By Your Call Publishing | ,

Health Column - February/March 22

Healthier Alternatives To Sugar

Blamed for everything from obesity to tooth decay, sugar has gone from being a symbol of wealth to an international health crisis. Sugar’s addictive qualities combined with its prevalence in everyday convenience food make it difficult to consume in safe quantities.

Thankfully, healthier alternatives are now available, promising lower-calorie or more nutritious substitutes to our favourite sweetener. To help you navigate the ever-growing world of sugar alternatives, here are the best ones to add to your shopping basket in 2022.


Quite possibly the most popular alternative sweetener on the market, honey is packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. However, like table sugar, it’s also high in calories and breaks down to glucose and fructose, so unfortunately poses some of the same health risks.

Unlike sugar though, honey has been linked to improved heart health and lower blood pressure. Plus, its soothing, healing qualities make it a great cold remedy.

Coconut sugar

Made from coconut palm sap, coconut sugar is another natural sweetener to consider if you’re looking to lower your sugar intake.

While regular sugar contains no nutrients, coconut sugar requires little processing and so retains small amounts of iron, zinc, calcium, potassium and antioxidants. Although this makes it a healthier option, coconut sugar still contains the same number of calories as normal sugar, so should be used sparingly.


The holy grail of sugar alternatives, stevia is a natural sweetener that’s extracted from the leaves of a South American shrub. Unbelievably, it contains zero calories while being up to 350 times sweeter than sugar, meaning that you need much less to satisfy your sugar craving.

Although it’s non-chemical, stevia extracts do have a noticeable aftertaste. However, it does come in various forms, including powder and liquid, so it’s worth shopping around to find one you like.

Sugar alcohols

A type of sweet carbohydrate, sugar alcohols are processed from plant fibres such as birch, berries and cornhusks, and contain half the number of calories as sugar.

Don’t be deceived by the name; sugar alcohols don’t actually contain any ethanol – or sugar for that matter. Unlike regular sugar, they don’t cause tooth decay or an increase in blood sugar. Plus, they’re low in fructose too – sugar’s most harmful ingredient.

Erythritol, xylitol and sorbitol are just a few examples to look out for in ingredient lists. Commonly found in jams, sweets and chewing gum, they’re also used in sweetener brands such as Truvia.

Yacon syrup

Agave syrup and maple syrup are hard to top, but the latest syrup to enter the market is that of the yacon kind.

Extracted from the South American yacon plant, this sweet, dark, thick syrup contains a special type of sugar molecule that our bodies can’t digest. This means that it contains just one-third of the calories of regular sugar, making it the latest craze amongst dieters.

Its high fructan content has also linked it to an array of health benefits, from helping constipation to lowering blood sugar. What’s not to love?