Recommended Sweeteners

Article published at: Oct 26, 2023
Recommended Sweeteners
All Blog

Mar 11

There has been a lot of talk about sweetening agents lately. Sugar is everywhere, well hidden by the food industry. Therefore, it is necessary to understand what happens with the sweet taste that gives us pleasure, but unfortunately, many times leads us mathematically to diseases that can seriously threaten our health. I would like to emphasize that the mentioned sweetening agents are being examined here for their toxicity, whether they are natural or not, and for how high blood sugar peaks they may cause. These peaks, or in other words, abnormal fluctuations in our blood sugar levels, are the cause of unpleasant conditions and many diseases.



the Sugar of the Future

The leaves of Stevia
are very sweet & calorie-free
and do not raise blood sugar levels.

It is a plant from the chrysanthemum family primarily cultivated in Brazil and Paraguay. Its leaves, when chewed, have a very sweet taste with a hint of licorice. The plant yields an extract that is 300 times sweeter than sugar.

Inhabitants of the Southern Hemisphere have been using it for hundreds of years as a sweetener, food, and medicine due to its remarkable antidiabetic, antihypertensive, antiseptic, wound-healing, antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It boosts the body's defenses and protects against viruses, viral cancers, DNA damage, and other health issues.

In the "civilized world," ten countries, including Japan, where it was first introduced as a sweetener in Coca-Cola, have been using Stevia for some time. However, in the United States, it is only accepted as a dietary supplement and not as an ingredient in foods and beverages. In Europe, after a challenging journey (for what reason?), Stevia is now approved and even cultivated in our country.

The accepted daily dose is 4 mg/kg of body weight, although larger quantities are also acceptable due to a significant safety margin. This limit applies to adults and children (excluding infants) and is equivalent to a Stevia extract consumption of 12 mg per kilogram of body weight. Thus, a person weighing 70 kilograms can consume 840 mg per day.

Additionally, Stevia has anti-aging effects on the skin, promotes oral hygiene, protects against Candida and canker sores, gum inflammation, and has a preventive effect against plaque and tooth decay. It can be used in sweets, chewing gum, toothpaste, beverages, chocolates, cosmetics, shampoos, and even pet food. It does not cause any blood sugar spikes.

In an experiment conducted in 2019 at the IN VITRO Medical Laboratories of Biopathology in Anavyssos, Attica, we examined glucose levels after consuming 75 grams of chocolate sweetened exclusively with Stevia, involving 12 volunteers, including myself and my colleagues at the laboratory. None of the 12 experienced blood sugar levels exceeding 113 mg/dl in the first 60 minutes (peak value), and by 90 minutes, blood glucose levels had already fallen to fasting levels. Impressive. Stevia does not cause blood sugar peaks.

Despite vehement reactions against Stevia from various sugar industry multinationals and other sweeteners, which have been proven to be carcinogenic substances, the international scientific community regards Stevia as the sugar of the future. After its approval as a sweetener by the EU, Stevia is now used in various foods and beverages, including chocolates, and it can withstand temperatures up to 200 degrees Celsius, making it suitable for cooking, unlike aspartame, which breaks down at just 30 degrees."

Sugar Unprocessed from Sugar Cane

of dark brown color, it is slightly moist, has a non-crystalline texture, and has an aroma reminiscent of liquorice.

Beware of the imitation sugar found in various cafes or even in supermarkets, which is actually sugar dyed with molasses or other coloring agents. You can find it in stores with organic products, and besides its dark brown color, it is slightly moist, has a non-crystalline texture, and an aroma reminiscent of licorice. Among the various types available in the market, the best brands are Mascobado, Panela, and Demerara. It's important to note, however, that this is still sucrose, like the sugar in our kitchen, but it has undergone less processing. Nevertheless, it still consists of one molecule of glucose and one of fructose, which requires caution regarding the peaks of these two substances. It's good to prefer it over white sugar but always in small quantities.


Thick and clear like honey, with a flavor that varies depending on the type (rice maltose, barley maltose, or other cereals) and often resembles the taste of caramel. Corn maltose is sweeter. Maltose is more natural than sugar, but it also has a high glycemic index. Maltose is also a disaccharide, composed of 2 glucose molecules linked together. This, in a considerable amount, will give us a blood sugar peak.

Agave Nectar

Found in the thick leaves of the Mexican agave cactus. It contains 95% fructose and has a very low glycemic index (20-25). Its taste is quite neutral, and it is slightly less sweet than maltose and sycamore syrup. It is suitable as a sweetener for beverages and sweets. The fact that it is almost entirely fructose makes it a sweetener to avoid because, as we have mentioned, fructose not only leads to high blood sugar peaks but also cannot be stored and is mostly converted into fat.

Sycamore Syrup

This is a product made from processing the juice of the Canadian sycamore tree. It contains minimal sucrose and has fewer calories than sugar (40 calories per tablespoon). Additionally, it contains trace elements such as copper, manganese, iron, and calcium. You can find it in stores specializing in organic products. It contains 68% sugar, so it should be used sparingly.


