Natural Sweeteners for a Healthy Lifestyle

December 11, 2017
  • natural sweetener slide

    Ah, sugar. How ironic that something so bad for you tastes so irresistibly good, and can be found hidden in so many different foods.

    NOW is here to help ease your sugar addiction with this informative guide to natural sugar alternatives that should be on any natural health enthusiast’s radar.

    Keep in mind that replacing sugar with natural sweeteners typically requires some experimentation. We recommend following recipes that specifically call for these natural sweeteners until you’re more comfortable using them.

    Continue through the slides to view natural sweetener comparisons.

  • better stevia sweetener slide


    Source: Stevia Plant (Stevia rebaudiana)

    Glycemic Index: 0 (Low)

    Extraction Method: Enzymatically Hydrolyzed

    Sweetness Compared to Sugar: 100 Times as Sweet

    Keto Friendly

    NOW® BetterStevia® is a clean, sweet herbal sweetener with less bitterness than other stevia extracts. Available in powder, liquids and packets, BetterStevia® can be used in a variety of food and beverages. Because stevia is so sweet you’ll need a lot less of it when cooking.

    Suggested NOW Recipes:
    Heavenly Hibiscus Sangria "Mocktail"
    Coconut Flour Crepes

  • agave sweetener slide

    Organic Agave Nectar

    Source: Blue Agave Plant

    Glycemic Index: 10-19 (Low)

    Extraction Method: Cold Pressing

    Sweetness Compared to Sugar: 1½ Times as Sweet

    Agave nectar is a versatile natural sweetener that’s ideal for beverages, but it’s approximately twice as sweet as sugar, so you’ll need about half as much (depending on individual taste). You can bake with agave nectar, but it requires reducing the amount of other liquid ingredients since you’re substituting a liquid ingredient for a solid one.

    Suggested NOW Recipes:
    Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake
    Pumpkin Seed Brittle

  • beet sugar sweetener slide

    Beet Sugar

    Source: Sugar Beets

    Glycemic Index: 65 (Medium)

    Extraction Method: Hot Water Diffused/Cold Pressed

    Sweetness Compared to Sugar: Same

    Beet sugar is an excellent substitute for cane sugar in almost any recipe. Beet sugar is very similar to refined sugar and can be used as a 1:1 replacement in most baked goods. Beet sugar does caramelize, but at a different temperature than sugar.

    For more information on Beet  Sugar visit our FAQ page.

    Suggested NOW Recipes:
    Classic Meringue
    Gluten-Free Cornbread

  • coconut sugar sweetener slide

    Organic Coconut Sugar

    Source: Organic Coconuts (Cocos nucifera)

    Glycemic Index: 35-42 (Low)

    Extraction Method: Cold Pressed

    Sweetness Compared to Sugar: Same

    Coconut sugar is mildly sweet with a flavor reminiscent of brown sugar. Keep in mind that coconut sugar granules are larger than refined sugar granules, which can affect the appearance and texture of some baked goods.

    Suggested NOW Recipes:
    Spiced Marcona Almonds
    Toasted Cinnamon & Pecan Quinoa Granola Parfait

  • date sugar sweetener slide

    Date Sugar

    Source: Dry Dates

    Glycemic Index: 100+ (High)

    Extraction Method: Finely Chopped

    Sweetness Compared to Sugar: Same

    Date sugar is literally dry dates that are finely chopped to create a powder, so there’s minimal processing. This natural, unrefined sweetener is ideal for recipes that utilize whole grains since date sugar’s unique flavor, mild sweetness, and texture complement them well. Because date sugar is minimally processed it can be challenging to bake with, so have some fun and experiment.

    Suggested NOW Recipes:
    Gluten Free Red Quinoa Streusel
    Cashew Butter & Berries Energy Bites

  • dextrose sweetener slide


    Source: Non-GMO Corn

    Glycemic Index: 100 (High)

    Extraction Method: Enzymatically Processed

    Sweetness Compared to Sugar: ¾ as Sweet

    Also known as glucose, this natural sweetener is typically derived from corn and has a fine texture and moderate sweetness. Dextrose can be substituted 1:1 for sugar, but it’s not quite as sweet, so some minor experimentation may be needed to achieve the same sweetness.

