6 Healthy Sugars That Can Kill You

Young Woman Holding a Piece of Cake“Sugar scares me.” – Dr. Lewis Cantley, Cancer Researcher

Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet.

Awareness of its harmful effects has increased dramatically in the past few years.

Despite what some people would have you believe, empty calories are just the tip of the iceberg.

Sugar, due to its high amount of the simple sugar fructose, can wreak havoc on your metabolism.

Consumed in excess, it causes high cholesterol and triglycerides, insulin resistance and fat buildup in the liver and abdominal cavity… in as little as 10 weeks (1, 2).

Added sugar (and its evil twin… high fructose corn syrup) is believed to be a key driver of some of the world’s leading killers… including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).

But today… there are all sorts of “healthy” sugar-based sweeteners on the market.

The problem with many of them, is that they are just as bad as regular sugar.

In some cases, these healthy sugars are even worse… and they are added liberally to all sorts of foods that are then marketed as “health foods.

Here are 6 “healthy” sugars that are actually very harmful.

1. Agave Nectar

Honey

Agave nectar (often called Agave syrup) is a very popular sweetener in the natural health community.

This sweetener is touted as a healthy alternative to sugar because it has a low glycemic index.

The glycemic index (GI) is the potential of foods to lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar. Some studies show that eating a lot of high GI foods is unhealthy (10, 11).

But the harmful effects of sugar have very little to do with the glycemic index and everything to do with the large amount of fructose… and Agave is high in fructose.

Fructose doesn’t raise blood sugar or insulin in the short term, but when consumed in high amounts it leads to insulin resistance… a long-term effect that will chronically elevate blood sugar and insulin levels (12, 13).

Having blood sugars go up for a short time isn’t that bad, but having them chronically elevated (high all the time) is a recipe for disaster.

For this reason… the fructose content of sugar is a much bigger problem than its glycemic index. Regular sugar is about 50% fructose, while Agave is about 70-90% fructose.

Gram for gram, agave nectar is actually much, much worse than regular sugar.

2. Raw Organic Cane Sugar

Sugar cubes

I see a lot of “health products” sweetened with raw, organic cane sugar.

Do not let the name deceive you… this is just sugar.

Organically grown sugar is still sugar and whether it is “raw” or not doesn’t make any difference.

The way this sweetener is processed may be different from the “regular” sugar you find on the supermarket shelves, but the chemical composition is exactly the same.

Most importantly, your body won’t recognize the difference. It will break the sugar down into glucose and fructose in the digestive tract and it will have the exact same effects on your metabolism.

For all intents and purposes, raw, organic cane sugar is completely identical to regular sugar.

3. Evaporated Cane Juice

Sugar Cane

I often see “evaporated cane juice” on processed food labels.

Don’t be fooled by the name… evaporated cane juice is just a fancy name for sugar.

This is plain deception by the food manufacturers, done in order to hide the true sugar content of foods from the consumer.

Really… if you see “evaporated” and “juice” in the same word on an ingredients label, it should make you wonder what else the manufacturer is trying to hide from you.

When the sweetener reaches your intestine and liver, your body won’t recognize any difference between “evaporated juice” and plain old sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

4. Brown Sugar

When sugar is made, molasses form as a by-product.

Different Types of Sugar

Sometimes, after the sugar has been refined and processed, small amounts of molasses are added back into it.

This gives the sugar a brown color and it is then called brown sugar.

Molasses are about 50% sugar, but they also contain a small amounts of minerals (14).

Put simply, brown sugar is regular sugar diluted with a slightly less unhealthy, less concentrated sugar.

The tiny amount of minerals does NOT make up for the other negative health effects.

5. Coconut Sugar

Palm Sugar

Coconut sugar is derived from the sap (sugary circulating fluid) of the coconut plant.

The manufacturing method is very natural… it simply involves extracting the sugary fluid, then allowing the water to evaporate.

Coconut sugar contains a small amount of fiber and a few nutrients, while also having a lower glycemic index than regular sugar (15, 16).

