/Why-I-Use-Xylitol.aspx

    [Reply]

    Kathy Feusse Reply:

    Laura, I have heard good and bad about Dr. Mercola, so I was surprised to hear that you trust him. Ccan you share with me what other sources you consult to base your decisions on? I LOVE all of the recipes you share and all of the information too…thanks for ALL you do to help all of our families get and stay healthy.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I often resource Weston Price Foundation for answers, then just search around the internet to see what else I can find. Someone recently sent me this article which I found interesting: http://health.yahoo.net/rodale/RH/the-4-best-and-3-worst-sweeteners-to-have-in-your-kitchen#.Tnn07mlNjhI.email

  17. Lisa says

    What about Brown Rice Syrup? Alicia Silverstone loves it in her book ‘The Kind Diet’

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve not found much in my (limited amount of) research of brown rice syrup to tell me that it’s bad – I know that it is at least way better than white sugar! I’m going to try to learn more about this as an option. :)

    [Reply]

    Sarah Reply:

    I love Brown Rice Syrup :) It has a great almost caramel like flavor
    I use it in my granola and it adds a special something! From what
    I have read as well is seems to be a good option.

    [Reply]

    Cynthia Reply:

    Hi, I know this was written a year ago but in recent study’s and on the news brown rice syrup has arsenic that can cause cancerous tumors. D: Yikes! Now tell me that isnt scary.
    The reason being is because most of the brown rice syrup comes from China and in China there are no pesticide regulations.

  18. Crystal says

    I would like to offer a suggestion for less syrup waste form those boys. :) We use little dessert cups for dipping our bites of pancakes/waffles/etc. into instead of pouring it on. I think it allows us to ration it out better. Each person is allowed their portion and if they use it all up on their first two pancakes and don’t have any left for their fifteenth :) then that is their decision. It helps to teach moderation and self-control. For really small children there are tiny little cups that hold up to 2 TBS of fluids (we also use these for training babes to drink from a real cup with no “sippy-lid”). But for older ones who will eat more and don’t want to continually refill their tiny cups (not to mention their “bite-sized” pieces are generally too big to fit into the tiny cups anyway) we use the desert cups. I believe they are one-cup serving size. You can use your own judgement for how full they need to be. :) HTH someone with the syrup-covered-plate-after-pancakes problem. Cheers.

    [Reply]

  19. Heidi says

    Enjoyed reading your post on sweeteners. What type of sweetener would you recommened for someone who is Diabetic? I was told that Agave Nector was good, but after reading your post, I’m not sure.

    Thanks for any advice.

    Warmly,
    Heidi

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Maybe stevia or xylitol?

    [Reply]

  20. Clare says

    What do you think about sorghum? I have been trying to find a good replacement for the corn syrup in pecan pie. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I think that should be okay. I haven’t researched sorghum much to know details about it.

    [Reply]

  21. Lori says

    What about Evaporated cane sugar juice? I found some at Costco and didn’t know if it was the same as Dehydrated cane sugar juice.

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Tricky question! :) Most of the evaporated cane sugar juice I’ve seen is different from dehydrated cane sugar juice. Evap is usually white(ish) in color and looks sort of like raw, organic sugar. DEHYDRATED cane sugar is usually a little more course and brown in color – it is better for you.

    BUT, Rapunzel carries a brand of Evaporated cane sugar juice that LOOKS and acts like Dehydrated…and this one I feel is okay to use.

    So, there is your long and slightly complicated answer. Not sure if that’s helpful or not. :)

    [Reply]

  22. Lynette says

    I have not tried sucanat but I buy organic sugar, raw honey, Truvia (your thought on that?)and I have tried xylitol, etc. but we use stevia for sweetening our beverages. I agree there is a nasty taste with most stevia but we use NOW brand stevia glycerite, and I am careful not to use too much. I buy mine online through iherb.com and they discount every order and over a certain purchase amount, shipping is free. You can use a code (TIQ463) for $5 off your first order. I have ordered supplements and stevia from them for years. About the sucanat for powdered sugar, would it need some organic cornstarch added and if so, how much? Thanks for everything you do and for sharing your knowledge with us!

    [Reply]

    Sue M Reply:

    Stevia has a nasty taste only if you use too much. IT is extremely concentrated so start with a couple of drops and taste until you like it. If it still has an after taste then add Sucanant, honey or raw organic sugar (its brown in color)

    [Reply]

    Sue M Reply:

    Oh, and Stevia has zero calories and comes from a plant. It is natural is not toxic, unlike the other no calorie sugar alternatives.

