The Best Natural Sweeteners: Healthy Alternatives

Last Modified on Oct 05, 2014

Sweetness is not a sin! However, too much of a good thing can really cause havoc on your entire body and damage all aspects of your health. Some medical experts would even like to designate sugar as a toxin, in line with alcohol and tobacco! And people in the Earth Clinic community who have had their health and their lives turned upside down by Candida, Diabetes, Cancer, and other conditions that thrive on sugar would whole-heartedly agree.

Natural sweeteners, thankfully, are not all equal. Some natural sugar alternatives are much lower in calorie content and seem to have no discernible negative effects on human health, unlike the artificial sweeteners that so often metabolize into toxins within the body.

So what is your natural sweetener of choice, or what should it be? Check out our natural sweeteners forum for the community's view on whether stevia, honey, molasses, blue agave nectar, xylitol, or some other natural sugar alternative should be your sweetener of choice!

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Stevia Feedback5 YEAS

User Reviews



Agave   1  0   

Posted by Ly (Wilmington, Delaware) on 02/28/2013

Is agave a safe sweetener? If and when my husband and I use any kind of sweetener it is blue agave.

Posted by Sp
Wb, Nj, Usa
03/03/2013
Hi Ly, my understanding is that agave syrup is a highly processed sweetener. Personally, I think honey is much safer.

Posted by Tootie (Georgetown, Cayman Islands) on 01/08/2010

[YEA]  I have no sugar in my house and over 30 years ago I threw out all white sugar when I read many reports of how bad it is for you health.. It is bleached for God's sake. Why would anyone want to put bleach in their bodies? Since turning to honey and maple surup I found I no longer had "spikes" in my blood sugar and fatigue also.

Now another product that I have found that is really good, no spikes, no fatigue and sweetens without much taste, is agave. Agave, a syrup, is made from a certain type of cactus and the South American Indians and Mexicans have been using it for decades. Just a little goes along way. No turning back from it.

EC: Unfortunately, some agave products have been found to contain maple syrup or corn syrup...

Read this October 27th article in the WSJ: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704335904574497622806733800.html

Erythritol   0  0   

Posted by Diana (Grand Junction, Co) on 03/21/2010

[SIDE EFFECTS]  My first experience with Erythritol I tried a test package (1 teaspoon) i liked the taste after a minute i felt the tingle then i remembered reading about that cooling effect and was ok with that. About 3 mins later my mouth was extremely dry i could not produce enough saliva to replace what was gone and also just after that was a very numb sensation which i didn't like at all except maybe if i needed to numb a sore gum or tooth. All in all i am a bit alarmed at the intensity of the experience. I probably should not have tried it neat but still. The next day my tummy hurt too and i normally don't have any trouble with it at all. Am i just weird or has anyone else experienced this too. the only other thing i am sensitive to is alcohol wondering if that might have something to do with it. Would appreciate some feed back if you have some to offer.

Posted by Meredith
Hollywood, Md, Usa
06/26/2013
It's classified as a sugar alcohol.

Healthy Chewing Gum   0  0   

Posted by Bradshad (North Providence, Rhode Island) on 04/06/2013

I there any acceptable gum I can chew once a day while dealing with yeast issues. I was told from ND that is was not candida but I have yeast going on and was wondering how to fix a sweet craving so I figured I could chew a piece of gum from time to time. Any help would be great. Thanks in advance, Brad.

Posted by Joy
Battleground, Wash
04/06/2013
coconut oil helps regulate blood sugar and since using it my mouth is clear... Whitened teeth , no siliva to floss from between teeth , no more sensitivies and my tongue is a nice healthy shade of purple red..... I brush with it and eat it and put a blob in my mouth before bed.

Find a coconut oil or meat gum and that would be great... Let me know if such a thing is out there

Maple Syrup   1  0   

Posted by Gabrielle (Pottsville, PA) on 12/14/2008

[YEA]  I found your site just a couple days ago and I'm already touting it everywhere I go! Just wanted to add that (REAL) Maple Syrup is an excellent source of potassium, calcium, magnesium, and manganese. It also has trace amounts of PP (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), B2 (Riboflavin), Folic Acid, B6 (Pyridoxine), Biotin, Vitamin A, and amino acids. It's a wonderful and healthy alternative to refined sugar! I see where many posts include the use of honey, but Maple Syrup seems to be taking a back seat to it here.