But again… the glycemic index is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the harmful effects of sugar. What really matters is whether this product is high in fructose or not.

Coconut sugar is actually very high in fructose. It contains a small amount of free fructose, but 75-80% of it is sucrose, which is half fructose (17).

Therefore, the total fructose content of coconut sugar is somewhere around 35-45%, give or take.

Due to the slightly smaller amount of fructose than sugar, and the tiny amounts of fiber and nutrients, you could say that coconut sugar is less unhealthy than regular sugar, gram for gram.

However… being “less unhealthy” than sugar does NOT make it healthy.

6. Honey

Jar of Honey

Honey contains some nutrients… including antioxidants and trace amounts of vitamins and minerals (18).

It is about 80% sugar, by weight (19).

That being said, several studies have compared honey and plain sugar and noted that honey had slightly less harmful effects on metabolism (20, 21).

Like coconut sugar, honey is “less bad” than regular sugar.

But again… being less bad than sugar doesn’t make it good.

If you’re healthy, having some quality honey in moderation is probably fine. It is definitely a better choice than plain sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

But honey is not a harmless sweetener and certainly won’t help you lose weight, like some people would have you believe.

Take Home Message

All the sugar you eat will go down to your intestine, get broken down into glucose and fructose and eventually reach the liver.

Your liver does not know (or care) whether the sugar you eat is organic or not.

102 Comments

  1. Kendra Norwood says:

    What about Stevia?

    • Stevia is completely different, it is a natural zero calorie sweetener with no fructose. Several studies show that stevia is actually pretty healthy.

      I’ve written about it here:

      http://authoritynutrition.com/why-is-stevia-good-for-you/

      • Stevia has the unfortunate side effect of causing bloating and gas. I will be miserably uncomfortable by the 3rd day of consuming 1 packet of Stevia in my 1 cup of morning coffee.

        It is NOT something you can consume daily without consequences. Sorry… it’s far less painful (literally) to consume 2 teaspoons of raw sugar in my morning coffee and just skip sweets throughout my day.

        • Most of the packets of stevia also contains fillers to bulk it up enough for it to pour and be easily measured. Those fillers tend to be sugar alcohols, which will cause bloating and gas in people, depending on the type of sugar alcohol and level of sensitivity for the type. You are much better off using pure stevia extract, either in powder with a tiny scoop to measure with or in liquid form.

      • Stevia can hardly be labelled “natural” – it is a processed sweetener like any other.

    • Ashley Beard says:

      However, many people have intolerances to stevia… Primarily noticed in those with allergies to ragweed and other plants.

      • You can be intolerant/allergic to anything… it does not mean it’s unhealthy for the rest of population.

        • Exactly. Many people are allergic to eggs, pineapple, kiwis (me included), fish, shellfish, nuts. But does that make it unhealthy? Nope.

  2. Xyla (xylitol) is even better than Stevia because it can be used in the same proportions as sugar… where as Stevia is very concentrated and requires smaller amounts which is hard to calculate in baking for instance.

    • Xylitol is not quite as sweet as regular sugar. Just make sure you get your xylitol from the bark of the birch tree in the US. The rest of the stuff mostly comes from China. Xylitol is very healthy for your teeth as well.

    • Xylitol can cause intestinal distress. That’s especially bad for people who have a tendency toward that, like people with IBS. I use a toothpaste with Xylitol, but try to avoid swallowing it.

  3. Pul Delfri says:

    #2~~ After reading the following paragraph from you, #2 form of sugar, I was absolutely livid with your misinformation and/or ignorance.

    “The way this sweetener is processed may be different from the ‘regular’ sugar you find on the supermarket shelves, but the chemical composition is exactly the same.”

    “REGULAR” sugar in the super market and “ORGANIC” sugar are so wildly different in their “chemical composition” that when you wrote this I felt like you SURELY must be employed by a biotech industry population poisoning company.

    Organic sugar possesses ZERO Genetically Modified Organisms know to cause cancer!!!