    [Reply]

  23. says

    What about demara sugar? Have you ever used it?
    Interesting about agave nectar – I bought my first bottle this weekend. hmmmmm!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I haven’t used it, but it is my understanding that it has fewer nutrients than sucanat.

    [Reply]

  24. says

    I have just gone through chemotherapy, and have for most of my adult life, have eaten mostly correct. While talking to my oncologist about foods, she said sucanat is likely the product that will come out shining, while most of the other forms of a sugar substitutes will end up showing us as not as good. Sucanat is less processed than other sugar substitutes, and is more healthy than most others as well. Coconut Sugar is a new product to our section of the world, anyway, and there is little available out there to learn about it.

    [Reply]

  25. says

    Ok, so I was reading your post on White chocolate chips, and I got to thinking, I really don’t want the refined sugar, and you sat that the sucanat has a strong flavor, so I don’t necessarily want to use that. I got to thinking that there has to be a way to use honey to sweeten these. But regular honey is too liquid-y. So I got to thinking about the crystalized honey that forms when you don’t stir it frequently. What about honey crystals? I did a google search and came up with this stuff: http://www.mamahealthy.com/organic-honey-crystals

    I am wondering if you experimented with Honey Crystals at all? Or have any thoughts on it?

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  26. Diane says

    I am trying to find information about Zulka. It is supposbly pure cain sugar sold at most wal-marts and on Amazon. Can anyone tell me if this is a good brand to buy?

    [Reply]

    Carol S. Reply:

    This is what I am asking about also. I forgot to include the brand name in my post.

    [Reply]

  27. Melissa says

    Hi Laura,

    A long time ago I read that maple syrup was better for you so I started using it instead of syrup. Now I’ve learned that Grade A is better than B. I price checked it and I want to stick with A. Is there any health benefits to A though? I’m beginning to think I should use B or not use maple syrup. Your advice is appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Melissa

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    I meant B is better than A.

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    As far as I know the jury is still out on one being nutritionally better
    than another. There is research that supports both kinds. Laura uses B but that doesn’t mean you have to. :)

    [Reply]

  28. James says

    7 months ago at 52, I decided I had to get healthy or die. My 35 years as a professional Chef has helped me create delicious, healthy foods. I’ve lost 70 lbs., have muscles for the first time in 20 years, and am no longer “sick”. As far as natural sugars, the HEALTHIEST is DATE SUGAR. As you know, the more refined a sugar is, the faster it hits our bloodstream, making harder for the pancreas to keep up with insulin production to counter balance the sugar. Date sugar is made by drying whole dates then grinding them up. COMPLETELY unprocessed. All of the fiber and minerals remain. I was happy to see you post the article about Agave. So many people think it is “healthy” because it “sounds” healthy!

    [Reply]

  29. Heidi says

    Hi,
    I just found your website through a recipe search I did earlier today and I loved the writing style! I also liked that your approach to food is very similar to ours so I most certainly will come back more often for recipes.

    I was stunned about the agave nectar being bad for your part on your list and read the article. However, something in this article made me suspicious because the writing was somewhat dramatic and manipulative so I did some more searching. I did find several great articles that looked at Dr. Mercola’s claims and for those you gave up agave nectar purely based on this article, there may be hope.

    The links can be found in the top comments box of the HuffPost article.

    Not sure if it’s okay to include them here, but in case it is:

    http://www.wellsphere.com:83/healthy-eating-article/you-ask-i-answer-agave-is-the-new-enemy/1082273

    http://www.purewellbeing.com/contents/en-uk/d105.html

    http://betterworldcookies.blogspot.de/2010/06/why-i-use-agave-nectar-examination-of.html

    http://www.braintoniq.com/is-agave-bad-for-you-fallacy.php

    I don’t mean to start a big discussion but if the other sources may be worth a read.

    [Reply]

  30. Katie says

    Our family LOVES sweet tea. We are from the south, and its pretty much a staple here. What do you suggest as an alternative to white sugar to sweeten it? Oh, by the way, its generally made by the pitcher full. Thanks for any input.