Keep up the great work here (I've learned so much the past two days - Thanks!) and I'll keep telling everyone I know about your site! :)

Molasses   0  0   

Posted by Rashed (Toba Tek Singh, Punjab, Pakistan) on 03/07/2013

Molasses of cane: molasses is a very good substitute of honey with respect to its nutritional benefits.

Other Sweeteners   0  0   

Posted by K.Lynn (Mt. Healthy, Ohio) on 01/05/2009

this question is about a couple of sweetners I googled-erythritol,and rebiana. I can't tell what's hype and what's not. thank you to whomever answers.

Saccharin Background   1  0   

Posted by Pamela (Coloma, MI) on 05/24/2007

[YEA]  This maybe of interest to everyone as Stevia is from a plant. So is Saccharin, or Tolu Balsam Tree.

Saccharin Discovery

sweetness was accidentally discovered by Ira Remsen, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, and Constantine Fahlberg, a research fellow working in Remsen's lab. In 1879, while working with coal tar derivatives (toluene), Remsen discovered saccharin's sweetness at dinner after not thoroughly washing his hands, as did Fahlberg during lunch. Remsen and Fahlberg jointly published their discovery in 1880.[2] However, in 1884, Fahlberg went on to patent and mass-produce saccharin without ever mentioning Remsen. Fahlberg grew wealthy, while Remsen merely grew irate.[3] On the matter, Remsen commented, "Fahlberg is a scoundrel. It nauseates me to hear my name mentioned in the same breath with him". Saccharin was an important discovery, especially for diabetics. Saccharin goes directly through the human digestive system without being digested. It does not affect blood insulin levels, and has effectively no food energy.

The name toluene was derived from the older name toluol that refers to tolu balsam, an aromatic extract from the tropical American tree Myroxylon balsamum, from which it was first isolated. It was originally named by Jöns Jakob Berzelius.

Posted by Nsgrace2
Lorain, Ohio
11/26/2009
[WARNING!]   warning on saccharin - A few years ago I decided that I was going to lose weight. I began drinking a lot of coffee and was using saccharin to sweeten my coffee. Then my mom told me about an article she just read in a national tabloid about saccharin being bad for your kidneys. Within a week, I had to go to the doctor because I was so sick I lost 10 pounds in 3 days. Everything I ate tasted like it was spoiled so I did not want to eat. The doctor told me I had a kidney infection so bad that I would have to go the hospital if I had waited any longer to go see him. Since then, I have refrained from using saccharin.

Stevia Feedback   5  0   

Posted by Laurie (IL) on 10/05/2014

[WARNING!]  I read in the COPD  section of Earth Clinic, I believe, about all or most STEVIA having Maltodextrin added and the dangers of it. I have COPD severely and have to use a powdered steroid that costs me out of my own pocket because I don't have insurance 350.00. I'm suppose to use this 3 times a day but I milk it the best I can and have had a miserable existence for almost two years now. After reading about the maltodextrin I got my stevia out and sure enough! I stopped using it and only use raw honey now in my coffee and I have only had to use the steroid one time since. I breath much much better now and only now have to use my nebulizer twice a day and only a few puffs.. I feel much much better!!! One of the side effects of maltodextrin, I read online, is BREATHING DIFFICULTIES!

Posted by Om
Hope, Bc Canada
10/05/2014
Laurie --- for sure, they also put the dangerous artificial sweeteners into Stevia.

I purchase Stevia from Real Raw Food who warned about aspartane being added. But they have the pure stevia. Aspartane has recently been given yet another name because of the lawsuits. Chameleon tactics.

I stay away from everything that costs $$$$, mother nature has lots to offer upon investigation. And it works and heals.

