Top 10 Refined Sugar Alternatives

Save yourself from the risks of using refined sugar with ten of the best-refined sugar alternatives!

Nowadays, many foods and drinks use refined sugar. You may have used it to sweeten your recipes or consumed it through processed products. 

It can make your dishes tastier but also put your health at risk. But don’t worry—you can try many refined sugar alternatives to sweeten your recipes and protect your health.

top 10 refined sugar alternatives
Instead of sugar, use refined sugar alternatives to sweeten your recipes while giving important health benefits.

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Let me share with you the top substitutes for refined sugar. These will not only add flavor to your recipes but also keep you satisfied and nourished! 

What is refined sugar?

Refined sugar is a type of sugar that’s made from plant sources like cane or beets. The plants are cooked to get the sugary juices. Then, the juices will be processed until the contents crystalize. 

Even if refined sugar comes from natural plants, the refinement process causes it to lose nutrients. In short, refined sugar has high calories but low nutritional value. 

It is also likely that refined sugar will cause spikes in your blood sugar levels. Too much sugar can lead to serious health conditions like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. 

Here are common foods and drinks that have refined sugar:

Food/DrinkAmount of Sugar (in tsp)
Coca-Cola10 teaspoons
Fruit juices5 to 12 teaspoons
Ketchup6 teaspoons
Dressings12 teaspoons
Energy drink10 teaspoons
Chocolate10 teaspoons
Ice cream5 teaspoons
Pre-made soup5 teaspoons
Commercial candies (100 g)19 teaspoons
Processed cereal bars (100 g)8 teaspoons

Do you regularly eat or drink products that have refined sugar in them? It’s a good thing that there are refined sugar alternatives you can try!

Why is too much refined sugar bad for you?

Like any other product, too much sugar can harm your health. These are some of the consequences that you may experience when you consume too much sugar:

  • Lack of energy
  • Acne
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Fatty liver
  • Risk of diabetes
  • Gout
  • Accelerated aging
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Dental problems
  • Cognitive decline

Remember that there is a limit whenever you want to eat or drink something with sugar. The American Heart Association suggests these limits on added-sugar intake:

Men9 teaspoons
Women6 teaspoons
Children< 6 teaspoons

It’s a good thing that there’s a way you can still get sweet satisfaction without refined sugar with the top ten refined sugar alternatives! 

Top 10 Refined Sugar Alternatives

What other products can you use as refined sugar alternatives?


Have you used stevia before? It’s one of the most popular sugar substitutes. Stevia is extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant, which is known to be a lot sweeter than table sugar. 

According to WebMD, stevia does not have carbohydrates or calories. Aside from its naturally sweet taste, stevia can have a bitter or menthol effect, especially with coffee. 

Stevia can help keep your blood pressure and blood sugar levels in check. It also has nutrients that can lower the bad cholesterol in your heart. You can manage your weight better it has little to no calories. 

I usually use stevia in drinks and cereal, especially for the kids. For a mild flavor, you can also try cooking with stevia. It will surely go well with coffee, juices, and smoothies

Apple sauce and fruit purees

apple sauce refined sugar alternative

Instead of using apple sauces or fruit purees for baby food, why not use them as sugar substitutes, too? Making these at home is easy, especially if you have a blender or food processor. 

Since fruits are already healthy, you can expect them to positively affect your meals and health. Fruit purees and sauces offer many health benefits. 

Apple sauce is great for your cholesterol and blood sugar. Its pectin content also helps with digestion and metabolism. On the other hand, fruit purees can boost your immunity, brain function, and energy. 

Healthline suggests using applesauce and banana puree for baking cakes, bread, and cookies. You can pair applesauce with other fruit purees like papaya, dates, and figs. 

Monk fruit sweetener

monk fruit sugar refined sugar alternative

Monk fruit may be small, but it has an incredible sweetness. It is also known as “swingle fruit” or lo han guo, a native fruit in Southern China. Like stevia, it has little to no calories. 

You might be surprised at how intense its sweet flavor can be. In fact, it is known to be up to 250 times sweeter than regular sugar. Monk fruit sweetener is also a sugar alternative affecting volume and texture. 

Medical News Today shared that monk fruit can promote weight loss and good blood sugar levels. It also has anti-inflammatory potential for better immunity and recovery. 

Toss your favorite fruits in fresh fruits to enrich their flavor. You can also use it to season your drinks, especially coffee and juices. Its stability at high temperatures makes it perfect for baking, too.


molasses refined sugar alternative

While molasses is produced during sugar-making, it is still a healthier option than sugar. Molasses is a thick syrup from sugarcane. It is made by boiling the juice until rich and brown. 

There are two types of molasses: light and dark. Light molasses has a mild flavor that works best for cookies, pies, and cakes. Meanwhile, dark molasses has a powerful flavor that tastes great with savory dishes. 

Greatist mentioned that molasses has iron, calcium, and copper to keep your bones strong. It also improves your heart function while controlling your blood sugar levels. 

You can use molasses as a sugar substitute in many ways. It will make your marinades taste so much better. I also suggest using it for pies and bread recipes for a moist texture and sweet flavor. 


Allulose refined sugar alternative

The only thing you’ll lose with allulose is the guilt associated with eating sweet food and drinks. Allulose is a sugar alternative made from maple syrup, figs, wheat, and raisins. 

It is low in calories, making it good for weight-loss meals. You can buy allulose in grocery stores. Food Insight found that it is about 70% sweeter than regular sugar. 

Like other sugar alternatives, allulose can help lower your blood sugar levels and your risk of diabetes. It can also give you a sweet taste without putting you at risk of liver disease, obesity, and heart problems.

Allulose tastes like sugar and is caramelized like sugar. It’s a good option for adding flavor to coffee, cookies, cakes, cocktails, and jams. 