    [Reply]

    Sue M Reply:

    I’ve been using Stevia for going on 20 years. It is from the stevia plant and is a healthy sugar choile Any health food store carries it as well as Trader Joes. Make sure you get the 100% stevia with no other fillers or ingredients. The TJ brand comes with a small spoon, just start with 1 spoon in a pitcher, and taste. Stevia is extremely concentrated so start small and add more as needed for your taste. You can You can try adding honey and find out if that meets your taste. Sometimes people think it has an after taste, so adding honey or some raw organic sugar – its brown in color( NOT brown sugar) I get mine at Costco. I only use regular table sugar when im at a restaurant in my tea or coffee. Never use the fake alternative sweeteners – even if you’re at a restaurant, they are toxic to your body.

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    Katie Reply:

    Thanks so much Sue. I am looking forward to trying out the Stevia. I hadn’t considered it before. We have some raw organic sugar and raw honey in the pantry too, so I’m going to do a little experimenting with those. Totally with you about the artificial sweeteners. They are horrible.

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    Susan Reply:

    We love using stevia to sweeten iced tea. I use about 3/4 teaspoon for 1 gallon. I’ve neve understood why people say it has a bitter aftetaste because we’ve never experienced that.I use the liquid and the powder. like them both. I also use stevia to make lemonade with real lemons. My four boys love it. That is also part of their “medicine” when they get sick. I squeeze half a lemon in a glass of water & SPRINKLE in some stevia. If one gets sick I like to give it to all the rest to keep them from getting sick. its a great immune booster. Like to drink some every morning as a maintanance.

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    Sue M Reply:

    Susan,
    I completely agree. I have come to find out that people that say its bitter are using WAY too much stevia.. I tell them to only use a tiny bit and they all respond the same with a “Ahhhh” as if they agreed..

    I just started baking with it. .I substitute 1/2 of the sugar in a recipe for stevia.. 1/2t equals 1cup of sugar, honey, etc..

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  31. Carol S. says

    I have recently found Moreno pure cane sugar for a reasonable price at the grocery store and what I’ve read on it sounded good but I don’t know how it compares to the sweeteners you have described. I have used sucanat before that a friend gave me and it is different from that. I was wondering what you might know about this product. Thanks.

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  32. Rachel says

    What are your thoughts on brown rice syrup? I am using it and my blood sugar does not raise like it does with honey I actually like it. Thanks

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I have used it from time to time to replace corn syrup in recipes and like it. :)

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  33. Cheryl says

    I’m so confused. I can’t find sucanat in my town. But I’ve found organic crystalized cane juice and organic evaporated cane sugar. I don’t live in the US so ordering online is not that easy (or inexpensive). I don’t understand the difference. Which is better?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Laura would chose the organic evaporated cane sugar. :)

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    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    …or choose. ;)

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  34. Vicki says

    I currently use Coconut Sugar. My husband keeps his blood sugars under control if he uses it, and does not eat highly processed foods, such as white flour, canned and otherwise packaged foods. We use coconut sugar very sparingly. We don’t use much made with four as it also causes blood sugar spikes. I really like Coconut Sugar, it is similar to Sucanat, or other crystalized cane sugars.

    I can’t agree more on the person who said not to use artificial sweetners! YOu are much better off using white sugar, in my opinion, than you are using aspertame, splenda etc.

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  35. says

    Hi! I have had diabetes for 39 years and have tried nearly all sweeteners under the sun. I must say that by far, the healthiest (for my glucose/ sugar levels) is Agave Nectar. I am sorry to see you mentioned it being like Corn Syrup. I make bread weekly at our house and I usually use Agave nectar as my glucose sugar levels are steady rather than when I use maple or honey in my recipe. I hope you’ll consider looking at it again with this angle spun on your perspective. Agave is GREAT for diabetics, regardless if it’s “just like high fructose corn syrup”.
    Peace to your kitchen!
    Juliane

    [Reply]

  36. says

    I live with someone who…well, she will never change her eating habits so it’s white sugar and that is that. At one point I had to beg and plead that she purchase agave nectar on a doctor’s recommendation (for my diabetes, but I never really used much of it and now all I hear are bad things). This means sucanat is not likely to be found in this household. So, for your recipes, how much white sugar or brown sugar should I use to replace it?

    Also, I recently found your blog, and I am LOVING all the recipes. I even purchased the ecourse and book for making stuff ahead. :)

    -Amber

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’d go one-to-one, or use a little less sucanat than white/brown sugar.

    [Reply]

  37. Naomi Stouder says

    Hi! What do you think about raw sugar? Some friends of mine who are also trying to eat more whole foods recommended that I use that instead of sucanat. Do you have any thoughts? Thanks so much!!!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It’s slightly better than white sugar, but not much. Most of the nutrients are void. :)

    [Reply]

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