    Get it correct, stop misinforming the public, a retraction is clearly in order…

    • I could be wrong but I think he meant chemical composition on a molecular level… glucose bound to fructose is sucrose is organic raw sugar.

      If you are saying it isn’t, perhaps you can provide researched based evidence that the molecular structure of organic raw sugar is different from table sugar. I would be interested in seeing that.

    • The glycemic load and hit on insulin is the same however, and for most of us, that is the important issue. And as far as cancer is concerned, the cancerous cells will feed just as happily on organic sugar as they will the plain, processed white stuff.

    • Someone miss the GMO-causes-cancer journal retraction last week? :-) No science behind the GMO FUD, sorry.

      • Actually the retraction was only made because a former monsanto employee was added to the journal’s editorial board. The retraction was not made because of any misconduct or incorrect research, only because the journal determined that the results were not conclusive.

        If that is the bar for retraction, you might as well retract the majority of scientific articles right now. This is a bogus retraction and you should stay tuned for this story to play out, because it isn’t done. The research is valid.

    • Sugar is sugar no matter what, glucose and fructose. And your body reacts the same way to organic and “non organic” sugar. Neither of them causes cancer but there is a strong link between weight and the risk of getting different types of cancer, as well as diabetes type 2 and several other illnesses.

    • There’s DNA in sugar? News to me, it’s a crystalline organic chemical. No genetic modification present.

    • I was thinking the same thing when I read it… sure the chemical composition is the same, but the load of unnatural crap they add during processing, is definitely not!

  4. Great article Kris, there’s such confusion over sugar. It’s an uphill battle convincing people that agave nectar (and now coconut sugar) are just as bad! What’s your view on xylitol?

    • Xylitol is fine, only problem I’m aware of is digestive issues when consuming large doses.

      • And it kills dogs.

        I won’t have it in my house because my dogs get into everything. But it is very deadly to dogs. Cats too, but they are more picky about what they eat.

        Erythritol is safe though, and I hear it has some benefits as well? But the same caveats about gas and cramping as xylitol.

      • Wenchypoo says:

        Any sugar alcohol can raise your BG just like the full-blown sugar can. Test yourself and see.

      • I have major concerns about xylitol.

        It was decided that saccharin was bad when it gave cancer to rats. Xylitol doesn’t bother with something slow like cancer – it just kills the rats like right now! So how is it that this is a healthy thing for us to put into our bodies?

        • Could you post a link to where it is written, please?

        • Xylitol has been used for decades in Finland. The original test on tooth decay occurred in the 1970′s (http://www.foodforlife.fi/english/finnish-innovations/xylitol-combats-cavities and other references – do a search); so there has been plenty of “testing” in humans. The same 1970′s testing also showed a reduction in children’s ear infections. My husband has a friend from Finland and he has told us that Xylitol is used almost exclusively in candy, and other sweet treats, there; and that there is also almost no tooth decay. For those who experience intestinal upset, most people will build up a tolerance for Xylitol, so start small. Also, “all things in moderation” is always a good plan.

          Super-tasters, about 25% to 50% of the population (depending on the source), will often find Stevia tastes bitter. These same people will also find Aspartame, and many other sugar substitutes taste bad, usually bitter. These same people usually dislike any bitter foods, such as grapefruit, dark chocolate, foods in the cabbage family, and others; and often also dislike spicy foods. It really depends on what type of a super-taster you are. I am a super-taster, I can’t stand Stevia; but I have no problem with xylitol. I’m interested in trying the Stevia herb, fresh and unprocessed, though, since someone here commented that it didn’t have the bitter taste of processed Stevia.

          Many things are dangerous/deadly for dogs, and/or cats (or other animals) that are fine for human consumption: Chocolate can be deadly to dogs, so can macadamia nuts, grapes and raisins; anything in the onion or garlic family, is very toxic for cats, and you probably didn’t know that most cats are lactose intolerant and shouldn’t be given milk; avocado will cause stomach upset in dogs, and can be deadly to birds and rodents (it could kill a rat “like right now!”; but is actually a pretty healthy food for humans). There are other foods that are also dangerous to animals. So any argument that a food is bad for humans because it is bad for some other species, is frivolous, and unjustified.

