Last Updated on January 7, 2021
Use our cheat sheet to remove sugar from your diet.
Fifty grams. That’s the daily cap on added sugar recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the average American. Fortunately, artificial and natural sugar alternatives can help kick sugar cravings.
“The brain gets a reward or sweet response from sweeteners,” says Brian St. Pierre, M.S., R.D., and director of performance nutrition at Precision Nutrition. “Generally when people replace sugary beverages with artificially sweetened ones, they eat less sugar, fewer calories and lose weight.”
The FDA labels, “high-intensity” artificial sweeteners such as asparatame and sucralose as food additives. Of these types, St. Pierre says, “there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence of health issues but the scientific evidence doesn’t show many negative effects.”
Sugar alcohols, such as erythritol and xylitol, are low-calorie carbohydrates found in plants processed for sale as table sugar substitutes. Refined stevia and monk fruit extract are natural sweeteners generally regarded as safe.
If you’re looking to rid your diet of sugar, try one the natural sweeteners below.
Effective as a cough suppressant, honey has high anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
Calories: 64 per tbsp
Contains at least 24 different substances and significant amounts of some minerals.
Calories: 52 per tbsp
A good source of fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which feed friendly gut bacteria for various health benefits.
Calories: 21 per tbsp
Reportedly a mild laxative, contans some beneficial minerals as well.
Calories: 58 per tbsp
About 200 times sweeter than sugar; seems to lower inflammation in low to moderate doses.
Monk Fruit Extract
Also called “luo han guo”; 300 times sweeter than sugar due to its mogrosides content.
Made from finely chopped dry dates; contains antioxidant properties.
Calories: 15 per tsp
Contains inulin; a beneficial prebiotic fiber; has a lower glycemic index (35) compared with sugar (58).
Calories: 10 per tsp.