Refined sugar isn’t great for our health. But even if you cut out refined table sugar, you still want sweet treats, right? Luckily, there are sugar alternatives to satisfy your sugar cravings. And to help you navigate this sugary world, here’s a complete guide to the latest sugar alternatives.

Sugar, in general, doesn’t promote health, according to nutritionist, Shira Lenchewski M.S., R.D. So, while these sugars are better than refined, processed sugar, they’re by no means a “health food”.

Lenchewski helps break down the following sugars in terms of their glycemic index (GI) (their effect on blood sugar), as well as fructose content – a plant-based sugar – which is healthy in small amounts.

Coconut sugar

Derived from dried coconut nectar, this alternative has a low GI, and it contains about 38 to 48 percent fructose.

Brown rice syrup

The bad thing about brown rice syrup is that it’s a highly processed alternative. However, the good thing is that it’s fructose-free.


This Latin American natural sweetener has a lot of fructose, which can actually increase blood sugar levels. So, it’s best to use agave in moderation.

Palmyra Palm sugar

This sugar is made from the sap of palm trees indigenous to India and Sri Lanka. With both a low GI score and low fructose levels, it’s a optimal sugar alternative.

Yacon syrup

This syrup is made with the yacon root, a South American plant. It has a low GI score, and may also support healthy gut bacteria. But because this syrup doesn’t get digested completely, it can be difficult for some people to tolerate it, especially if you’re prone to digestive issues.

Sorghum syrup

This highly processed syrup has a high GI score, making this a sweet you’ll want to add in moderation.

Monk fruit sweetener

This plant hails from Asia, and is free of both glucose ad fructose. But because it has such a sweet flavor, it can actually increase your sugar cravings and make it difficult for you to resist other forms of sugar in your diet.