It is confusing out there to decide what you can add to your tea or coffee to get a little sweet flavor, and keep it healthy. There are so many choices its confusing. So, which is better for me, you might ask?
Some may be better if you are diabetic, or if you are on a low calorie or no sugar diet. Most of us just want too lower our total sugar and stay healthier.
Many of these suggestions come from real plants, trees, fruit or insects like bees.
Be careful of the word ‘natural’, there are no FDA standards or regulations on this word. Organic is better or non-GMO, and read the ingredient labels. There should only be one!
Healthy Sweeteners for your Tea or Coffee
- Real Honey, not honey mixed with corn syrup, make sure you have the real deal. Stay with a local brand or organic which will be 100 % direct from the beehive itself. Honey is healthy, high in antioxidants and is anti-bacterial. It has 20 calories per teaspoon.
- Maple syrup which comes direct from the sap of a tree, nothing else added. One teaspoon equals 20 calories, but it is higher in healthy minerals.
- Coconut sugar made from sap of coconut blooms, is healthy with nutrients, and is just sweet enough but not overly sweet. You can also add coconut creamer which may be all you need without the sugar. It’s about 15 calories per teaspoon, and is closest to your brown sugar.
- Stevia is an herb; the leaves are powdered. It can also be in liquid form to add to your drink. Some people love it, some hate it, too much, can give it a bitter aftertaste. I have found it depends on the processing and even flavoring. Some companies add flavor, like vanilla to liquid stevia which can make a difference. This herb is also good for diabetics and has hardly any calories.
- Date sugar is used by some, it is harder to find, unless you make your own, by blending up some dried dates and drying the blend. It is a natural sugar from a fruit. Date sugar does not dissolve very well. It is used more in baking to replace regular sugar.
- Monk fruit, or Lo Han, is a melon like fruit from China, a new sweetener, 300x sweeter than sugar. It has become very popular, and is a great alternative for diabetics, and boosts the immune system. It has no calories and does not affect your sugar level.
- Agave is from the Agave plant, that has many downsides because of the processing into syrups, it may not be pure, due to companies blending in high fructose corn syrups. This plant has a low Glycemic index and for that reason is promoted for diabetic use. You may need to be careful, it is a fructose type of sugar, which overtime can increase insulin resistance and Fatty Liver Disease.
- Yacon, is a new plant sugar, made from the Yacon roots grown in the Andes of South America. It is high in prebiotic fibers and helps with obesity and insulin resistance. It may be hard to find.
- Blackstrap Molasses is highly nutritious and is derived from raw cane sugar which is boiled until it is a rich thick syrup. It may not appeal to everyone; but is good for marinades, baking and I love it on yogurt.
Cinnamon is for those who only need that little sweet taste and this spice is a great benefit for those with diabetes since it helps keep sugar levels low. And it is not a sugar at all.
Vanilla extract helps you with flavor and just a little sweet to bump up your coffee bitterness; not a sugar.
Now you have choices, see which ones you prefer and work better for your health situation.
Cindy Burrows, B.S., M.T., Herbalist and is a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant helping individuals with health programs to improve life and happiness. She is a writer, speaker and owner of several businesses.