Is date juice healthy

10 sugar alternatives: which sweetness is the best?

Table of Contents

  1. honey
  2. Agave syrup
  3. Maple syrup
  4. Apple syrup
  5. Birch sugar
  6. Date syrup
  7. Coconut blossom sugar
  8. Rice syrup
  9. Stevia
  10. What is erythritol actually?
  11. Knowledge to take away

The following article is from the third 2018 edition of our magazine. Here we have a small excerpt for you that we would not like to withhold from you. Would you like to be informed even earlier in the future? Then we recommend that you subscribe to our EatSmarter! Magazine.


One of the few natural (!) Sugar alternatives that can be bought regionally. Whether acacia, dandelion or forest honey - the sweet nectar scores with vitamins, minerals, trace elements and amino acids. And also has an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect. Small downer: the high sugar content of 80 percent. Just like table sugar, it can damage teeth, the intestines and the pancreas. So dose in moderation.

  • taste: The variety decides: from mild and sweet to malty and spicy
  • Sweetness: About 80% of sugar
  • Suitable for: Tea, yoghurt and the classic "hot milk"
  • Not suitable for: Vegans, infants and for cooking as the ingredients are so lost
  • Energy: 306 kcal / 100 g

Expert judgment:honey is a natural product with no added sugar. As a result, it is recommended in moderation as a sweetener! "

Agave syrup

As the name suggests, this sugar alternative is obtained from the Mexican agave plant. The structure of the juice is similar to honey, but it is less viscous, very mild and can be used almost everywhere in the kitchen. Unfortunately, it has an extremely high sugar content, which is mainly composed of fructose. The possible consequences of increased consumption: flatulence and diarrhea.

  • Taste: Fine and tasteless sweetness
  • Sweetness:100 g of syrup correspond to about 125 - 150 g of sugar
  • Suitable for:The sweet refinement of almost all dishes
  • Not suitable for: People who suffer from fructose intolerance
  • Energy: 300 kcal / 100 g

Expert judgment:"Due to the high fructose content and the possible negative consequences, I, as an expert, have to clearly advise against the syrup."

Maple syrup

The “liquid gold from Canada” is the thickened sap from the sugar maple. By the way, one liter of syrup requires around 40 liters of tree sap! Although it is almost 70 percent sugar concentrate, it has minerals such as potassium, iron and magnesium in contrast to conventional household sugar. In addition, the fructose content is relatively low. Tip: the brighter the Maple syrup is, the higher quality it is.

  • Taste: Delicately spicy caramel note
  • Sweetness: For 100 g of sugar you need 130 g of maple syrup
  • Suitable for: Cakes and pastries. Not suitable for unflavoured sweetening
  • Energy: 274 kcal / 100 g

Expert judgment:"Like honey, a natural alternative to sugar and therefore to be advocated."

Apple syrup

Basically, apple syrup is nothing more than very highly concentrated, concentrated apple juice. The term initially suggests healthy sweetness. But just like the syrup made from agave, the juice made from apples actually contains nothing but fructose. And this should be consumed with caution in compressed form.

  • Taste:Intense apple aroma
  • Sweetness: Is a little less than sugar
  • Suitable for: Compotes and salad dressings
  • Not suitable for: Fructose refusers
  • Energy: 309 kcal / 100 g

Expert judgment:"The same applies here as with agave syrup: too much fructose."

Birch sugar

... is a white, crystalline carbohydrate that was actually made from the bark of the birch in the past. Today the alternative to sugar, also known as xylitol or xylitol, is obtained mostly from straw, grain bran and corn cobs. Advantage: it has 40 percent fewer calories than refined sugar. And prevents tooth decay, which is why it is often used in the manufacture of chewing gum and toothpaste.

Disadvantage: If consumed too much, xylitol is said to have a laxative effect.

  • Taste: Much like sugar
  • Sweetness: 1: 1 like table sugar
  • Suitable for: diabetic
  • Not suitable for: Yeast pastries; the sweetener is not compatible with yeasts
  • Energy: 240 kcal / 100 g

Expert judgment:“Xylitol has a similar taste and almost the same sweetness as sucrose. In addition, various clinical studies have shown it to have an anti-caries effect. However, the sweetener can also cause diarrhea as it is only slowly absorbed by the intestine. So the rule is: dose in moderation. "

Date syrup

Natural sweetness at it's best? In any case, there is really nothing else in here than the dried fruits of the date palm. For production, these are first pitted, soaked in water and boiled down. After that, they are filtered and concentrated until a dark syrup is formed. The fructose content is just as high as that in table sugar; The syrup also contains the minerals magnesium, potassium, iron and folic acid as well as vitamins A and D. tip: Can also be made by yourself!

