The Best Sugar Alternatives For Weight Loss, According To A Nutritionist

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Regular table sugar is not a great ingredient when you're looking to achieve a weight loss goal. Sugar spikes the storing hormone insulin which shuts off fat burning mechanisms in the body. Not to mention, half of table sugar is fructose and high intakes of fructose have been found to increase insulin resistance and turn on new fat creation (called de novo lipogenesis).(1)


And artificial sweeteners aren't much better. A 2017 meta analysis found "intake of nonnutritive sweeteners may be associated with increased BMI and cardiometabolic risk".(2)


But if you still enjoy a sweet treat on the occasion, there are still healthy (and natural) sugar alternatives that you can experiment with. Today, I'm sharing my top healthy sugar alternatives to help you achieve your weight loss and wellness goals.


Note: This list may be updated in the future with additional healthy sugar alternatives. Feel free to check back periodically for a more up-to-date list.


healthy sugar alternatives

Monk Fruit Sweetener

Monk fruit sweetener (or monk fruit extract) is a naturally zero calorie and zero carbohydrate sweetener derived from monk fruit that's estimated to be about 150-200 times sweeter than regular sugar. It has also been studied to have antioxidant and low glycemic properties.(3,4) Considering a low glycemic diet has been found to aid in weight loss, this is an important note.(5) Monk fruit sweetener has also been deemed safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding by the FDA.(6)


On top of the studied perks of monk fruit sweetener, it also tends to have a more mild flavor than other sweeteners. Some sweeteners, such as stevia, have been noted to have an odd aftertaste. This can come down to a personal choice, however I personally prefer the taste of monk fruit sweetener. In fact, this is why I chose monk fruit sweetener in my zero sugar protein powder.


Related: My Zero Added Sugar Vanilla Bean Protein Waffle Recipe


zero sugar protein waffle recipe

You can purchase monk fruit in liquid or powder form to use in coffee or desserts. However, make sure to always check the label! Food manufacturers often add sugar (or other forms of sugar) to monk fruit sweetened products, making it not a fully zero sugar food.


When purchasing monk fruit sweetener, it is most often found paired with erythritol. Erythritol is another healthy sugar alternative (more on that in a bit), BUT it can occasionally cause GI distress in those with gut health concerns.


If you're looking for a pure monk fruit extract, this brand on Amazon is a good option.


Otherwise, if you don't mind a bit of erythritol added to your monk fruit, I've personally tested this brand and have found it quite tasty.


Pssst - to help maximize for gut health, we only use monk fruit extract (zero stevia or sugar alcohols!) in our zero sugar protein powder.


autumn bates vanilla protein powder

Stevia

Stevia is another natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the stevia plant. Stevia tends to be much sweeter than monk fruit at about 200-300 times the sweetness of regular table sugar. The stevia that you see on the market is actually a glycoside called rebaudioside A (Reb A). True stevia hasn't been approved by the FDA, however the more isolated form of stevia (Reb A) has been approved. But for the sake of simplicity, we'll still refer to Reb A as stevia (because that's what you'll see on packaging while shopping for sugar alternatives).


Stevia doesn't contain any carbohydrates or calories and has been studied to not have any impact on blood glucose levels.(7) However, just like monk fruit, stevia is often "cut" with other sweeteners like dextrose, so it's important to always check the ingredients label for these sneaky sugars.


The one major con of stevia is that many people strongly dislike the taste. I ran a poll on my Instagram regarding stevia, and the majority of voters preferred the taste of monk fruit to stevia.


But some people love stevia, so it really comes down to a taste preference. I'm personally not the biggest fan, but below is the brand I typically recommend to my clients who do enjoy adding stevia to their meals.


If you're looking for a pure stevia extract (without other natural sugars added), THIS is a good powdered option.


If you like a liquid stevia that can easily be stirred into coffees, THIS is another good option.


Erythritol

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol typically derived from fruit. This means that it tastes sweet, but isn't broken down and absorbed in the same way as sugar. In fact, it's typically noted to taste very similar to regular sugar. This is often why stevia or monk fruit might be "cut" with erythritol in various food products. Erythritol has also been found to have zero impact on blood sugar and insulin levels.(8)


The one major caveat with erythritol is the possible digestive issues (bloating, diarrhea, etc.). In fact, it's not uncommon for someone to accidentally consume too much erythritol (or other sugar alcohols) and need to visit the restroom very soon after. This is why I personally don't usually opt for sugar alcohols in my food (or protein powder). However, erythritol is less likely to cause digestive issues than other sugar alcohols (like xylitol).(9) So if you do choose to use a sugar alcohol, erythritol might be your best bet.


I personally don't use pure erythritol, however if you do choose to experiment with it, THIS is a good brand.




Head over HERE to grab Autumn's Zero Sugar Protein Powder today!!


autumns protein powder


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