3 Trending Alternative Sweeteners for a Healthier Lifestyle

It’s no secret that sugar can deteriorate our health and, as a result, our quality of life.

However, giving up sweet treats and beverages that reward us with pleasure is challenging.

The good news is that there are alternative sweeteners that won’t contribute to weight gain, diabetes, or tooth decay but still allow you to enjoy the same sweet pleasures you do when consuming sugary products.

Sweetener stevia is poured from a spoon into a cup of coffee with milk

Alternative Sweeteners

Consider these trending alternative sweeteners when deciding on your next sweet treat.  

Stevia

Stevia is a zero-calorie sweetener containing steviol glycoside extracted from stevia plants native to South America.

It’s important to note that this sweetener is not artificially created in a laboratory.

The steviol glycoside is removed from the plants by steeping the dried leaves in water, filtering and separating the liquid from the stems and leaves, and purifying the extract with either water or food-grade alcohol. 

Unlike artificial sweeteners, stevia makes an excellent sweetener for cooking and baking because it does not break down in heat.

You can find stevia-based sweeteners in reduced or zero-calorie food products like cereals, candies, and desserts, and beverage products like teas, juice drinks, flavored waters, and sodas.

When you’re looking for products that contain stevia ingredients, look for the following names on the ingredient list:

  • Stevia leaf extract
  • Stevia sweetener
  • Stevia-based sweetener
  • Stevia extract
  • Stevia glycosides
  • Reb A
  • Reb M

There are hundreds of different species of the stevia plant, but only one contains natural chemicals that make the leaves taste sweet.

The Stevia Rebaudiana plant produces Rebaudiosides (REB) A and M, two steviol glycosides found in the leaves of this species of stevia plant.

However, the taste of these sweeteners differs, making it necessary to use them in the appropriate applications.

So you may see either Reb A or Reb M in the ingredient list, depending on the product that is using a stevia sweetener.

Allulose

Allulose is similar to fructose, which is found naturally in fruits.

However, it’s a rare sugar found naturally in very small quantities in figs, raisins, wheat, maple syrup, and molasses.

So, allulose has to be synthetically produced for quantity. The process starts with starch isolated from corn being converted into glucose.

That glucose is changed into fructose, which is then transformed into allulose.

Allulose has an almost identical taste to table sugar and is versatile in what products it can be used in, including baked goods, beverages, and frozen desserts.

Allulose has 90% fewer calories than sugar and does not have to count toward total sugar and carbohydrate grams on food and beverage Nutritional and Supplement Facts labels when listed in the ingredient list.

Fruit and Vegetables

Baked goods can benefit from adding fruits and vegetables like bananas, pears, pineapple, and sweet potatoes for sweetness and texture instead of sugar.

Not From Concentrated (NFC) juices can provide sweet beverages made solely from fruits and vegetables with naturally occurring sugars like:

  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Celery
  • Red Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Red beets
  • Cranberries
  • Pumpkins
  • Pears
  • Orange carrots

You can use fruit and vegetable purees made of butternut squash, cauliflower, and a variety of natural fruits in baked goods and dairy products for natural sweetener alternatives.   

On your next grocery shopping trip, note the products incorporating these trending alternative sweeteners as you stroll among the aisles.

You may notice alternative sweeteners, like stevia and allulose, to bake with instead of sugar in the baking aisle.

In the juice aisle, you may find beverages that contain 100% naturally occurring sugars without added ones.

These examples and other products that contain these trending alternative sweeteners can help you transition into a healthier lifestyle without sacrificing your sweet treats.