          Xylitol also has the interesting property of lowering the temperature of foods it is added to. This isn’t really noticeable when you add it to most foods, because it’s a small temperature change; but you can notice it if you put some xylitol on your tongue.

      • Karen Rathbone says:

        I am glad you think that, Kris, as I have replaced sugar with xylitol in all my recipes.

        I find that I don’t need as much because it has a very sweet taste, which is another bonus.

    • Tina Boldman says:

      So, I have found and have been using coconut palm sugar, derived they say from coconut flower blossom nectar, loaded with 16 amino acids and high in nutrients. There is however nowhere on the package any information of fructose. Is this just as bad? Aren’t the chemically produced sugars even worse?

  5. Hi Kris,

    Could you let me know if pure organic maple syrup is a better option than the 6 you’ve listed in this article please?

    Thanks.

    • Maple syrup is about 60% sugar, by weight. It also has some Zinc and Manganese.

      I would say that it is “less unhealthy” than pure sugar, but should still be consumed with caution. Kind of like with honey and coconut sugar.

      • Melissa B says:

        So basically there is no alternative to sugar and we should avoid it along with these other 6 items?

        • Well there are quite a few non-sugar sweeteners that are healthy alternatives, as mentioned in the comments above.

          But you do whatever you want to do, I’m just pointing out that most of these sweeteners are not much different from plain old sugar/HFCS.

          • Was looking forward to a comment on pure maple syrup. Have heard it is 99% sucrose and full of minerals. Not sure if it’s better for not spiking blood sugar. Any thoughts?

      • Thanks for your reply.

        The refinement and processing of stevia leaves into the powdered substance is the only reason why I choose not to use it. But this is just a personal preference (not to mention just how damn GOOD maple syrup and raw honey taste!).

        Great blog, Kris. Very helpful information in all of your articles.

  6. I agree with what you said, except, I do think there are more benefits to honey than you suggested. If you buy local, (I mean from a beekeeper, within 8 miles of your home), and it is raw, and not been heated, then it has been suggested that it will help with pollen allergies, for your neighborhood.

    Hence the local rule, honey from the store is like maple syrup, if you don’t know who made it, then I sure don’t trust it is what they say it is. Please keep up your blog postings, I enjoy them.

  7. Liz Grant says:

    What are you thoughts on using glucose/dextrose as a sweetener? And is saccharin a no-no?

    • Dextrose is fine in my opinion. I can’t see any reason why it should be harmful per se, but I wouldn’t use a ton of it though because there are better ways to spend your calorie budget.

      Should also be limited on a low-carb diet, for obvious reasons.

      I haven’t dug into the research behind saccharin yet so I don’t know. A lot of people in the natural health community are against it, but so far I haven’t seen any evidence that it causes harm.

  8. Thank you, Kristjan.

    It is much about belief here… So I don’t believe that sweet taste is bad in itself. We know that some forest inhabitants love honey, have you heard about any bear suffering of cancer?

    I believed that natural sweet things should be good compared the processed ones. But what about processing of stevia, making powder of it, etc?

    And raisins and dates?

    Thank you for answer.

  9. Pearl Wilde says:

    Greetings, how about 100% Natural Maple syrup?

  10. There are literally thousands of people on a high carb low fat vegan diet thriving. Sugar in the SAD (standard American diet) is dangerous because it’s almost always consumed with fat. So there are numerous theories on whether fat is bad and sugar is bad but I think the problem lies with combining the two which causes issues.

    • Yes, this confirms the following theory to be true – acidosis and bacterial misbalance – candida yeast infection. It develops eating sugar + wheat (+yeast) – directly feeding yeast. It probably likes many things…

      P.S. high carb low fat vegan diet – do they just eliminate animal products and eat wheat, sugar cookies, cakes etc?

