Coffee Facts

Coffee Sweeteners: 9 Healthy Alternatives to White Sugar

Get Coffee Be Happy!

I think you can agree with me:

Those who enjoy Black Coffee can confirm, without malice, that they will never come back.

Of course, the aroma of a flavored espresso is not corrupted by sweet-smelling flavors, but if you can’t give up coffee sweeteners, we found 9 healthy alternatives to white sugar.

It is well known that refined white sugar is not one of the healthiest ingredients to take on a daily basis. Some articles even claim that sucrose reduces the countless beneficial effects of coffee.

To fully enjoy an espresso cup it is good practice to reduce the addition of sugar. The most drastic and definitive solution would be to drink bitter coffee.

For those who do not want to give up a sweet taste even in the enjoyment of good coffee, alternatives to white sugar are certainly not lacking.

So, here’s what we found. Ready? GO!

1. Stevia

steviaStevia is a natural sweetener used by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay and Brazil, where it is also known as “sugared grass”.

This sweetener has zero calories, a zero glycemic effect and it is up to 300 times sweeter than sucrose.

The sweetening power of stevia is the merit of rebaudioside A, the active ingredient contained in the leaves.

The tablets, the liquid, and the powder extract are commercially available. You can use it to sweeten coffee, tea, yogurt, puddings, etc.

Also, stevia has a natural flavor that resembles licorice.

If you use it in small doses, stevia has no specific contraindications. However, some research has found that exaggerated consumption can cause excessive blood pressure and blood glucose.

2. Raw Brown Sugar

raw brown sugarRaw brown sugar comes from sugar cane, a tropical plant with very sweet and juicy marrow: 14% of its stem is thought to be sugary substances.

It is a plant mainly cultivated in central and southern America, but also in islands such as Mauritius and Barbados.

For this reason, raw brown sugar is often found in fair trade products and, compared to traditional sugar, it has a slightly higher cost.

Its color is dark, the grains are small and irregular, with a soft consistency and a particular and intense smell.

Compared to traditional sugar, raw brown sugar:

  • contains a lower percentage of sucrose (10-15% less)
  • is richer in mineral salts (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, fluorine, magnesium)
  • is richer in vitamins (A, B1, B2, B6, And C).

The caloric power is lower: 100 grams of raw brown sugar make 356kcal against the 392kcal of traditional white sugar.

You can use it to sweeten coffee or tea, and it pairs well with fruit and cakes. It is suitable for those who love strong scents and flavors.

3. Honey

honeyHoney is one of the best natural sweeteners.

Bees produce it from the nectar of flowers and honeycomb. They use it as nourishment, so vegans don’t eat it, finding an ethically negative deprivation of their main nutritional substance.

Honey consists mainly of simple sugars (fructose and glucose are on average 70% -80%, but you get to 100% in some kinds of honey). It also contains substances such as organic acids and mineral salts. However, it lacks proteins.

Here’s a breakdown of honey composition:

  • fructose: sugar metabolized by the liver to create an energy reserve to consume more slowly.
  • glucose: an energy source for immediate use
  • organic acids: in particular formic acid with bactericidal action and germicides to antibiotic action, then also aspartic acid and glutamic acid, alanine, arginine, glycine, phenylalanine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, proline, methionine, serine, tryptophan, valine.
  • mineral salts: copper, iron, iodine, manganese, silicon, and chrome, especially in darker honey.
  • vitamins: vitamin B and vitamin A, E, K, C.
  • enzymes: polyphenols, particularly diastase, responsible for aroma. Unfortunately, it degrades with time and temperature changes.

It has high nutritional value (100 gr equals 320 kCal), a strong sweetener power, and it is easily digestible. This is why it is recommended for sportsmen, students, children and the elderly.

In addition to its sweetening properties, Honey is a real food. If you buy it directly by the beekeeper you’ll have the safety of using a totally natural product.

The only “negative” note is its strong aroma. Not everyone can like the flavor of honey in coffee.

I recommend “acacia honey”, which is more neutral and delicate than other varieties. For the most curious palates, a teaspoon of “chestnut honey” in your coffee can be a pleasant discovery.

4. Maple Syrup

maple syrupMaple syrup is a natural sweetener used in North America.

It is a sweet liquid that comes from the lymph of two maple varieties: Acer saccharum (sugar maple) and Acer saccharum nigrum (black maple).

Maple syrup is rich in properties and beneficial substances for our body. It has a lot of mineral salts such as potassium, calcium, and iron, but also vitamins and malic acid.

It helps the digestive and intestinal system and has few calories. Marple Syrup is a natural product also appreciated for its average glycemic index, which is lower than other sweeteners.

Maple syrup is an excellent substitute for sugar and other sweeteners. It can be used as a coffee sweetener, or to sweeten cold or hot drinks, cakes, biscuits, smoothies, and spoon cakes.

5. Molasses

molassesMolasses appear as a dense, viscous liquid of dark or black golden color, obtained by a sugar processing process. Sugar is separated by centrifugation to obtain this beneficial natural sweetener.

