Five Best Sugar Substitutes | Dr. Josh Axe
Hey, guys. Dr. Axe here, Doctor of Functional
Medicine and Founder of draxe.com. Today I’m
here to share with you my top five natural
sweeteners and sugar substitutes, and so this
is a big deal today. So many people are over
consuming high fructose corn syrup, processed
sugar, and just carbs in general.
And what I’m going to go over here are my
top five natural sweeteners that many of them,
not all of them, that many of them still have
sugar, but it’s much easier for your body
to digest and process, and is going to bring
the most health benefits to your body.
So whether you’re looking for sugar substitutes
for baking or cooking, or let’s say just something
to add in your morning tea or smoothie, these
are going to be the best five natural sweeteners
you can use.
And to start with, I’m going to go for my
number one natural sweetener, and that’s pure,
raw honey. Now when you’re buying honey, you
want it to say raw. You want it to ideally
even be from a local source. And so for me,
this is an area here in the area of Nashville,
Tennessee, where I’m located. And so again,
this is a form of honey that I love.
And let me say this about honey. One of the
reasons it’s so beneficial is that honey that
is not just a sugar. It’s actually a food.
Honey doesn’t just contain sugar. It also
contains amino acids. It contains specific
types of electrolytes and antioxidants, and
antimicrobial compounds that can really support
your body and the health of your body. So
pure, raw honey.
Now again, you want to use it sparingly, as
the proverbs say. You don’t want to go overboard
with using these sweeteners. But one tablespoon,
one to two times daily, is a good, healthy
amount that most people can do well with.
So again, pure, raw honey.
A few other benefit here of honey is that
it helps reduce allergy symptoms. And the
reason it does it is this local pollen, and
this is if you buy local honey, it actually
really helps with allergies because it helps
your body adapt to local pollen.
It’s kind of natural immunizations over time,
the truth of how we were supposed to adapt
to our surroundings, we have in bee pollen,
which is found in pure raw, honey.
By the way, there was a study at Texas A&M
University. They found that about 80% of honey
on supermarket shelves don’t contain any pollen
whatsoever. That’s why you’ve really got to
buy the raw stuff if you want the real deal.
Also, raw honey contains antimicrobial properties.
So I don’t just eat honey. I actually use
honey, when I get a cut or a wound, I put
it in the area. If you have acne or skin issues,
you can put it right on the area. So it can
actually even be used as a form of natural
And some of my favorite ways to use honey
is I use it in the morning with my sprouted,
soaked oatmeal sometimes. I’ll put it in a
breakfast smoothie. I’ll use it when I’m making
gluten-free pancakes. I’ll use it with some
green tea. Just a little bit of honey in there
to sweeten it up. But again, honey, probably
my most used sweetener that I use here on
a regular basis.
The number two sweetener you should really
consider using on a regular basis, and this
is especially good if you have blood sugar
issues, if you’re overweight, or if you have
something like diabetes, and that’s Stevia.
Stevia is a no-calorie, all-natural sweetener
that comes from the leaf of, actually, a flowering
plant. And Stevia, there are many types of
Stevia. Ideally you get full, green-leaf Stevia.
Another form of Stevia that’s suitable is
doing Stevia that is basically just ground
and part of it is extracted.
Now there are other brands out there today
that I am not a fan of, like Truvia, because
it’s so highly processed. And they’ll also
add in other chemicals, and they come from
GMO corn or add in GMO corn derivatives, and
we all know we don’t want GMOs in our diet.
But SweetLeaf, this is one of my favorite
brands I use, this is Stevia. In fact, they
even have Stevia flavors. This is, you can
get chocolate Stevia, vanilla Stevia, chocolate-raspberry
Stevia, pumpkin pie spice Stevia. So there’s
a lot of different brands.
But the great thing about Stevia is there’s
no sugar involved. And so if you do have diabetes
or blood sugar issues, or are looking to lose
weight fast, this is a great no-carbohydrate
And again, just like using honey sparingly,
you shouldn’t be dumping this in your foods
and going overboard, but just a little bit
goes a long way.
Just a few drops in your morning tea. I love
this with my herbal teas in the morning. I
add a little bit sometimes to something like
a morning smoothie, a little bit to baking
goods or if I’m making homemade pudding. I’ll
put this in there with some chia seeds and
coconut milk and coconut oil.