    • Hi James,

      My personal research suggests you are spot on. Sugar was introduced to the masses (when it became cheap) in the late 1800′s, early 1900′s. Soon after, increases in type II diabetes were noticed. Post WWII polyunsaturated fats became more available and in the 1980′s the saturated fat mantra was introduced and pushed by governments and health “experts.”

      The fructose/polyunsaturated fat combination has to be more dangerous than the glucose/saturated fat combination as polyunsaturated fats are far more easily glycated than saturated fats and fructose is 7 to 10 times more likely to glycate fats. The result is a whole lot more cell damaging ROS species, which overworks the immune system and could well be the seed for many diseases that involve chronic inflammation, which is most non-communicable diseases.

  11. Can you talk about why sugar is bad? Is it only bad in excess, or is all consumption of sugar bad?

    Also, I’m surprised you don’t mention the primary benefit of organic food: it lacks potential chemical adulterants like herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers that can be harmful to humans. These chemicals also pollute our water supplies and harm the environment in many ways (whose effects are still being documented and studied).

  12. This article is great, I’m a low carb vegetarian, so I am a wheat free, sugar free and meat free fussy eater! :) I have to make a lot of my own foods from scratch, and I would use Xylitol in my baking, along with my own ground almonds.

    • Xylitol, erythritol sound chemical / medical… In which way are they produced?

      Also steviosa – powder from stevia – how?

  13. My body KNOWS the difference between white processed sugar and raw organic cane sugar. I cannot do the white sugar. It gives me instant problems and they continue through the day. Doesn’t happen at all with raw honey, raw organic cane sugar OR maple syrup.

  14. I don’t think the companies are naming their products that way to necessarily try to trick people, but to tell them what the sugar they are using actually is. It is important to know for people who are vegan, since regular sugar is not vegan. So when I see evaporated cane juice, I know it is okay for vegans.

    Personally, I can’t give up sugar. I tried, I really did try the low carb diet, and it was not fun nor did it feel right. Now, I just pretty much live off of sugar. Lots of fruit throughout the day, lots of greens at lunch, and rice and veggies at dinner. The key for me is to keep fat low and water intake high. Also nothing processed! 5’7 and 110 lbs now! :D

    Even though I was unable to follow the low carb plan (since I am vegan and it is too difficult) I do enjoy your information!

  15. This article keeps coming back to the dangers of Fructose and HFCS. It doesn’t talk about fructose-free (?) sweeteners, such as dextrose.

    I see Dextrose on sale advertised as “fructose-free”. Is that correct, and would it be better to use than ordinary sugar?

  16. I fail to understand why Karsyn thinks high sugar and vegan is a healthy way of eating. Eat lots of meat and veggies and you will be healthy and have more energy and maintain a healthy weight

  17. When you buy sugar in the grocery store, if it doesn’t say “cane” then it is from GMO sugar beets. So, yeah, sugar can be GMO.

  18. Clippernation says:

    What about the fact that a lower GI means less weight gain in the form of fat? Is the GI of agave nectar significantly lower than honey such that you could see a benefit?

  19. The whole issue about sugar is confusing. In my opinion, anything processed is not good. Our bodies only know how to process whole foods into our system, not chemically processed foods. When I bake I use organic maple syrup or raw honey. The best forms of sugar come from organic fruits and vegetables.

  20. No inclusion of maple sugar in this article.

  21. Everything in moderation is the best way. It’s true about eating your fish and chicken and other meat and vegetables, and a couple of fruit a day, but occasionally one can eat a piece of cake or a Christmas cookie and not die!

    Life is also about enjoyment – imagine being such a fanatic that you are lean and mean and drop down dead one day anyway because you didn’t know you had an aneurysm in your brain which has been waiting to happen for a long time.

    We can spread out the odds by buying bio stuff to eat at home, but I bet you anything when you eat out, the restaurants are not supplying you with such healthy food. It’s probably full of the wrong oils, trans fatty acids, heated in the microwave and full of MSG (one can go on here). Unless you’re lucky and have a bio-food restaurant that you go to.

