Find out how your favorite sweetener ranks on the GI:
This calorie-free sweetener is produced from the South American Stevia plant itself. A little goes a long way with this sweetener, as it is much more potent than regular table sugar. Making sure you are using 100% organic Stevia is important, as many brands are mixing this sweetener with other harmful chemicals and ingredients. Pure Stevia is carb and calorie free, giving it a GI of 0!
Pure honey is about 38% fructose and 31% glucose, but comes with a load of health benefits. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties are a super plus, but its enzymes, proteins and flavonoids are what truly make this sweetener sweet for your health! On the GI ranking honey is pretty high and relatively similar to white sugar. The main difference to keep in mind are the other health benefits that honey has to offer to offset its unfavorable GI level.
Ranking high on the GI scale, all natural maple syrup comes straight from the sap of a maple tree. And though it might not be GI favorable, it is low in fructose and offers other benefits such as manganese, iron and calcium. Similarly to honey, this sweetener is a good option in the appropriate portions.
This sweetener, often confused with Stevia, is made from erythritol. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol made from corn. On the positive side it is low in calories, but on the negative your gut bacteria absorbs this sweetener in entirety. Sugar alcohols ferment in your stomach and therefore oftentimes result in diarrhea, cramps, bloating and gas.
A trending sugar alternative, coconut sugar is full of potassium, magnesium and vitamin C. It also comes in low on the GI scale. This type of sugar does particularly well when used in baking.
White Sugar (sucrose)
This type of sugar is also referred to as sucrose. It is made up of fructose and glucose and ranks very high on the GI scale.
This is also a sucrose sugar, but gets its brown color from it being combined with molasses. There truly are no health advantages with this sugar.
Coconut nectar is the sap from a coconut tree and it’s rich in B vitamins, vitamin C and minerals like potassium. It also includes FOS, a probiotic that feeds healthy bacteria in the gut (major bonus!). It’s a great sweetener, but because of its strong flavor and viscosity, it doesn’t swap into recipes in exact cup for cup quantities. So be aware of this if you’re using coconut nectar for baking.
Agave nectar is often heralded as low on the glycemic index (15), however, processing techniques result in a 75% or more fructose content. This means, it’s still going to do a pretty good job at spiking your blood sugar (not ideal).
Splenda (or sucralose) starts off as sugar, but in the factory, chlorine molecules are added to the sugar molecule to make sucralose. Because of this chemical modification, the body does not metabolize or digest it properly. It has been linked to an increased risk for cancer (but claims are controversial).