Organic brown sugar

Organic brown sugar refine sugar alternative

You may think that organic brown sugar is the same as regular sugar, but it’s actually not. It’s raw sugar that comes from sugar cane or sugar beets. The brown color comes from the molasses content. 

There are three types of organic brown sugar: unrefined, raw, and refined. Raw and unrefined brown sugar are the best options for vegans. Brazil is known to be the world’s top producer of organic brown sugar. 

According to Turn Organic, organic brown sugar has nutrients to relieve menstrual pain, improve the skin, and boost energy. It is also rich in minerals like potassium, iron, and calcium.

I especially suggest using organic brown sugar for baking. It helps give baked goods a fantastic caramelized color and flavor. Brown sugar can also keep them moist and light. 

Agave syrup

Agave syrup refined sugar alternative

Agave syrup is a sweetener from agave plants in Mexico and South Africa. It has a slightly thinner consistency than honey and dissolves well in food and drinks. 

Compared to other sweeteners, agave syrup has a subtle and more neutral flavor. It won’t even affect the color or texture of the recipe. Because it is 100% plant-based, it is perfect for vegan diets. 

BBC Good Food mentioned that agave syrup has a low glycemic index, which helps keep blood sugar levels at bay. However, if you’re having trouble digesting fructose, this might not be the best option. 

You can use it when making marinades, dressings, and sauces. It also gives an awesome brown effect on your favorite baked goods. Mix it into your drinks to experience its sweet effect. 


Honey refined sugar alternative

When it comes to refined sugar alternatives, honey is a must. It’s a thick, sweet, and sticky product made by bees. Once ready, honey must be collected, preserved, and adulterated.

Although it is used as an alternative to honey, sugar, and honey are rich in carbohydrates and can cause spikes in blood sugar. But as long as you use the right amount of honey, you won’t have to worry.

An article in the Mayo Clinic found that honey has natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential. It can reduce your risk of getting heart conditions and relieve cough. 

It is great for baked goods because it retains moisture and flavor well. I also love mixing it into marinades, sauces, and hot drinks for a kick of warm, sweet, and comforting sweetness. 

Maple syrup

Maple syrup refined sugar alternative

Another one of the most popular sugar alternatives is maple syrup. From the name itself, this sweetener comes from maple trees. The sap will be boiled until it’s thick and sugary. 

While maple syrup has vitamins and minerals, it remains to have sugar content of its own. It may cause spikes in blood sugar, but it won’t be as fast as the spikes caused by sugar.

As suggested by the Maine Maple Producers Association, maple syrup can help fight inflammation, prevent cancer, and improve digestion. Always use it in moderation to prevent any adverse effects. 

You have probably used maple syrup before, especially on pancakes and toast. It will also make your ice cream, beans, popcorn, fruits, yogurt, cereal, ham, turkey, and more! 


date or date syrup refined sugar alternative

Keep your recipes and health up to date with sweet and nutritious dates. Dates are dried fruits from the date palm tree. Their chewy texture makes them great snacks. 

You can make your own date paste at home for ready-to-use sweetener for different recipes. Aside from its sweet flavor, dates also have a touch of caramel taste that you will surely enjoy. 

Dates are a fruit with many health benefits. They can boost brain function, increase immunity, strengthen bones, and reduce inflammation. 

Test the sweetening effect of dates by chopping them and adding them into batters for cakes, cookies, and other baked goods. I also suggest enjoying it with cereal, oatmeal, and yogurt. 

Now, you know the top ten refined sugar alternatives that can make your recipes tastier and your health so much better! 

Using Refined Sugar Alternatives

To get the effect that it substitutes sugar, you need to know the proper amount of refined sugar alternatives. Here’s a quick guide on how much sugar substitute you need to get the best flavor. 

Note that these amounts are the equivalent of one cup of refined sugar:

Sugar AlternativeAmount (for 1 cup of sugar)
Stevia6 teaspoons
Apple sauce and fruit purees1 cup
Monk fruit sweetener16 tablespoons
Molasses1 tablespoon
Allulose⅓ cup
Organic brown sugar1 cup
Agave nectar⅔ cup
Honey½ to ⅔ cup
Maple syrup¾ cup
Dates1 cup

Adjust these amounts as needed, especially if the recipe involves baking. Check which sweetener works best for the dish or drink you want to make. 

Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy how sweet and healthy your meals can be with these refined sugar alternatives! 


Which of the top ten refined sugar alternatives do you plan to try first?

Since you know the best sugar substitutes, you won’t have to use sugar to sweeten your favorite recipes. You’re investing in good meals and your health and wellness. 

Here’s a recap of the sugar alternatives:

  • Stevia
  • Apple sauce or fruit purees
  • Monk fruit sweetener
  • Molasses
  • Allulose
  • Organic brown sugar
  • Agave nectar
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Dates

Suggested Recipes

If you want to test how effective these refined sugar alternatives are, then check out these recipes that you and your whole family can enjoy:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good alternative to refined sugar?

Some of the best alternatives to refined sugar include stevia, applesauce, molasses, honey, and dates. There are plenty of other substitutes that you can try to see which works best for your favorite recipes. 

What is the healthy alternative to sugar?

Stevia is a healthy alternative to sugar because it has few calories yet is loaded with sweet flavors. It’s great for making drinks, snacks, baked goods, desserts, and more. 

What is the healthiest substitute for white sugar?

Since white sugar and refined sugar are the same, you can use the same refined sugar alternatives for white sugar. It will give the same results: healthy and sweet! 

What can I replace instead of sugar?

Instead of sugar, you can use refined sugar alternatives like honey, dates, maple syrup, stevia, molasses, applesauce, organic brown sugar, monk fruit sweetener, dates, agave, and allulose to sweeten your drinks and dishes.

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