    Life is for living – food is a social thing – you can serve up healthy stuff to your guests, but most of them are going to look forward to some kind of dessert after the meal too, and Stevia and stuff just “ain’t gonna cut it” like a bit of real sugar does!

  22. Hey there. I just finished reading a whole bunch of your articles after recently finding your page! Love all of them! And I agree with every one of them, especially this one. I was wondering though, there are so many brands and forms of stevia out there, which one is truly the best? And maybe could you do an article on xylitol and erythritol. I notice some stevia brands are even mixed with erythritol. I know that both xyitol and erythritol can actually be found in fruit but I’ve also heard other stuff. I was wondering your opinion on that too! Thanks!

  23. Just fathomed by viewing a ‘NZ diabetic society’ endorsed fruit cake – full of dried fruit and surrounded by flour and I assume some sort of natural or artificial sweetener. Brown sugar perhaps – what hope do we have when our government guidelines are so so wrong!

  24. Dear friends,
    I have one fundamental question – if they make a powder of stevia, then it will be processed and not natural anymore (white) and therefore bad for the human body, the same as with sugar! Please enlighten me! Thanks.

  25. I actually cannot believe you endorsed Stevia. It is a patented chemical compound. Natural cannot be patented, so in effect the company that manufactured Stevia made it bad. All unnatural sweeteners are bad. Aspartame, Stevia and the like cause cancer and brain problems and also make you gain weight. This has all been proven.

    The history of Aspartame tells it all. It was rammed through the FDA by, guess who, none other than Donald Rumsfeld (a political insider and was on the board of directors of the company that produced it), even though there were many studies even then proving it was not a safe compound.

    You are giving bad information here. Maybe as other have said you are a shill for the fake sweetener industry. Find some non-gmo sugar and use it. Natural is the way to go always.

    • I think you are confusing Stevia with some other sweetener. Stevia is a natural low-calorie sweetener, extracted from a plant called Stevia rebaudiana.

      See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevia

      • Wenchypoo says:

        We should differentiate between cut-leaf stevia and that crap they sell in the stores that’s chemical stevia mixed with other sweeteners.

        I use the cut-leaf stuff because it’s the only thing that doesn’t raise Hubby’s BG levels.

    • Dear Paul,

      You definitely ARE confusing Stevia with some other sweetener… Stevia is a herb. I (personally) do not like processed Stevia at all… it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. That being said, the natural herb is wonderful! I brew my tea with the stevia leaf and it tastes awesome.

      Please try it – you will love it. Again, the poweder form is too strong and tastes weird (to me). The whole herb does not have that same “taste” to it.

      Xylitol is wonderful tasting as well and actually contains anti-bacterial/anti-fungal properties… meaning it is GOOD for you.

  26. Paul – I just realized that you may be confusing Stevia with Splenda… Splenda IS POISON! Stevia is a herb. Oh – and you are 100% correct about Donald Rumsfeld! And, yes, natural is the only way to go… You’re very smart. ;-)

  27. The thing is that most “sugar” is made from genetically modified beet sugar.

    VERY different from cane sugar or Organic Cane Juice in my opinion. I can’t eat sugar without pain, cane juice is fine for me.

  28. I take issue with your honey comment. If God took His people into a land flowing with Milk and Honey, I think it is ok for me. I use it in my coffee with organic cinnamon every day. Everything in moderation.

  29. And how about Maple Syrup? Is that just another slightly less UNhealthy form of sugar as well? I imagine it has some nutrients – vitamins and minerals.

  30. Stevia?

    Don’t all sugary tastes make the brain send signals that mess with the glucose blood levels and other regulation mechanisms, in preparation for the incoming calories?

    Problem with the sweeteners is that there are 0 calories to take care of, but the signals are sent by the taste buds to the brain the same way as if sugar calories were ingested?

    Not sure about the implications, but isn’t this a problem, especially with people trying to lose weight, messing with their satiety mechanism?

    Wouldn’t it be better for people to just adapt to not use added sugar (slowly), and only consume sugar in foods with fibers, like in plain fruits?

