10 Alternatives to Refined Sugar

10 Alternatives to Refined Sugar (1)

Sometimes life just requires a little something sweet. So with that in mind, here are 10 all natural, unrefined sweeteners you can feel better about adding to your favorite desserts. Refined sugar has no nutritional value.  Most all processed foods have loads of added refined sugar. On average, studies have shown that the average American eats 3 pounds of refined sugar per week, via processed foods.

At SkinnyMs., we use only unrefined sweeteners.  You will find that most of our baked goods contain either honey, sucanat or coconut palm sugar.  If you live in a location where these sweeteners are not readily available,  you can always shop here.

Maple syrup
Brown Rice Syrup

Dates or Date sugar
Coconut Palm Sugar 
(our favorite because of its low glycemic index)
Turbinado Sugar
Pureed bananas (great in baking!)
Sorghum Syrup
Unsulphured Molasses

If you’re looking for a dessert, be sure to stop by our dessert category!

Why choose natural sugars when the body processes sugar as sugar no matter what type it is?  Simply put, with natural sugars you are not only avoiding chemical processes but also getting at least some amount of nutrition with each bite. Can’t say that for the white sugar which has no nutritional value!

40 Comments on "10 Alternatives to Refined Sugar"

  1. Mary  February 10, 2012

    Truvia is suppose to be natural, will that work for natural sugar. I use local grown, processed, organic honey in my tea and hot cereal. Its great for my allergies.

    • Skinny Ms.  February 11, 2012

      Mary – No, Truvia is not natural. It's manufactured by the Coca-Cola company. Stevia is what you are looking for.

  2. Westrajm  February 26, 2012

    How do you feel about Agave Nectar?

    • skinnyms  February 28, 2012

      Westrajm – We tend to avoid it due to mounting evidence that it is not very good for the body.

  3. Miranda Watson (Aust  March 18, 2012

    what is wrong with agave nectar? 

    • Byn  March 19, 2012

      In general, its been processed so much that it can be as bad as corn syrup.  

    • skinnyms  March 19, 2012

      Agave Nectar is a controversial sweetener…some thing it's great while others don't believe its claims. We don't use it here at Skinny Ms….just don't care for the taste. I recommend this article for more information: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-truth-abou… Thanks!

      • jenmcnaught  March 3, 2013

        I just read this article and noticed there was no evidence that agave was any worse than any other sweetner. It states that it is processed, but much like maple syrup. The reason people tout it as healthier is that it may have a lower glycemic index and is sweeter than sugar, so you use less. Webmd states, at the end, that we need to be careful of any sweetner we use.
        ps. high fructose corn syrup is bad for you in many ways. The atoms are manipulated to create a sweet taste. Your body does not recognize what it is. Any processed food is hard on your cells. Your body just doesn't recognize them as food.

  4. Katsvach  March 18, 2012

    I didn't know that!?!?! I use it a lot. Can I have some details please. :)

    • skinnyms  March 19, 2012

      The main thing to remember is that refined sugar does not have nutritional value. These are natural sweeteners that retain some nutritional value and the ones used most often by Skinny Ms.:
      honey; molasses; sucanat; sorghum; 100% maple syrup.

  5. Vicki Mills-Nichols  March 18, 2012

    I've read Stevia is pretty good as well.  Out of all of these, which do you feel is the best for someone?  Thank you. Oh, I've also seen concerns on Rice Syrup having arsenic in it.

    • skinnyms  March 19, 2012

      Vicki, Stevia is big in the fitness world…just be sure to read the label and make sure there is no added sugars. We use these natural sweeteners that retains some nutritional value: honey; molasses; sucanat; sorghum; 100% Maple Syrup. Thanks!

    • Kathryn  June 14, 2014

      I have a Stevia plant growing in a pot on my front porch. I don't think it gets more natural than snipping leaves, drying them out and blending them in my smoothies.

