Agave nectar is made from the Agave tequiliana plant. It is about 1 1/2 times sweeter than regular sugar. It is said to be manufactured using a highly processed procedure that basically strips the naturally occurring agave juice of all nutritional value. Since we have limited research done on the health benefits and risks of agave, we’ll say it again – use it in moderation.
Date syrup – It is thick, dark brown and super-sweet and is typically quite unrefined meaning that many of the nutrients are retained. Date syrup is very commonly used in the Middle East, in numerous desserts.
Coconut sugar has a low glycemic index (around 35). It is very tasty and can be used as a direct substitute for sugar.
Maple syrup is simply the concentrated sap of the maple tree and is considered to have a low glycemic index (around 54). It is a 100% natural sweetener that is claimed to be more nutritious and healthier than sugar.
Lucuma is a super nutritious Peruvian fruit and has a low-glycemic index. It contains many nutrients including beta-carotene, iron, zinc, vitamin B3, calcium, and protein. Recent research shows that lucuma may be helpful in supporting skin health, blood sugar, and even cardiovascular health.
Xylitol is typically made from birch sap and is actually a form of crystalline sugar alcohol. Xylitol has an incredibly low glycemic index – around 7 – and in addition, has two-thirds of the calories of sugar.
Carob is rich in protein, A and B vitamins, and essential minerals as phosphorus and calcium. It is also much lower in fat and—especially because it is naturally sweet—in calories than chocolate or chocolate products.
Photo source: Nadine Primeau