Food, Health/Life

How to use the 8 best sugar substitutes

best sugar substitutes

How are the 8 best sugar substitutes used and what is the difference between them? Our guide outlines everything you need to know to replace sugar.

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Word has long been out that normal household sugar is enormously harmful to the body in the medium to long term. So with what alternatively sweet?

Every person consumes an average of around 15 teaspoons of sugar a day. Grandma already knew: a pinch of sugar brings flavor. Sugar makes you happy and is simply indispensable for cooking and baking.

But in fact, our body does not need table sugar. It does not provide us with vitamins or minerals. The body can obtain the necessary glucose from vegetables, whole grains and other healthy foods. Looking for a sugar substitute when cooking and baking can protect against diabetes, fatty liver, or cardiovascular disease.

Warning: hidden sugar

Sugar accompanies our everyday life and if you want to do without it, it is not an easy task. A look at the packaging is often not enough.

Refined sugar is also contained in the following substances:

• glucose
• lactose
• dextrose
• maltose
• sucrose
• barley malt extract

The 8 best sugar substitutes at a glance

Deleting sugar from the menu without replacement would not work. Desserts and pastries such as waffles  would hardly have any flavor and even savory dishes benefit from the pinch of sugar already mentioned.

Natural sweeteners and sugar substitutes can serve as sugar substitutes.

➛ Natural sweeteners:

  • Maple syrup
  • honey
  • Agave syrup
  • Stevia
  • Coconut sugar
  • Yacon

➛ Sugar substitutes:

  • Sorbitol
  • Erythritol
  • Xylitol
  • Isomalt
  • Mannitol

Natural sweeteners are very similar to table sugar. It contains glucose and fructose. Sugar substitutes are also of natural origin. However, the substances were changed in the laboratory.

Tip: Sugar substitutes are not a health hazard. However, excessive consumption can have a laxative effect.

Maple syrup

In the USA and Canada, maple syrup is an integral part of every cookbook. It is the juice of the sugar maple. About 40 liters of juice have to be boiled down to get a liter of maple syrup.

The taste is very aromatic and reminds of caramel. The polyphenols it contains are said to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Compared to table sugar, maple syrup has only half the calories.


Honey is one of the oldest known sweeteners. Honey is particularly popular as a sugar substitute for pastries, and sauces and dressings can also be refined with honey.

Honey is a calorie bomb comparable to sugar. Since honey also contains water, it cannot match the sweetness of table sugar.

Attention: Infants up to two years of age are not allowed to consume honey. The sweetener contains bacteria that cannot be digested and therefore act like poison on the small body.

Diabetics should also use this sugar substitute as sparingly as possible. The effects on blood sugar are roughly comparable to table sugar.

Agave syrup

The taste of agave syrup is reminiscent of honey. However, the juice of the agave plant is more fluid. This has the advantage that agave syrup does not clump as much when cooking. Agave syrup is a popular sugar substitute for vegans. The sweetening power surpasses that of conventional sugar.

Agave syrup, honey and sugar hardly differ in their calorie count. The high content of fructose can strain the liver if consumed excessively.


Stevia has established itself almost worldwide as a sugar alternative in recent years. The honey herb native to South America contains no sugar and is completely free of calories. The plant is said to lower blood pressure .

Stevia is obtained in a similar way to sugar. The sweeteners are released from the leaves of the honey herb. The white powder is obtained from this. Stevia is 300 times more sweet than sugar. A disadvantage is the bitter aftertaste.

Coconut sugar

Coconut blossom sugar can be obtained from the nectar of the coconut tree flowers and has a pleasant caramel taste. The sweetening power is equal to that of table sugar.

The production is very complex and is done by hand. Therefore, this sugar substitute is not a cheap product. A kilogram of coconut blossom sugar is traded at around 20 euros.

Tip: Coconut blossom sugar should be used sparingly by diabetics. Like table sugar, it can cause diabetes and obesity.


Yacon is hardly known in this country. Quite different in the Andes of Peru. There the Inca root has been used as a food and medicine for centuries. Root and foliage are used.

Yacon syrup is one of the healthiest sweeteners. Consumption can have a positive effect on the intestinal flora, ensure a quick feeling of fullness and thus also help with weight loss. The low glycemic index ensures that blood sugar rises slowly. The sugar substitute is therefore also suitable for diabetics.

Tip: Yacon syrup should preferably not be heated and is only added to the food after preparation.


Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that can be obtained from various plants. In recent years, the substance has been associated with dental health. Xylitol is also known as birch sugar. This is because the sugar substitute in Finland is made exclusively from birch.

Visually, xylitol could be confused with ordinary table sugar. No differences need to be made in terms of sweetness either. The calorie content compared to table sugar is around 50 percent.

Tip: The body does not have to release insulin to metabolize xylitol. Therefore, xylitol is also suitable for diabetics.


Erythritol is also a sugar alcohol. They are made from glucose and are fermented. The sweetening power is slightly below the table sugar and can be given as about 70 percent.

The calorie content is very low. There is no metabolism. The body excretes erythritol undigested. Erythritol occurs naturally in various types of fruit and cheese.

Cooking and baking with sugar substitutes – everything important at a glance

All sweeteners presented have advantages and disadvantages. Many of them have not yet been adequately researched and are often thought to be healthier than they are. When using sugar substitute, the motto is to use it sparingly.

The following overview summarizes some sweeteners with their advantages and disadvantages:

Sugar substituteadvantagesdisadvantage
Maple syrup✔ aromatic
✔ low calorie
✔ health – promoting ingredients
✘ consists of half of sugar
✘ not suitable for tasteless sweetness
honey✔ mild
✔ pleasant taste
✔ pure natural product
✔ high sweetness
✘ not suitable for infants and toddlers
✘ not suitable for vegans
✘ the ingredients are lost during cooking
✘ less soluble in liquids
Agave syrup✔ Suitable for tasteless sweetening
✔ Easily soluble in liquids
✔ Suitable for vegans
✔ Higher sweetness than sugar
✔ Contains vitamins and minerals
✘ high calorie
✘ high fructose content
✘ high consumption can lead to insulin resistance
Stevia✔ no sugar
✔ no calories
✔ high sweetness
✔ hypotensive properties
✘ contains no vitamins or nutrients
✘ bitter aftertaste
Coconut sugar✔ pleasant caramel taste
✔ sweetness corresponds to brown sugar
✘ no coconut
flavor ✘ high fructose
content ✘ expensive
Ycon✔ low calories
✔ increases the
feeling of satiety ✔ strengthens the intestinal flora
✘ should not be heated
✘ little researched so far