Honey is actually an animal product, so it cannot be included in a vegan diet. Bees, after collecting nectar from flowers and processing it with their saliva in their intestines, excrete it as honey. In nature, honey exists to nourish the queen bee and meet the needs of the hive. It contains fructose, maltose, glucose, vitamins, and trace elements, but as a food, it retains its nutritional value only when it is raw and minimally processed. Most commercially available honey is heated during processing, causing the sugars it contains to break down, enzymes with bacteriostatic properties to be destroyed, and its flavor to be altered. These are factors that should be taken into serious consideration. However, I've been informed by beekeepers that honey processing now follows the necessary standards. We consume it in moderation because it also contains fructose, glucose, and maltose, but it's preferred over sugar. Be cautious in supermarkets where honey is often adulterated with added sugar. Do not consume large quantities.


Fructose is the primary sugar (but not the only one) found in fruits and honey. It is best obtained through natural sources like fruits and vegetables. The fructose sold in white crystalline form, similar to sugar, is a product devoid of other substances such as water, vitamins, and minerals, and therefore lacks nutritional value. However, fructose, compared to sucrose, has the advantage of having a very low glycemic index. Nevertheless, overconsumption can disrupt our metabolism. It's essential to remember that fructose leads to a blood sugar peak 10 times higher than glucose and, since it cannot be stored as glycogen like glucose, is mostly converted into fat, making it advisable to avoid excessive consumption.

sweeteners to avoid


Aspartame is a sweetener created by Monsanto. It is a chemically synthesized sweetening agent (E951) that is 200 times sweeter than sugar.

Aspartame is a sweetener created by Monsanto. It is a chemically synthesized sweetening agent (E951) that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is used in dietary products such as soft drinks, candies, chewing gums, pharmaceutical syrups, and children's antibiotics. It can irritate the intestines, and its excessive use can lead to serious illnesses. (Soffriti, M., et al., "Aspartame induces lymphomas and leukemias in rats," European Journal of Oncology, vol. 10, no. 2, July 2005).

The B. Ramazzini Research Institute of the European Foundation of Oncology Research in Bologna conducted a study on rats with alarming results: "Aspartame is a carcinogenic agent capable of causing lymphomas and leukemias in female rats at doses acceptable in human diets. The data also revealed that there was no weight loss in the groups using aspartame compared to those that did not."

Aspartame, at a temperature of 30°C, produces 10% methanol, a toxic alcohol (common in "bombs" cocktails), which is then metabolized in the intestine into formaldehyde, a toxic and dangerous substance used in the paint industry, embalming techniques, and furniture manufacturing. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified formaldehyde with certainty as a substance that causes cancer in humans. It also causes severe damage to brain cells, with the risk of blindness.


Acesulfame Potassium is a chemical sweetening substance (E950). It is a potassium salt with a powerful sweetening effect that remains unchanged for many years (and that is certainly not a good thing). According to research on animals and human volunteers, acesulfame potassium undergoes no metabolism in the body, meaning it is not used by the organism and is excreted unchanged in urine. It is used as a sweetener in dietary products, especially for diabetics, soft drinks, and pharmaceuticals. Despite the fact that various organizations, such as the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Scientific Committee of the European Union (which unfortunately often succumbs to political influences), do not classify acesulfame potassium as toxic, this should not necessarily be reassuring. This substance is a chemically synthesized product unknown to our metabolic systems and immune systems. The side effects of this substance have not yet been recorded, but inevitably, they will be documented at some point. Until then, caution is advised.

Other sweetening substances that are not metabolized in our bodies include sucralose and cyclamic acid. The latter has not been approved by the FDA. Beware, as there are many soft drinks (all "light" and "zero" varieties) that contain such substances. It is best to avoid them.


Saccharin was discovered in 1879 by two researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA. It is the first artificial sweetening substance, 300 times sweeter than sugar, with a bitter and metallic aftertaste, which is mitigated by mixing it with aspartame. Saccharin is heat-resistant and inert. Already in the 1960s, after research studies, it was characterized as a carcinogen, and in 1977, its sale was prohibited in Canada. Despite contradictions regarding its side effects, it was the only available sweetening substance for diabetics, who protested strongly against its possible prohibition in the United States, ultimately prevailing over scientific research. Saccharin does not alter insulin levels and provides no energy to our bodies, but a diabetic who wants to "sweeten" things should not necessarily risk cancer!

In the VegAnic system, all sweetening substances are to be avoided. As we have seen, there are many alternative options to avoid white sugar and chemical sweeteners.


Sucralose is produced by chlorinating sugar, meaning it is a chlorocarbon. Note that chlorocarbons are mainly used as pesticides in chlorine, in many disinfectants, insecticides, and in pesticides suspected of being carcinogenic. Despite publications from international scientific institutes characterizing sucralose as a toxic sweetening substance, both the FDA (USA) and the EFSA (EU) have classified sucralose as a "safe" sweetening substance. What do you say? Sucralose reduces our intestinal flora by about 50%, as well as P-glycoprotein (P-gp), which reduces the bioavailability and thus the action of almost all the medicines we use to improve our health. It is used in soft drinks, sweets, and chewing gum, and is the sweetening substance in Diet Pepsi Cola.


Mannitol, Xylitol, and Sorbitol, contrary to what one might think considering their names, are natural substances found in fruits and the plant world. Note that they are extracted through chemical processes, but at least their molecule is recognizable by our bodies. So, we cannot compare them to aspartame and its ilk, which are definitely to be avoided!

Gerassimos Tsiolis, PhD in Biochemistry
University of Bologna, Italy