How To Choose Sugar Substitute for Coffee – 7 Healthy Options

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sugar alternatives for coffee

Are you looking to cut back on your sugar intake or leave it out of your diet entirely? It is certainly not a terrible idea. Sugar is not the only option to make your coffee sweet. You can use one of the listed sugar substitute for coffee to add a bit of sweetness to your coffee while also staying healthy.

There are lots of alternatives out there that can act as a great natural sugar substitute for coffee. Best of all, these options do not include artificial sweeteners and are healthy, so you will not just be replacing one unhealthy ingredient with another.

We are going to show you 7 healthy natural sweetener options to sweeten your coffee and give you all the information you need to choose the sugar substitute for coffee that is best for you.

Want to potentially make your coffee even healthier? Check out our list of the best vegan coffee creamers and the best low acid coffee brands and beans.

1. Agave Nectar

Agave nectar sugar subsitute for coffee

What Is It?

Agave nectar is typically extracted right from the leaves of either the blue agave or century plant. You can commonly find it in the form of agave syrup. Interestingly, the same types of plants are also used in making tequila.

How Is It Healthy?

Agave nectar has a very low glycemic index (GI), which means it can help keep your blood sugar levels in check. Foods that have a higher GI have been linked to spikes in blood sugar, which can be especially detrimental to diabetics. Thus, Agave nectar is a great sugar substitute for coffee.

How Many Calories Does It Have?

About 17 calories per teaspoon.

What Does It Taste Like?

It is like a neutral-tasting honey, but you may catch some vanilla, nut, and caramel flavor.

2. Honey

What Is It?

Made by honeybees, it is a thick, sweet syrup that is collected from their beehives. Unless you are getting raw honey though, be careful – sometimes regular sugar or corn syrup is added to cut costs. Check the ingredient list before you buy!

How Is It Healthy?

While raw honey is supposed to be the healthiest, you can also get some of the benefits from the pasteurized variety. Honey contains a lot of antioxidants, which can reduce your risk of stroke, certain cancers, and cardiovascular conditions like coronary heart disease.

How Many Calories Does It Have?

About 21 per teaspoon.

What Does It Taste Like?

If it has a lot of added sugar or corn syrup, then it will mostly just taste really sweet. If it’s pure honey you may taste spices, floral, fruit, or nut flavors, as the taste can vary depending on the flowers and locations frequented by the bees.

3. Coconut Sugar

What Is It?

Coconut sugar is made from the sap of coconut palm tree flowers, making it another vegan-friendly sugar alternative for coffee.

How Is It Healthy?

Coconut sugar contains minerals such as calcium, potassium, zinc, and iron. It also has polyphenols and antioxidants, as well as a fiber called inulin. Inulin may help your body slow down its ability to absorb glucose. Thus, coconut sugar can also be a great sugar substitute for coffee.

How Many Calories Does It Have?

About 15 calories per teaspoon.

What Does It Taste Like?

It has a light caramel flavor, similar to brown sugar.

4. Cinnamon

What Is It?

Cinnamon is a spice produced from the inner bark of certain kinds of trees from the genus Cinnamomum.

How Is It Healthy?

Cinnamon has a lot of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, can reduce the risk of heart disease, and can increase insulin sensitivity. It has even been linked to improvements in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

How Many Calories Does It Have?

About 6 calories per teaspoon.

What Does It Taste Like?

Cinnamon generally has a strong, warm flavor. Yes, it tends to be more spicy than sweet, but it can be delicious in coffee AND has numerous health benefits, so it is certainly worth a try as a sugar substitute for coffee!

5. Maple Syrup

What Is It?

Maple syrup is produced from the sap of maple trees. After the sap has been collected, it gets boiled until all of the water is removed, leaving that characteristic thick syrup.

How Is It Healthy?

Pure maple syrup contains iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, and a lot of manganese. It is also another great source of antioxidants, with one study finding a total of 24 different ones!

Be careful when choosing your maple syrup. To reap the health benefits, you will want the real stuff and not the maple-flavored varieties, which are often full of corn syrup and refined sugar.

How Many Calories Does It Have?

About 17 per teaspoon.

What Does It Taste Like?

Maple syrup will of course have a maple taste, but some are stronger than others. In the US, you can get Grade A or Grade B syrup. Grade A syrup is then further divided into the categories of light amber, medium amber, and dark amber. Grade B will get you the darkest kind of syrup, and they tend to have the strongest maple flavor. You may also get hints of vanilla, nuts, and caramel.

6. Date Sugar/Paste/Syrup

Sweet dates on the sugar cubes
Photo by Shutterstock

What Is It?

All these forms of this natural sweetener are made from dates. The natural sugar is essentially made from dehydrating dates, and the syrup is made from boiling dates until the juice thickens up enough to create the syrup. The paste you can make at home by blending some pitted dates, water, and a hint of vanilla.

How Is It Healthy?

While you may lose some of the benefits through the production process of sugar and syrup, dates contain a lot of antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients. Try making the date paste to help retain some of these nutrients – make it thin if you want to try and get it to blend well with your coffee.

How Many Calories Does It Have?

For the sugar, about 15 calories per teaspoon. For the syrup, about 18 calories per teaspoon. The calories in the paste will depend a bit on how you put it together.

What Does It Taste Like?

It has hints of caramel and butterscotch.

7. Monk Fruit Extract

What Is It?

Monk fruit extract comes from the monk fruit, which is typically grown in Southeast Asia. The extract is collected from the juice of the fruit, which is then dehydrated until it is in a powdered form.

How Is It Healthy?

Monk fruit extract may have antioxidant, anti-diabetes, and anti-cancer properties, though more research is needed in these areas.

How Many Calories Does It Have?

It has zero calories, so it may be good for those trying to lose weight.

What Does It Taste Like?

It is about 100-250 times sweeter than sugar, and perhaps surprisingly doesn’t taste at all like fruit – it is simply sweet. The perfect natural sugar substitute for coffee for those who do not want any added flavor!

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