How to Sweeten Food Without Sugar

February 26, 2022
How to Sweeten Food Without Sugar

It is better to revise our consumption downwards and swap white sugar for more dietary correct options. 

Wholemeal sugar, honey, syrups… Discover all the alternatives.

Conventional sugar, crystallized or in pieces, is of little interest. Poor in nutrients, it provides about 20 kcal per piece or teaspoon and panics blood sugar. 

Like all added or hidden sugars in industrial products, it promotes hyperinsulinism and the storage of abdominal fat. As a result, it is one of the main culprits of metabolic syndrome diseases (diabetes, obesity, etc.). 

It would nourish cancer cells! Without forgetting its role in the phenomenon of glycation, a kind of “caramelization” of our cells that accelerates aging. In short, red card!

Whole Sugar

Ever heard of Rapadura or Panela? It is not a question of a distant destination, but of complete cane sugar, that is to say unrefined, which is found in particular in organic shops. 

We gain some vitamins and minerals but also fibers which reduce its impact on the blood sugar level – and therefore on the balance. With its little taste between caramel and licorice, it slips easily into dairy products, fruit salads, or cakes. 

A good plan. Coconut sugar, also unrefined, has its charm in recipes based on exotic fruits (banana cake, mango tatin, etc.). It combines a subtle taste with a low glycemic index.


It’s hard to get more natural than this hive product! Its bonus points: honey contains slightly fewer calories and above all more nutrients than sucrose. 

Adding a teaspoon is a good alternative for bringing sweetness to yogurts, cottage cheeses, herbal teas, or teas if you are reluctant to swallow them “plain”.

Fructose, in Very Small Doses

It is naturally present in fruits, but can also be purchased in sachets to enhance our hot drinks or prepare our jams. As its sweetening power is 1.5 times greater than that of conventional sugar, we use less. 

However, it is better not to use it systematically, because several studies show that excessive consumption (more than 50 g/day) increases triglycerides and cardiovascular risk. We alternate as much as possible with the other jokers.


Agave syrup, extracted from the sap of a cactus, is liquid-like honey and contains more than 70% fructose, which raises blood sugar very little. It also has 100 fewer calories per 100 g than powdered sugar. Two good points, then. To try in yogurt but also in pastry. 

Another option: a few drops of maple syrup, made in Canada, in pancakes, of course, but also to give an original touch to a compote, for example. It is natural (provided you choose it pure) and a little less rich than honey.

Avoid Watered-down Versions

By providing a sweet note but zero calories, sweeteners seem essential when watching your line. However, it is better not to abuse it. 

Because maintaining our addiction to sugar, they do not necessarily help to reduce our overall consumption and it is not easy to find one’s way among all these “false sugars”. 

Aspartame is now subject to controversy (some studies point to the dangers of high-dose ingestion) and we already swallow a lot of it in light products. Unlike him, stevia (made from a plant extract but not really “natural” for all that) or sucralose support cooking well. 

We find them in all forms: powder to flavor our desserts, lozenges for the candy gesture, and even in pieces to boost coffee. Problem: we lack perspective on the safety of stevia, which recently arrived on the shelves, and sucralose could in the long term increase our insulin response. 

Birch xylitol, extracted from the bark of the tree and sold in powder, is touted for its anti-caries effect, but beware of excess (it can cause bloating and stomach aches). 

The best thing is to alternate and above all not make it a systematic reflex. You can also try coffee without sugar, to see…

3 Tips to Reduce The Dose

Between the sugar that is sprinkled from right to left, that of sweets that console and that present in industrial products (sodas, fruit juices, dairy products, bread, and pastries but also prepared dishes, sauces, vinaigrettes, sandwich bread, etc. .), it’s accumulation! 

Three anti-overdose tips were taken from the book Detox sugar program in 7 days, by Dr. Pierre Nys, nutritionist endocrinologist (Éditions Leduc. S).

  • For one day, we add zero sugar (for example in tea or coffee) and we eliminate sweet products that are not natural (cakes, candies, spreads, jams, chocolate…): this allows us to realize that we consume a lot of it. Then we take up the challenge for a whole week to rest our saturated taste buds.
  • We buy as many simple and “natural” foods as possible to reduce hidden sugars: fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, fish, meat, cut ham rather than vacuum-packed, wholegrain pasta and rice, potatoes, lentils, and others legumes, wholemeal bread instead of sandwich bread, natural yogurts and white cheeses, herbs and spices, etc.
  • We allow ourselves the equivalent of a little bit of honey or two squares of dark chocolate a day if the desire for sweetness tickles us. Everything else must remain an exceptional pleasure, once a week, no more.

Image by Nick Demou via Pexels

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Margaud Raynaud is a beauty expert with over 10 years of experience in the industry. She has a passion for sharing her knowledge and tips with others and has a particular interest in skincare and makeup. When she's not writing about health and beauty, Margaud enjoys trying out new products and experimenting with different looks. Follow her blog for expert advice and inspiration for living your best life.

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