Namaste Om

Posted by Joy (Battleground, Wash) on 05/07/2013

[SIDE EFFECTS]  my spouse loves the stuff but I ate 2 packs friday and 4 on saturday, I normally don't eat it. I took a turn for the worse in my health . ?@%$<# First it felt like I was in the ocean and waves were washing in and out DIZZINESS :(

next day felt a little NAUSEA and had to step up on papapa and betafood, last night I got extremely BLOATED and drank some cranberry juice in the middle of the night. Then I felt TINGLING when I went to lay down last two nights and my ears were RINGING.....:() I woke up with a dry mouth and I drink water in the right amounts for my weight and I felt like my BLOOD SUGER was out of balance. I haven't eaten any junk food in at least 4 days. NOTHING. I don't have high or low blood sugar normally.

Since friday I had to increase the dose of my meds to keep my MUSCLE PAIN symptoms from overwhelming me. Last night was monday and woke up with high blood pressure 135/98, dry mouth , panics and had to call 1-800- 759- 0700 prayer line for help. Finally calmed down but didn't get any sleep. Still feel sick today! My blood pressure is normally at 100/70 ish and my heart was racing.

I'm glad this works for some people and helps their symptoms.... Please be careful... I just assumed since spouse loves it for years on end it would be okay. NOT

A website has all these as side effects for STEVIA. I may need to take some baking soda today in water and neutralize this stuff.

Posted by Kathy
the USA
05/08/2013
303 Posts
How distressing... Hope you are on the road to mend... I am reluctant to try anything that has not been around long enough for long-term studies to prove. With the changing of our food supply I don't believe they can be done. Besides that, the FDA does not have the funding nor the facilities for such. My first post on EC was the distress of the FDA truly being the Fool and Deceive Agency.

Posted by Mimi (Apache Junction, Arizona) on 06/26/2011

Hey from Arizona, Does anyone have information about Stevia? I have been using this "natural" sweetner instead of sugar and I wondered if there was something negative about it. It's inexpensive, and not overly sweet, so I'd like some feedback on it. Thanks!!

Posted by Linda
York County, Maine
06/26/2011
Hi Mimi, I too am a huge fan of Stevia and began using it in my coffee more than 5 years ago.... Sometimes I use it on my cereal, too, if it needs some sweetener.... I've never heard anything negative & haven't suffered undesirable effects - I agree w/Jenstamp re: FDA and its motives.... I'm not sure they have our best interests at heart.
Posted by Jenstamp
Scottsdale, Az
06/26/2011
I'm a huge user of Stevia in the liquid form and glad you like it It's a derivative from a natural plant and is used in other countries. I have never read anything that suggests a warning. However the FDA is currently researching (although I have very little faith in FDA and their motives).

Posted by Ann (Santa Rosa, Laguna) on 06/14/2009

There appears to be some controversy over the dangers of consuming stevia in high doses. What is considered as a high dose? Every day I put a dropperful of clear liquid stevia in my tart strawberry smoothie, strong coffee and concentrated lemonade(for liver). Would this be considered as a "high dose"? The recommended dosage on the bottle is about 4-5 drops per serving. I am concerned that a dropperful of liquid stevia might be dangerous. Please give me your thoughts on my excessive consumption.

Posted by Nightfire
Danville, Illinois, United States
11/30/2011
10 Posts
I'm fairly new (as in I have had this site on my speed book marks but hadn't thought to join til now ^^''') but have to say this... Since taking Stevia I have to say that I can't really have regular sugar now. I can taste the difference! and also I can tell and taste the artificial sweeteners in other products now no matter what... Yuck ~. ~. I don't have sweets too often but now I don't have to feel guilty about having my iced cap. In the mornings. Thanx for this site! I don't think I've found one better. I like having REAL ppl with real information who actually have tried these and NOT trying to make a lot of money... In fact with my limited funds I find this site a God send. Peace out and keep it up! XD

Posted by Marvie (Delano, Minnesota) on 06/19/2008

[SIDE EFFECTS]  I used Stevia as my sweetner over a year and started having kidney issues of urine leakage and quit the stevia and now no problem. I have read health sites that feel this is a positive alternative but then after some searching on the internet found out some serious possible side affects. Also that Hypoglycemic people should refrain from it. Any thoughts on this?