Along with honey, maple syrup, and stevia, Molasses is a good alternative to white sugar. The caloric intake is lower than that of sugar by about 30-40%: in fact, 100 grams provide about 290 kcal.

Molasses are also known for its remineralizing properties. 100 grams of product yields over 79% iron (11 mg).

Molasses is also a source of potassium (1.500 mg), calcium (500 mg) and magnesium (90 mg). On the other hand, the amount of phosphorus (30 mg) and copper (1.93 mg) is discrete.

Molasses is a vitamin mine: it is rich in vitamin B, vitamin PP (niacin or B3: 4 mg), pantothenic acid (B5: 260 mg), and inositol (B7: 150 mg).

6. Amasake

amasakeAmasake comes from Japan and is a natural sweetener that is obtained from grain fermentation: rice, oats, and millet.

This fermentation is the work of a microorganism, the koji mushroom, which rips the starch of simpler sugars. These are the benefits of the amasake:

  • has few calories, about a third of the sucrose;
  • is rich in fiber and nutrients;
  • the body absorbs amasake very slowly, so it does not cause glycemic spikes.

It looks like a pasta more or less dense with sweet taste: it is ideal for preparing puddles and desserts, but can also be eaten as it is.

You can buy Amasake online or in specialized stores, but it is not difficult to prepare it at home.

How to prepare Amasake at home

  • Boil 500 g of whole rice (or millet or oats).
  • Let it cool in a glass container and add 250 g of mushroom (you buy it in some specialist stores or on the internet).
  • Leave for 24 hours in the sun or near a heater: the ideal temperature is about 25 °C (if it is lower the fermentation times become longer).
  • The amasake is ready when it emits a sweet smell and is free from granules.
  • Then add one liter of water and let boil for at least half an hour, stirring often.

You can store it in a refrigerator in a hermetically sealed container for no more than two weeks.

7. Erythritol


Erythritol is a polyol, a complex carbohydrate of vegetable origin that is extracted from fermented fruit (especially pears and melons). The label of food is identified by the symbol E968.

Only recently, this substance has been marketed as a natural sweetener: you can find it pure or in combination with fructose.

Although taste and appearance are like those of white sugar, erythritol has, in fact, several advantages over sugar and synthetic sweeteners:

  • glycemic index equal to zero
  • zero calories
  • good sweetening power (80% of sucrose),
  • no aftertaste.

It also does not cause dental caries and is easily absorbed by the intestine.

Despite this last point, if consumed in excess – like all polyols – it may have laxative effects: it is thus advised not to consume more than 30 g per day.

8. Mesquite Powder

mesquite powderMesquite powder is the flour derived from the bean tree, also known as American carob. It has a naturally sweet taste (like molasses, with a hazelnut and caramel aftertaste), a low glycemic index and it is rich in nutrients.

The plant grows in arid areas in the southwest of the United States and in the north of Mexico. Mesquite powder has always been used by Native American populations and today, although not yet widespread, is found in some specialist and online stores.

Mesquite flour contains fructose and soluble fiber (but also proteins, lysine, calcium, magnesium, and zinc): a combination that allows slow absorption, including other sugars and nutrients, without glycemic peaks.

You can use it in doughs as an alternative to refined flour, so avoid or reduce the use of further sweeteners.

You can also use it to prepare a great breakfast or snack drink: just add 4 teaspoons of mesquite powder to a cup of soy milk, mix and heat in microwave for 30 seconds.

9. Coconut Sugar

coconut sugarCoconut Sugar is a natural sweetener that is derived from the lime of coconut flowers grown on the island of Bali. It does not taste the nut, but rather that of cane sugar.

Coconut Sugar is distinguished by the usual white kitchen sugar for three basic characteristics:

  1. It is brown in color because the nectar is first boiled and then left to dry to obtain crystallization.
  2. It is a source of mineral salts, including potassium, zinc and iron, vitamins, especially those of group B, proteins, many soluble and inulin fibers.
  3. Has a low glycemic index (35). Having, among other things, an intense sweetening power, you can use less of it.

Coconut Sugar is also marketed under the name gulamerah, as it is called in Bali.

You can replace white sugar with coconut sugar in almost any context and recipe.

Be careful, though, and don’t exceed!

It is still sugar, although richer in nutrition and low IG!

Coffee Sweeteners: Over to you!

Do you still use white sugar?

If so, are you planning to replace it? If not, what are your favorite coffee sweeteners?

Let me know in the comments!

Oh, almost forgot:

If you want to try new ways to flavor your coffee, I wrote the perfect guide for you: 18 Ways to Add Extra Flavor to your Coffee

If you found this guide helpful, please take a few secs to rate it!

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Coffee Sweeteners: 9 Healthy Alternatives to White Sugar
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Coffee Sweeteners: 9 Healthy Alternatives to White Sugar
When it comes to Coffee Sweeteners, you should totally avoid White Sugar. If you don't want to drink it black, then try these 9 Healthy Alternatives!
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Get Coffee, Be Happy!
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