We all know the potential adverse effects of too much sugar on our health, and it’s no surprise that health authorities advise us to limit our sugar intake. Avid coffee aficionados won’t find this much of a pain since many prefer their coffee black, with 48 percent of coffee drinkers saying they drink coffee just for the energy boost from the caffeine.
However, quite a few coffee lovers prefer to add some sweetness to their cups of joe. And with the increasing focus on health and wellness, it’s natural to gravitate toward healthier substitutes. Here are our top picks for the best substitutes for sugar in coffee to help you out.
Organic Sugar Substitutes
1. Agave Nectar
Agave nectar is a liquid sweetener made from the sap of the agave plant. It has a unique taste that is slightly sweeter than honey but more neutral and comparable to sugar in sweetness.
It is an excellent choice for people seeking a healthier alternative to regular sugar due to its lower glycemic index and sweeter flavor. It should be noted, however, that agave nectar is still a high-calorie sweetener and should be used sparingly.
Usage: One to two teaspoons for a cup of coffee.
2. Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is an all-natural sweetener made from the sap of coconut palms. It has a rich caramel flavor and is a great alternative to regular white sugar.
Not only does coconut sugar have a low glycemic index, but it is also packed with some key vitamins and minerals. However, it is more costly than regular white sugar and has a slightly distinct flavor, because of which it is not too popular.
Usage: One teaspoon of coconut sugar for every teaspoon of regular sugar in coffee.
Derived from the nectar of flowers, honey is an excellent organic sugar substitute for coffee since it is natural, low in calories, and lends a sweet taste to the beverage.
Honey has the edge, given that it is high in vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. But honey can clump in cold coffee, making it difficult to blend, so it’s best to use it only in hot coffee.
Usage: One teaspoon of honey for a cup of coffee.
4. Maple Syrup
Commonly used as a topping for pancakes and waffles, maple syrup is another natural sweetener created from tree sap. It is a natural sweetener with a moderate flavor that may be used in place of white sugar in coffee.
Maple syrup is also rich in essential minerals and vitamins. However, maple syrup is high in sugar, so it should be used in moderation.
Usage: One teaspoon of maple syrup for one cup of coffee.
Molasses is a byproduct of refined sugarcane crops or sugar beets. It has a thick and syrupy consistency and is generally considered a good sweetener for any beverage, including coffee.
Since molasses has a mild flavor, it can add a balanced sweetness to your morning coffee without overpowering it. However, it is heavy in calories and should be consumed in moderation.
Usage: One teaspoon of molasses for a cup of coffee.
6. Evaporated Cane Juice
Evaporated cane juice is made from freshly squeezed sugar cane juice. It is created through a process of evaporating the juice into a concentrated syrup before it is crystallized.
Evaporated cane juice is a superior substitute for sugar since it has a lower glycemic index than many other sweeteners. It also has a comparatively milder flavor than other sweeteners, so it may not be sweet enough for some people’s tastes.
Usage: One to two teaspoons of evaporated cane juice for a cup of coffee.
Stevia is a plant extract that is much sweeter than regular sugar. It is derived from the stevia plant, a herb related to the mint family, and has been used in many cultures for centuries.
Stevia has no calories and is non-glycemic, making it an excellent choice for individuals trying to cut back on sugar. You need a little amount to sweeten your coffee. Some people, however, find the taste of stevia slightly bitter or off-putting.
Usage: Half a teaspoon of stevia for a cup of coffee. Adjust to taste.
Low-Calorie Artificial Sweeteners
Aspartame is a low-calorie sweetener created by the brands NutraSweet and Equal that is made from two amino acids — phenylalanine and aspartic acid. It is an excellent sugar alternative since it contains no calories yet provides a sweet flavor. However, too much of it can be toxic, and it should be used sparingly.
Usage: One or a half packet for a cup of coffee.
Sucralose, commonly known as Splenda, is a low-calorie sugar substitute manufactured from insoluble modified sugar molecules. It has no calories and has no effect on blood glucose levels. However, it can be up to 600 times sweeter than regular sugar — so, if using pure sucralose, you only need a quarter teaspoon for one cup of sugar! But don’t worry — when using sucralose in coffee, you just need to follow the brand’s (Splenda) usage instructions.
Usage: One packet (2 tsp) for a cup of coffee.
Saccharin, an artificial sweetener, has been used as a low-calorie substitute for sugar since the early 1900s. As a calorie-free alternative to sugar, it can help reduce total calorie intake without sacrificing sweetness. However, it has a bitter aftertaste and potential health concerns, so it should be used in moderation.
Usage: One packet for a cup of coffee.
4. Acesulfame Potassium
Acesulfame Potassium, also known in the market as Sunett and Sweet One, is a low-calorie artificial sweetener based on methylene chloride. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar, so you need a very small amount. It has also been linked to potential health hazards, so use it in moderation.
Usage: A quarter teaspoon for a cup of coffee.
Neotame is a low-calorie artificial sweetener manufactured by NutraSweet Co. and was approved by the FDA in 2002. It is up to 7,000 times sweeter than sugar, making it a good sugar substitute for individuals trying to cut calories.
Usage: Half a teaspoon of Neotame for a cup of coffee.
Tagatose is a naturally produced lactose-based low-calorie sugar substitute. It is sold under the brand names Naturlose and Palatinose and is an excellent alternative to sugar for individuals seeking a healthier solution. The primary advantage is that it has fewer calories than other sweeteners. However, it is somewhat more expensive, which makes it a less popular choice, and should be used in moderation since it has a mild laxative effect.
Usage: A quarter teaspoon of Tagatose for a cup of coffee.