The Best Natural Sweeteners: Healthy Alternatives

| Modified on Jul 02, 2022
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!


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

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.

Replied by Sp
(Wb, Nj, Usa)

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

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:


2 User Reviews

Posted by Nancy (New Hope, Pa) on 07/24/2020

I want to know if erythritol has made anyone feel sick?

Replied by Gertjr

Yes. The 'ol' at the end means it's an alcohol sugar. Any of those, such as xylitol, can upset your stomach. They do have good uses, as xylitol is know to be a virus killer, but too much will upset any stomach. Only you know how much you can tolerate.

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

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.

Replied by Meredith
(Hollywood, Md, Usa)

It's classified as a sugar alcohol.

Healthy Chewing Gum

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.

Replied by Joy
(Battleground, Wash)

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 User Review
5 star (1) 

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

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! :)


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

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

2 User Reviews
5 star (1) 
1 star (1) 

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

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.

Replied by Nsgrace2
(Lorain, Ohio)


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.


I have watched the film "Sweet Misery" It is about Aspartame and how it got approved by evil means, it goes through the FDA process and shows their unrelenting corruption. Please watch it to at least realize you must find info outside of the FDA and most tests of safety 90% are done just to promote a product and really have no science of any value to show they are safe. Our government gives us about 15% of the value it should on a good day.

(faithville, us)

I use xylitol for saliva control and it helps a lot. I don't cook with it but what I cook is just basic simple low on bad ingredients. Bland. I sprinkle it in my mouth here and there as needed for the past year or so.

Xylitol: Everything You Need to Know (

Our government is getting a divine reset, so things are going to be amazing in 2023. Get ready for pain in your cheeks from all the smiling he he he : )

Stevia Feedback

12 User Reviews
5 star (5) 
1 star (2) 

Posted by Purrrtrice (Pacific Northwest) on 04/03/2016

I have recently started using Stevia in iced tea (made the old fashioned way with tea bags) and I have been ITCHING like crazy! The timeline indicates that, perhaps, it might be the Stevia. The brand I use says it's GMO Free. However - I see that the ingredients are "Dextrose, Reb A (Stevia Extract) and 'Natural' Flavors. Just wondering if anyone knows if any of these ingredients could cause itching? ("Natural Flavors" sounds sketchy to me)

Replied by Teena
(Melbourne Australia)
233 posts

I accidentally took some sweetleaf stevia neat, stevia has health benefits and is antifungal. I thought I had researched the brand well before purchasing, and had been adding it to garden herbal teas. Not the best taste but that convinced me it was a rather 'pure' one. As I have the plant which gives sweetness but also slight bitterness at the end. But my plant is very small. So the sweetener drops had run down the lip of the mug and I bought it to my mouth, tasted the sweetener but the mug was too hot so I put it down. I sipped the drink as it cooled, and became aware of an unpleasant sensation, which I can only describe as racing heart, and a panicky type feeling, either genuine or worry re the racing heart.

Sure enough checked the label and there it was, natural flavors, which of course can hide msg, but in my opinion based on my experience definitely hides msg. From now on the only stevia safe to buy is green crumpled leaves that states 100% stevia leaf.

Just for comparison, I have not received the side effects I mentioned when using the fresh leaves from the stevia plant. It is disappointing to see negative reviews for stevia, when it is most likely what "they" have done to it, added etc, that causes the problems. If you have had negative feedback from using any processed stevia product, consider trying it in it's natural form, it does not register as sugar to the body, so it does not spike blood sugar in diabetics.

Replied by Sheila

If you are allergic to ragweed it's in the same family as stevia!

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


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!

Replied by Om
(Hope, Bc Canada)

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

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

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.

Replied by Kathy
(the USA)

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.

Stevia Feedback
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!!

Replied by Jenstamp
(Scottsdale, Az)

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).

Replied by Linda
(York County, Maine)

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.

Stevia Feedback
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.

Replied by Nightfire
(Danville, Illinois, United States)

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

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

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?

Replied by Chu
(Edmond, OK)

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

Replied by Nicole
(Portland, OR)

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.

Replied by Doddie
(Lawrenceville, Georgia, Usa)


@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!

Replied by Francisca
(Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France)

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.

Replied by Sweetpea
(Fairfield, Il.)

Could be if fillers or additives are added.. I have never read about any dangers or problems with organic stevia. I use it all the time. Very safe. But watch what you buy, read the label.....


I just looked at my stevia and dextrose is the main ingredient. I tried xylitol and couldn't get my coffee to taste right, it says use same as sugar but it didn't taste right. The stevia was so much better and now I know why, because it was dextrose (pretty much regular sugar). I've got a glucose meter, I'll test my sugar in the morning (fasting), drink my cup of coffee with this so-called stevia and see what it shows then. ugggh. So much for avoiding sugar.

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