There are a few alternative sweeteners that can help reduce your sugar intake. Knowing which to use can be confusing and at times, misleading.
All sweeteners provide roughly the same number of calories, but differ on level of processing, type of sugar (sucrose, glucose, or fructose) and glycaemic level. Here’s a comparison of three common sugar replacements that you might find in the supermarket aisle:
Honey is a natural sweetener that comes from bees. It is much less processed than white commercial sugars and has a lower glycaemic index, meaning that energy is released slower into the bloodstream. However, honey is denser than sugar so is higher in number of calories per teaspoon.
Add a few drops or a drizzle of honey to your next smoothie or porridge.
Maple syrup is a natural by-product made by boiling down sap from a maple tree. Like honey, it has a low glycaemic index, however, is slightly lower in fructose. Be sure to buy the 100% pure maple syrup, as otherwise you are just buying maple flavoured sugar syrup. The 100% syrup is more expensive but isn’t loaded with refined sugars, flavours, and preservatives.
Replace sugar with maple syrup in baking or use it to drizzle over pancakes.
Rice Malt Syrup
Rice malt syrup is a sweetener made from brown rice and is recommended for those looking to reduce their fructose intake. It is also a good option for vegans who want to avoid eating honey. However, rice malt syrup has a higher glycaemic index than sugar, honey, and maple syrup, along with a much higher price tag.
Rice syrup works well as a substitution for honey or sugar in hot drinks.
No matter what you pick, all sweeteners should be used sparingly. We suggest selecting the sweetener that tastes best to you and sticking to a light drizzle or spoonful.