    I don’t have definite answers to these questions just asking myself out loud ;-)

  31. First I would like to say, very interesting and useful article. I have not had any sugar except fruit for over 6 months and I feel amazing. I think eating a little sugar is like being a little pregnant, you eat more and more. So for me I had to eliminate it all together to get rid of the cravings.

    I would love to share your site on my blog if that is okay? I also will be sharing it on my facebook groups that I am in.

    I have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s, it is so important to eliminate so many things, like gluten, sugar and dairy. That being said, many people in my groups need to see your article. I thank you so much for the knowledge.

  32. I’d be interested to know what you think of the new Swerve sweetener that came out recently. It’s supposed to be “sugar without the sugar” and is billed as “all natural”, zero glycemic, etc., but I have no idea how it’s processed or whether it really is “natural”. I got a bag of it at the store the other day out of curiosity, and it’s pricey but does taste way better than other sugar substitutes.

    I haven’t actually done anything with it yet, but I think it would be much better for baking than stevia, which I find very bitter. It actually tastes pretty much exactly like sugar if you just sample a little bit out of the bag.

    But like everything that’s supposed to be healthy, I’m skeptical until I have more information. Just today, I had a guy at Costco try to convince me that the sucralose in his vitamin drink was “totally harmless — just as natural as sugar, but without the calories!”, and I had to roll my eyes.

    That was also the racket they sold at Weight Watchers 12ish years ago, when Splenda was a fairly new thing and “so much better for you than aspartame!” It was several years before it became widespread knowledge that it was just as bad as the other chemical sweeteners.

  33. Melodie Cuffin says:

    Stevia and truvia are different. Stevia, like said before, is a plant and truvia is processed. Best bet is organic stevia. It is still processed a bit, but I don’t get the stomach problems and headaches I get with truvia. Skinny Girl has an organic stevia that I like a lot. Cheaper than truvia too.

  34. Kris, I love your articles but I don’t think honey should be below a title called “6 Healthy Sugars That Can Kill You”. I understand it’s not healthy if eaten in large quantities, but it’s not like agave syrup or refined sugar. What you say below the title about honey is true but it’s about the first impression and most people don’t even read the details.

  35. Hi Kris,
    I recently purchased Mesquite Powder as a natural sugar substitute. It contains good quantities of calcium and magnesium, along with Lysine, and initial thoughts are if I am going to use a sugar substitute I might as well get some mineral/nutritional value at the same time. Do you have any thoughts on this powder?

  36. Clinical Chemist says:

    Lets get a few things clear:

    1. Any sugar is not necessarily a healthy product. However, to say that all are unhealthy is misleading. The war on sugar has gone too far. Like anything else, used moderately, sugar is healthy. If consumed to excess, then sugar is unhealthy

    2. Based on item #1, sugars with a lower glycemic index are more healthy because you can consume more than regular sugar because they produce lower insulin spikes. If you have them in moderation (as you would regular sugar, then you are ahead of the game).

    3. Agave sugar is high in fructose. Fructose, in its natural form isn’t the monster that everyone thinks. Natural fructose is part of the sucrose molecule (glucose + fructose = sucrose). Other natural fructose is in all fruit, and we know fruit is healthy, right(?) It is only when fructose is separated out and consumed that our bodies get confused and it is becomes dangerous. In fact, the epidemic of adult onset diabetes coincides with the release of high fructose corn syrup to the US food supply. Put simply, your body must digest sucrose to glucose and fructose before it can metabolize the sugar – straight fructose is absorbed directly and only cleared by the liver, however your body releases insulin anyway, which will either burn out the beta cells in your pancreas, or more likely make your cells immune to insulin (adult onset diabetes).

    4. Based on item 3, regular sugar is probably healthier for you than Agave (which is high in pure fructose). However, Palm and Coconut sugar is basically sucrose (table sugar) with a lower glycemic index. Making it as perfect of a sugar as you can get (assuming you can deal with the taste, which I don’t care for) and certainly not a sugar that will kill you.