But again, a little bit of Stevia is great,
especially if you’ve got blood sugar issues
or weight loss issues. Try some Stevia, my
second favorite natural sweetener.
My number three natural sweetener are dates.
Now dates, we could throw other fruits here
into the category, things like raisins, apricots,
other dried fruit, pineapple juices. But the
great thing about dates are they’re also very
high in fiber and potassium, as well as other
vitamins and minerals.
In fact, of all the sweeteners I’m going to
go over, dates have the highest nutrient value.
Now in terms of phytochemicals that heal the
body, honey is the highest, but in terms of
actually vitamins and minerals and fiber content,
dates are the highest. And that fiber actually
slows down sugar absorption.
So remember, if we’re comparing this to white
sugar or high fructose corn syrup, dates are
not sugar. Dates are a food that contain sugar,
and this food also has fiber and antioxidants,
and minerals like potassium, that helps you
slowly absorb sugar and really helps regulate
sugar within your body.
And so dates are very sweet. And I actually
love making homemade pecan pie. And so when
we do different baking at home and do some
of our ingredients, like you’ll find in my
“Real Food Diet Cookbook”, you’re going to
see we use dates all the time.
You mix some dates with some nut butter, and
you can make food bars at home. You can make
protein bars. You can make pies. This is amazing
to add with some pecans and cashews and make
a homemade pie crust. And so in baking especially.
I make a smoothie at home with some cashew
butter and peaches, and you throw some dates
in there. Dates are great, actually, just
to throw in smoothies. And it’s really great
if you’re into raw food and vegan foods. Dates
are probably the number one naturally sweetener
And again, potassium is great for flushing
out toxins. It’s great for balancing electrolytes
in the body, so this is great for athletes.
And again, you don’t want to go overboard,
but again, dates, a fantastic sweetener. My
number three favorite sweetener.
Number four on my list is coconut sugar. You
can see here we have organic coconut palm
sugar. We actually have a vanilla flavor.
It’s unrefined. It’s vegan. It’s not GMO.
And especially when you’re baking, if you’re
looking for an equal comparison, let’s say
you’re baking a cake and you want a recipe
that has the equal amounts of one cup of sugar
to one cup of an alternative natural sweetener,
well, here you go. Coconut sugar or coconut
palm sugar here is the ideal replacement.
We know coconut, juice especially, which is
where a lot of this comes from, the coconut
juice is full of potassium. It’s full of electrolytes
and nutrients. So again, if you’re looking
for equal comparison that’s nontoxic, non-GMO,
that your body’s going to be able to digest
better, organic coconut palm sugar is better.
All of these sweeteners, by the way, they’re
lower on the glycemic index. Where regular
table sugar scores 100, many of these sweeteners
score closer to a 50, so half the glycemic
index. So it’s going to affect your body in
a lesser amount to where it’s not going to
cause your energy levels to drop or increase,
spike your insulin levels, increasing your
risk of diabetes like a lot of the other sugars
out there today.
So this is a great replacement, equal replacement,
to actual table sugar, especially in baking
cookies and pies and things like that.
And last but not necessarily least in terms
of a natural sweetener is 100% pure, organic
maple syrup. And when you buy it, look for
Grade B or even a lower grade, even Grade
C. But you want a Grade B maple syrup. This
is USDA organic.
And maple syrup we know is a fantastic sweetener.
It’s good especially over things like pancakes
and waffles. It’s good in certain recipes
where you want more of that, sort of that
earthy flavor along with it. And so again,
100% pure organic maple syrup, another good
sweetener to add in.
What I would do is get rid of the sugar. By
the way, if you just are using regular sugar
in your baking and cooking, the majority of
that sugar is genetically modified. It comes
from genetically modified beets and GMO corn.
And so if you just see sugar on a food label
that you’re buying or you’re using regular
sugar in baking, we know that that is highly
toxic to the body. And why not? It is so easy
to replace those fake sugars with real sugar,
these natural sugar substitutes and natural
sweeteners to use instead.
So remember these five natural sweeteners.
Raw honey; Stevia; dates; coconut sugar; and
pure, organic maple syrup. Use those five
natural sugar substitutes and you’re going
to be a lot healthier for it while satisfying
your sweet tooth.