  • erythritol sweetener slide

    Organic Erythritol

    Source: Non-GMO Corn

    Glycemic Index: 0 (Low)

    Extraction Method: Glucose Fermentation

    Sweetness Compared to Sugar: 60-70% as Sweet

    Keto Friendly

    Erythritol or Confectioner's Erythritol can be used in many applications that call for sugar, but it’s about 70% as sweet, so you’ll need to use a bit more. Unlike sugars, sugar alcohols do not react with yeast, so it’s advisable to use a different sweetener for these types of recipes, or include a leavening agent if appropriate.

  • fructose sweetener slide


    Source: Non-GMO Corn

    Glycemic Index: 19 (Low)

    Extraction Method: Fermentation

    Sweetness Compared to Sugar: More Than 1 ½ Times as Sweet

    Fructose is a simple sugar that’s also called fruit sugar. You’ll find it naturally in fruits, vegetables, melons, berries, and other sources. Crystalline fructose is very sweet, around one and a half times sweeter than table sugar. Fructose is a great substitute for sugar, especially for chewy baked goods since it doesn’t re-crystallize easily once added into a recipe.

    For more information on Fructose visit our FAQ page.

  • lactose sweetener slide


    Source: Whey

    Glycemic Index: 46 (Low)

    Extraction Method: Enzymatic

    Sweetness Compared to Sugar: Less Than ¼ as Sweet

    Also known as milk sugar, Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar found in milk and certain other dairy products. With about 20% the sweetness of sugar, lactose is sparingly used in unique food applications, and as a mildly sweet addition to children’s milk.

    Suggested NOW Recipes:
    Hearty Irish Soda Bread
    Banana Bread Overnight Oats

  • sucant sweetener slide


    Source: Organic Sugar Cane Syrup

    Glycemic Index: 65 (Medium)

    Extraction Method: Mechanical Extraction

    Sweetness Compared to Sugar: Same

    Due to its molasses content, Sucanat® has a stronger and more distinctive flavor than refined sugar. Although it can be used as a 1:1 replacement for sugar in most applications, its flavor and larger granule size may require a bit of experimentation.

    Suggested NOW Recipes:
    Roasted Acorn Squash with Toasted Quinoa
    Harvest Quinoa Dish

  • sugarless sugar sweetener slide

    Sugarless Sugar™

    Source: Corn, Rice and Stevia

    Glycemic Index: Low

    Extraction Method: Varies by Ingredient

    Sweetness Compared to Sugar: Same

    Keto Friendly

    Made with erythritol and our own BetterStevia®, Sugarless Sugar™ is a versatile 1:1 sugar replacement with about one-third the calories of table sugar and a low glycemic impact. It bakes, browns and caramelizes like sugar, making it an excellent low-calorie replacement for sugar in almost any recipe.

    Suggested NOW Recipes:
    Gluten Free and Sugar Free Chocolate Cake
    Potato & Leek Pancakes with Lemon & Thyme Gravy


  • xylitol sweetener slide


    Source: Corn

    Glycemic Index: 7 (Low)

    Extraction Method: Hydrolyzed Extract

    Sweetness Compared to Sugar: Same

    Keto Friendly

    Like erythritol, Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that requires a bit of experimentation when using in place of sugar. Like other sugar alcohols, xylitol does not react with yeast, so it’s advisable to use a different sweetener for certain recipes, or to include a leavening agent where appropriate.

    For more information on xylitol visit our FAQ page.

  • monk fruit slide show image

    Monk Fruit

    Source: non-GMO Monk Fruit

    Glycemic Index: 0 (Low)

    Extraction Method: Hydrolyzed Extract

    Sweetness Compared to Sugar: Up to 200x as Sweet

    Keto Friendly

    Monk fruit, also known as Luo Han Guo, is our newest zero-calorie sweetener. Monk fruit is up to 200 times sweeter than sugar and is a fantastic alternative in beverages. NOW Real Food® Organic Monk Fruit Liquid and Organic Monk Fruit Extract Powder have a delightfully vibrant, sweet taste with very little aftertaste.