  6. Byn  March 19, 2012

    We use Xylitol and liquid Stevia.  Sometimes we use honey, pure maple syrup or raw agave nectar, but the latter has had enough questions/debate, I try to avoid it too.

  7. emjules  April 5, 2012

    I have recently started using organic sugar. What are your thoughts on it?

    • skinnyms  April 5, 2012

      If you choose to eat refined sugar, it's better than the alternative. I, personally only use honey, molasses, sorghum, maple syrup or sucanat. Thanks for the question.

  8. Acanjac72  May 3, 2012

    What about sugar in the raw? That's what I've been using forever instead of granulated sugar…Thanks

  9. Brian  May 3, 2012

    This is good – I'm putting together a 4 Hour Body Recipes/Paleo slow cooker cookbook and a few of my recipes require sugar and such – I've substituted Maple Syrup for most of the sugar and halved the amounts recommended.

    • skinnyms  May 3, 2012

      Brian, Smart! Maple Syrup is delicious in almost all recipes calling for sugar.

  10. Heather  July 17, 2012

    Agave syrup and raw honey work well too!!

    • Skinny Ms.  July 18, 2012

      Heather, Thanks for the suggestions. I use only raw honey when using honey, some people aren't able to find it in their small towns.

  11. Ashley  October 5, 2012

    Pureed bananas instead of sugar? Can someone please tell me when you would use this/how much? I've never heard of this…very interested!

  12. Skinny Ms.  October 6, 2012

    Ashley, I use pureed banans in place of sugar in things like, oatmeal and pancakes. It's important to make sure the bananas are fairly ripe, this way they are much sweeter.

  13. Veronica  November 17, 2012

    Why isn't maple syrup on the list? Also I think bananas shouldn't be near the bottom, they are a whole food and certainly healthier than cane sugar. They're the only non refined sugar on the list.

    • Skinny Ms.  November 18, 2012

      Veronica, The list isn't complete but you make an excellent point. I'll add maple syrup. The sweeteners aren't in any particular order. Thanks, we appreciate your feedback! :)

  14. Lavonbaker  February 19, 2013

    Xyla is a new one I have just learned about. What are your thoughts?

  15. sharingplates78  July 2, 2013

    Hi! Only recently I decided to use more natural sugars in my diet. More or less I've only known about maple syrup and honey so this article is a great find for me, now I can play around with other options. Thank you for your post!

  16. Florence  June 9, 2014

    What about monk fruit in the raw?

    • SkinnyMs  June 11, 2014

      Florence, Some Monk Fruit Sweeteners including the one you mentioned have dextrose added, a processed sugar derived from corn. One brand that is just the monk fruit is here in our amazon store: http://astore.amazon.com/skims01-20/detail/B00IBK

  17. job  June 15, 2014

    I haven't used regular white sugar in a while, although I'm not sure which to use in what for substituting. I bought Stevia and Agave nectar some time ago. And then I heard Agave nectar isn't good for you, either. I don't like honey or maple syrup taste. Is there one of the choices in your list that can be used for everything (baking, adding to tea, cereal, etc for a little sweetness) and would the measurement be the same as for sugar, say in baking? Thank you.

    • SkinnyMs  June 16, 2014

      Job, Coconut Palm Sugar would be your best option as a substitute measure for measure.

  18. Kristin  September 1, 2014

    What are your thoughts about coconut nectar or Stevia?

    • SkinnyMs  September 2, 2014

      Kristin, Coconut nectar and stevia are good sugar replacements too.

  19. Cindy Sweitzer Reynolds  October 3, 2014

    which of these raise your blood sugar and which do not?

    • SkinnyMs  October 6, 2014

      Cindy, Coconut Palm Sugar is really low on the glycemic index so it won't raise blood sugar too much. Stevia is a safe choice if you're diabetic.

  20. Shannon  March 3, 2015

    Is there a place where I can find the conversions for using honey etc instead of sugar?


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