Sweeten Up With 5 Natural Sugar Alternatives


Agave Nectar

One Tablespoon = 60 calories

Agave comes from the agave plant and is similar to honey in taste and texture, but is lower on the glycemic index because it’s mostly fructose. Best for adding a touch of sweetness on top of sliced fruits, pancakes and oatmeal.

Coconut Sugar

One Tablespoon = 18 calories

Like raw honey, coconut sweeteners contain a variety of minerals and antioxidants, plus inulin—a fiber that slows blood glucose absorption and promotes friendly bacteria in the digestive tract. It has a nutty, slightly caramel flavor, but does not taste like coconut. Best for substituting in recipes that call for granulated sugars.


One Tablespoon = 64 calories

Raw honey is the sticky stuff that is considered, by some, to be a superfood, as it contains antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids and other nutrients. Raw honey has the same sweetness as granulated sugar and is an acceptable substitute for table sugar. Best for providing a sweet delicate flavor to baked goods, jams and marinades.


One cup = 0 calories

Calorie free, stevia comes from the stevia plant and is completely natural. More than 200 times sweeter than sugar, stevia does not raise blood sugar levels and is popular among diabetics and dieters. Best for baked goods and sweetening up a cup of coffee or a cold drink.

Turbinado Sugar

One Tablespoon = 45 calories

Turbinado is a sugar cane-based, minimally refined sugar. Blond in color, the course crystals have a delicate molasses aroma and flavor. It’s best for topping cookies and breads with a sugary crackle.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting sweeteners to no more than six teaspoons for women and nine teaspoons for men per day, on average.