The Best Sweeteners for Your Blood Sugar—Ranked! — Eat This Not That

Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and if you’re like most people, sweet foods are what really make your taste buds sing. But if you have been diagnosed prediabetes or diabetes (or just want to keep your blood sugar stable), it can be hard to find sweets that don’t make you feel good. Blood glucose for a wild ride.

Many people with blood sugar problems turning to alternative sweeteners to keep your blood sugar level on a more stable course. These products aim to sweeten everything from your morning coffee to your after-dinner cake, without the blood sugar spikes and dips of traditional sweeteners.

Wondering how “healthier” sweeteners really stack up? We’ve put together a list of the best ones for your blood sugar. Here they are, in best or not so best order. Then for more healthy eating tips, here are the 22 foods to melt belly fat in 2022.

stevia
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What has zero calories, zero carbs, and a glycemic index (GI) of zero? Stevia! Due to its low GI, stevia does not raise blood sugar at all. In fact, a small study found which could actually lower blood glucose and insulin levels. Not many sweeteners have that claim to fame.

If you’re not familiar with the glycemic index, this ranking system gives foods a score that indicates how much they raise your blood sugar. Zero is as good as it gets!

splendidsplendid
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Splenda (also known as sucralose) was introduced to the US market in 1998 and has since become a popular sweetener for home and commercial baking. beverages, ice cream and more. Splenda performs the almost magical feat of flavoring foods with 600 times more sweetness than sugar, and without the calories.

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Sucralose not only has zero calories, but it also doesn’t seem to affect blood glucose control. In the more than two decades since its introduction, several studies have confirmed that Splenda does not raise blood sugar at all. So if you’re used to its flavor (and enjoy its relatively low price), you can continue to use it with confidence.

Also, contrary to popular belief, no conclusive evidence to show that Splenda causes cancer, and is not listed as a known carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program.

erythritolerythritol
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Erythritol is a sugar alcohol made by fermenting foods that naturally contain sugar, such as corn or wheat. Unlike other sweeteners that are exponentially sweeter than table sugar, this one is less sweet than white. Most estimates put its sweetness at around 70% that of sugar.

Erythritol can be hard to pronounce (for the record, it’s “yer-rith-ruh-tol”), but it’s easy on your blood sugar. Like several other options on our list, erythritol has zero calories and its glycemic index is zero. And although it is absorbed in the small intestine, is not metabolized– meaning that it leaves your body intact in your urine. Some people have reported digestive problems after consuming large amounts of erythritol, but most people tolerate it well.

alluloseallulose
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What popular sweeteners wow, allulose is the new kid on the block. This is considered a rare sugar because it is only found in small amounts in foods such as brown sugar, maple syrup, and some dried fruit. Increasingly, food manufacturers are extracting it from these foods to use as a stand-alone sweetener.

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Like stevia, Splenda, and erythritol, allulose does not raise blood sugar—so that people with diabetes feel free to do a happy dance. However, it’s not completely calorie-free (although it’s pretty close!). This alternative sweetener contains about 10% of the calories of sugar.

monk fruitmonk fruit
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The list continues with a natural sweetener that is giving a lot of talk lately: the monk fruit. Native to southern China, monk fruit is (you guessed it) a small, round fruit. Its extract is 150 to 200 times sweeter than sugar, so a little goes a long way.

Because monk fruit has only been used as a sweetener for a relatively short time, it doesn’t have the same strong research base as some alternatives. Still, the evidence for monk fruit as a blood sugar-friendly sweetener is promising! Two 2017 studies found that consuming monk fruit did not affect subjects blood sugar or insulin levels.

XylitolXylitol
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Not surprisingly, the two “-tol” sweeteners on the list have something important in common: they are both sugar alcohols. Xylitol, like erythritol, is derived from fermented corn (or sometimes, surprise!, birch bark). In fact, that’s where it gets its name from, since “xylose” means “wood sugar.”

Of course, xylitol doesn’t taste like a tree. Its sweetness level is on par with white sugar. And unlike erythritol, this sugar alcohol contains calories and carbohydrates. TO two teaspoon serving it comes with 20 calories and 8 grams of carbohydrates. Its glycemic index of 13 is low, especially compared to white sugar’s GI of 65, but not zero.

Maple syrupMaple syrup
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you probably associate Maple syrup with snow-covered forests and healthy homemade recipes, and images like these are probably where this sweetener gets its healthy reputation. It is true that maple syrup has earned its good name in many ways. It’s loaded with more two dozen kinds of antioxidants and it even has trace amounts of calcium, riboflavin, manganese, and zinc.

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That said, for blood sugar problems, maple syrup is not the best sweetener. Although its glycemic index of 54 is lower than that of honey, brown sugar, and white sugar, it is still high enough to raise blood glucose. And 13 grams of carbs per tablespoon can take up quite a bit of your daily carb goal. Make this an occasional treat, not an everyday dipping sauce.

coconut sugarcoconut sugar
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Coconuts are another food with a halo of health the size of a Hawaiian island. They are fruits, the reasoning goes, so any of their by-products must be healthy…right? Not necessarily.

In two teaspoons, coconut sugar It contains 30 calories, 7 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of carbohydrates, exactly the same as white sugar. It has a slight edge over table sugar for its small amounts of nutrients like zinc, calcium, iron, and potassium. And a somewhat lower glycemic index means that coconut sugar may not upset your glucose as much as high-glycemic sweeteners.

Still, it’s definitely not a ticket to more stable blood sugar levels. Keep this in mind before preparing any tropical treat.

READ MORE: 5 myths about alternative sweeteners, according to a registered dietitian

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