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Sweeteners: Which Products Do You Recommend?

Photo of various sweeteners

The average person in the United States comsumes 17 teaspoons of added sugars every day.

Needless to say, there are bonus points to gain by getting your sweet fix from healthier sources than refined sugar—fresh, whole fruit being one of the best options.

Anything other than fruit, you ask? Let’s cover some other options worth checking out.


Photo of green leaf stevia powder

Stevia originated from Paraguay and has a rich history behind it both as medicine and as a natural, zero-calorie sweetener.

It contains a family of compounds (steviol glycosides) which are between 150-450 sweeter than white sugar.

When shopping for natural sugar substitutes, like stevia, it’s important to know what to look for.

And chances are you’ll have to make your purchase online.

Why? Because many commercial stevia products you find in stores are made through intensive chemical processing. In some cases, like Truvia, the final “stevia-based” product ends up having very little to do with actual stevia.

We recommend you only use the following forms of stevia:

  • raw and unprocessed leaves
  • pure green leaf powder
  • liquid extract with no additives or synthetic preservatives

As for taste, stevia that hasn’t been chemically processed can leave a bitter, artificial and licorice-like aftertaste which is one of its drawbacks.

Depending on how you’re using it (dry leaf, green powder, or liquid extract), stevia works well for a variety of vegan food and drink preparations, such as:

  • homemade ice cream
  • homemade lemonade
  • hot and cold cereal
  • hot tea, iced tea and coffee
  • salad dressings
  • sauces
  • smoothies
  • unsweetened yogurt

Luo Han Guo (Monk Fruit)

Photo of luo han guo

Luo han guo, also known as “monk fruit,” is a vine native to southern China and northern Thailand that bears a round green fruit which turns brown as it dries.

It contains a group of glycosides which are roughly 300 times as sweet as sugar by weight. For this reason, like stevia, its extract is popularly used as a zero-calorie sweetener.

In powdered form, it has a delicately sweet and fruity flavor. Most people experience no lingering and subtly bitter aftertaste like you may experience with stevia.

Luo han guo is excellent for:

  • baking
  • frostings
  • homemade lemonade
  • hot and cold cereal
  • hot tea, iced tea and coffee
  • salad dressings
  • sauces
  • smoothies
  • unsweetened yogurt

Chicory Root Fiber

Photo of chicory root fiber

Chicory is a beautiful, bright blue flower plant that originates from Mediterranean regions and is widely cultivated across North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

What we’re specifically interested in, is the fiber within its root, which contains an indigestible carbohydrate called inulin.

As far as dietary uses go, inulin is commonly used for food texture modification, acting as a substitution for fats, and most relevant here, as a sweetener.

To get the sweet goodness out of chicory root, the root is processed into a fluffy fiber extract powder.

The powder can then be used as a zero-calorie sweetener just like stevia and monk fruit, but it’s far less sweet than both, which also makes it far less sweet than sugar.

So, unless you’re looking for a really mild sweetener, you may need to combine the fiber extract with other natural sweeteners for best results.


Photo of erythritol

Erythritol is yet another virtually zero-calorie sugar substitute.

More specifically, erythritol is a sugar alcohol, a type of carbohydrate with characteristics from sugars and alcohols.

Don’t worry, though, it’s not the same kind of alcohol that’ll make you drunk.

It’s estimated to have roughly 60-80% of the sweetness of table sugar, so getting the right amount of sweetness can require a little experimentation.

You can get erythritol in powdered or granulated form. The things to pay attention to are:

  • making sure it’s pure erythritol with no additives (erythritol combined with other natural sweeteners is fine)
  • double-checking it’s made from non-GMO organic corn or other produce

Unless you mask it well in food preparation, erythritol can have a cooling effect, similar to mint, when ingested.

Icon background of shopping bag
A Spoonful of Fibre (inulin) by TrooShop
Erythritol by VitacostVitacost
Green Leaf Stevia Powder by Omica OrganicsShop
Markus Sweet (luo han guo, erythritol) by Markus ProductsShop
Monk Fruit Sweetener with Erythritol by Kate NaturalsAmazon
Organic Liquid Stevia by Omica OrganicsShop
Organic Monk Fruit Zero Calorie Sweetener (liquid) by NOW FoodsVitacost
Stevia Leaf Powder by Mountain Rose HerbsShop
Stevia Liquid Extract by Protocol for Life BalancePureFormulas

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