  37. I have a big pack with real stevia at home, I mean the real plant. It’s wonderful with my green tea. Amazing how sweet all becomes with it. The only thing is the taste, I don’t like it… for me it tastes like metal.

  38. I have read a great deal on the different types of sugar and tried them all at some point over the past 4 yrs. I have reduced my consumption tremendously and eliminated 98% of processed foods. I still need to use sugar and would like to know what you think is the “best” to use other than palm and coconut (I do not like the taste in my tea and homemade drinks like teas and lemonade). “Best” not from a nutritional standpoint but best as in “less processed/chemicals”.

    Regular White Sugar vs Turbinado vs Organic Cane Sugar.

  39. How about the wise words from the late great Jack LaLanne, “If God didn’t make it… don’t eat it” – plain and simple.

  40. Hi Kris!

    Great info! Have you researched the sweetener Swerve yet? If you would share your thoughts on it… would appreciate it. Thank you!

  41. Now I am totally lost, what do I use for my baking as the best choice? Help please!

  42. Thanks for posting this! All too often people think that organic cane sugar or other “natural” sugars are more healthy than refined sugar. This just isn’t the case. Refined sugar has so many negative effects (http://creationbasedhealth.com/sugar/), but we don’t realize how much is in our common foods. The best option is to stop relying on sweeteners so much and just stick to whole fruit.

  43. Neena Singh says:

    I’m confused. If fructose is so bad for us, then isn’t fruit also bad? I’ve recently taken to juicing and making smoothies. Along with some veggies, I am adding fruits. My consumption of fruits has increased considerably. I’m concerned I might be harming myself in my quest for good health.

  44. I found this article while looking for sugar substitutes. I want to enjoy a cup of coffee or whatever with sugar, but even Stevia (even though someone said it does not) will make you fat just the way sugar will. Yea, I am sure it’s safer, but sugar is sugar.

    Is there any other way to make something sweet without using sugar or a substitute? Kind of a lame question, but inquiring minds would like to know.

  45. Hi Kris,

    Thanks for your sharing on the harmful effects of those so-called “healthy” sugars. Now I am in a catch 22. In fact I decide to make water kefir starting from April and sugars will be inevitably used for the fermentation process. Yes, I know, large amount of the sugar used will be consumed by the water kefir grains but I am still worrying that the small amount left in the drink will be bad for my health in long term.

    Actually can the benefit of water kefir offset the harm caused by sugar or should I give up making the drink? Please give me some advice. Thank you very much.

  46. Hey! What about “panela”? Little blocks of unrefined sugar cane juice.

    http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panela

  47. If we accept that added sugars are harmful, then we have to accept that fruit is harmful even if it’s not politically correct to say so and possibly “whole grains.”

    However I think the bad rap that fructose gets ignores the fact that our ancestors used it to store fat and create insulin resistance for the times they needed it, i.e. long journeys ahead and lack of food meant the energy needed to be prolonged.

    We are no longer in a world where honey is seen by travelers in the woods and beneficial, similarly athletes may use fructose to avoid energy from being used up too quickly, i.e. endurance.

    Nutrition in the sense of good and bad foods ignores energy requirements which may vary by gender, age, occupation.

  48. Patrick A. Gallimore says:

    Organic cane sugar is good for you… processed, refined sugar is bad for you. Evaporated Cane Juice is raw cane sugar.

    However, I think there’s a distinction, between organic cane sugar and raw cane sugar (evaporated cane juice)… However, both are good for us, I believe.

  49. Suzy Paxton says:

    Stevia goes through 40 steps to be processed relying on chemicals like acetone, methanol, ethanol, acetonitrile, and isopropanol… some of those are carcinogens. How can such a chemically derived extract be deemed safe? I would really like your opinion on this.

  50. Wellshii says:

    Moderation is the key. Like you said, you do this, exercise regularly and eat clean natural food as much as possible, you’ll be fine. 10 sodas a day stacked with potato chips leads to obesity etc… not solely the fructose. MODERATION!

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