Posted by Chu
Edmond, OK
09/24/2008
did you use the white stevia powder or the green ground up powder? i'm hopeing you used the white refined kind because, i want to try the green ground up powdered leaves
Posted by Nicole
Portland, OR
07/23/2009
Please be aware that the only Stevia that is natural and pure is the green leaf Stevia which is also found as a green powder. This looks basically like dried basil leaf or some other green herb. If you are using liquid extracts or white powder or anything refined, processed, possibly synthesized or with additives, the health benefits and safety factor of that is anyone's guess. We should beware of mass-marketed Stevia like that found in Coca Cola (in other countries) as well, as something beautiful and healthy like pure Stevia and health products like vitamins can still be corrupted (and are by many 'well-appearing' companies).

Stevia in it's pure form is sweet and has an 'earthy' taste but it works wonderfully in teas and other things. I recommend mixing it with other flavors such as Carob, Dates, Cinnamon, Berries/Fruits, etc. in raw desserts. It is 'ok' for baking, but in my opinion Honey is a better choice for that. I went off all sugars (except for fruits) for almost a year, solely using herbal Stevia, and on a raw diet...and I learned to use it to my satisfaction and good health.

I just feel that Stevia gets a bad name or may get a bad name because people many people aren't aware that they aren't using the true form of this wonderful plant. I hope that this will clarify that there are major differences between the pure, herbal form of Stevia and the 'Refined' extracts, whether liquid or powder.

Posted by Doddie
Lawrenceville, Georgia, Usa
08/24/2011
21 Posts
[WARNING!]   @Nicole from Portland, you are right. Twice I bought the white Stevia. One from the health food store and one from a grocery market. Both had an after taste like poison! I was at a food co-op, they had a coffee substitute and the greenish brown stevia powder to sample and it was delicious! I read ingredients on the back of the store bought brand, the main ingredient is maltodextrin and (stevia extract) rebiana so the finished product is not stevia.. This stuff is just as bad as other artificial sweeteners (look it up). Read the labels and know what your are buying, the junk is hidden in small print!
Posted by Francisca
Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France
08/24/2011
803 Posts
Here in France they now sell a few cookery books using stevia in plant form which is quite weird as I have never seen the plant being sold. I should check in the health food store though.... Maybe they have it and I never saw it. I have just thrown away the white powdered version I sometimes used in my tea as I don't use it anymore anyway. I couldn't read the contents anymore as they faded away but it seemed like it contained 95% stevia, no idea what the rest may have been. I bought it in the health food store. First I had a liquid plastic bit where the drops came out went lose once and all the liquid fell in my tea. I got used to not using anything in my tea and it is ok.

Posted by Christine (Virginia Beach, USA) on 04/20/2008

Regarding saccarhin and stevia: Saccarhin is a known carcinogin and ought not be in the American food supply. See: http://www.doctoryourself.com/fakesweet.html

In addition, stevia possesses medicinal properties that have been known and used for centuries by South American Indians to help lower blood sugar, high blood pressure, and is a cardiotonic. Modern medical research has confirmed their views.

In addition, research has demonstrated that stevia is an antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agent. See: http://www.rain-tree.com/stevia.htm

Posted by Candace (San Francisco, CA) on 03/12/2008

[YEA]  Being allergic to sugar and knowing how evil artificial sweeteners are, I have found Stevia as a marvelous substitute. My ears have stopped ringing, my skin has cleared up, and I no longer crave diet sodas. Stevia is all natural and has no side effects - at least that I have found to date. As stated, "Stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, even enhancing glucose tolerance."

It is "a native to subtropical and tropical South America and Central America." "Millions of Japanese people have been using stevia for over thirty years with no reported or known harmful effects.[32] Similarly, stevia leaves have been used for centuries in South America spanning multiple generations in ethno-medical tradition as a treatment of type II diabetes." Wikipedia

Posted by Lori
La Pine, Or
01/24/2013
[SIDE EFFECTS]   Please be careful with stevia. I was consuming it in my teas and daily vitamin drinks, and found I had problems swallowing pills and breathing... Would sit in my recliner and just gasp for breath! This went on for a considerable time before I figured out the cause was the stevia! There can be side effects to anything you consume and we all need to use caution and be a food detective!


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