  • Taste: Fruity and slightly sour, reminiscent of molasses
  • Sweetness: Slightly sweeter than conventional sugar
  • Suitable for: Smoothies, shakes and fruit confectionery
  • Not suitable for: Colorless sweetness
  • Energy: 289 kcal / 100 g

Expert judgment:“A natural syrup made from dried Dates with a balanced ratio of glucose and fructose. "

Coconut blossom sugar

Currently THE trend sweet among nutrition-conscious foodies. Why? The crystallized sap from coconut palms contains iron, magnesium and zinc, little fructose and - due to the low glycemic index - hardly causes the blood sugar level to rise. Nevertheless, the sugar alternative has just as many calories as "normal" sugar, but costs more than 20 times as much. And because it is planted and harvested in Southeast Asia, it is flown halfway around the world for domestic consumption.

  • Taste: Doesn't (!) Taste like coconut but rather strong, caramel-like
  • Sweetness: 1: 1 like brown sugar
  • Suitable for: Sweet baked goods
  • Not suitable for: The good, ecological footprint
  • Energy: 376 kcal / 100 g

Expert judgment: “Unfortunately there are hardly any studies on the health risks of coconut blossom sugar; So (so far) it cannot be classified as a recommendable sweetener. "

Rice syrup

It is no coincidence that the syrup, which is made from rice flour and water, is also called vegan “rice honey”: the golden color and delicate consistency are very reminiscent of bee nectar. In terms of taste, however, the sugar alternative differs in that it has a milder, caramel-like aroma and less sweetness. Firmly integrated into Asian cuisine, the subtle sweetness, which is very low in fructose, goes well with numerous foods. A clear plus point: The consumption is suitable for people with various food intolerances.

  • Taste: Malty and nutty
  • Sweetness: 1/3 less than table sugar
  • Suitable for: Muesli and yoghurt and for fructose intolerance
  • Not suitable for: diabetic
  • Energy: 310 kcal / 100 g

Expert judgment: "Rice syrup has almost no fructose and is therefore very useful as a sweetener, especially for people with a fructose intolerance."


This sugar substitute comes from the leaves of the plant of the same name Stevia rebaudiana. However, it is not a real natural product, as the sweetness of the herb, which is also widespread in this country as honey or sweet herb, is mostly isolated and obtained through complex chemical processes. Due to its high sweetness it is difficult to integrate into conventional recipes; the recommended daily amount of 10 mg / kg body weight should also not be exceeded. But: Stevia has no effect on our blood sugar levels and is calorie-free.

  • Taste: Sometimes a bitter aftertaste
  • Sweetness: Up to 300 times stronger than refined sugar
  • Suitable for: Calorie-conscious and willing to lose weight
  • Not suitable for: Baked goods, as the structure is missing
  • Energy: 0 kcal / 100 g

Expert judgment: “There are studies that have shown low toxicity. Since the state of affairs is controversial in science, it is best to consume only in small quantities. "


Yacon powder and syrup are produced from the juicy, sweet root tubers that grow in the Peruvian Andes. Still an insider tip in this country and almost only available online, the tuber sweetness convinces as a low-glycemic sweetener with a low calorie content. And because of their high content of fructo-oligosaccharides, which feed the good bacteria in the intestine and only slowly transport the sweetness into the blood.

  • Taste: Malty and slightly fruity
  • Sweetness: 50% less sweetness than sugar
  • Suitable for: Dressings, quark or ice cream Not suitable for penny foxes. One kilo costs around 40 euros energy 197 kcal / 100 g

Expert judgment: “In Germany, this sugar alternative is not yet widespread and little researched. Therefore I abstain at this point. "

What is erythritol actually?

Just like xylitol, erythritol, obtained through chemical catalysis or fermentation by mushrooms, is a sugar alcohol. The difference: it only has a sweetness of 70 percent, but is virtually calorie-free and has no effect on blood sugar or insulin levels.

Knowledge to take away

There are many alternatives to swap out sugar. Which is the right one for you is always decided by your personal taste and the intended use. For example, coconut blossom sugar is quite expensive, whereas stevia is not suitable for baking.

Nevertheless, experts agree that you are making a good choice with natural sugar alternatives such as honey or maple syrup: Both are natural products without chemicals that contain valuable nutrients and can be easily metabolized by our body - in well-dosed form.

Prof. Dr. Susanna Hofmann: Nobody can fool you when it comes to sugar: the professor heads the “Women and Diabets” department at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and here reveals her expert judgment.