Especially in 2022, it is becoming more popular for people to try and reduce the amount of sugar in their diets.
Sugar from whole foods such as fruits and vegetables is not the main concern, but when you consume a lot of added sugar, it can cause problems with obesity, diabetes, and heart health.
And besides baked goods and other sweets, adding sugar or sugary cream/sweeteners to coffee is extremely common.
So if you are looking for a way to reduce sugar in your diet, finding a sugar substitute for your coffee is a simple way to accomplish this.
Keep reading to learn all about the problems with sugar and how to find the right alternative sweetener or natural sweetener for you!
What Is Sugar?
It is easy to think of sugar as one thing, but the truth is that sugar comes in many forms.
Table sugar (raw sugar), also known as cane sugar, is the most common form, and it consists of sucrose and glucose bound together.
Besides white sugar, brown sugar and light brown sugar are varieties of this same basic molecule.
But besides regular sugar, there is also refined sugar.
Unlike natural sugar, refined sugar usually comes from grains in the form of an artificial syrup.
High fructose corn syrup is one of the most common forms of added sugar, and many manufacturers prefer it because it is cheap and easy to use in a variety of products.
No matter how much you might enjoy the flavor of a sweetener in your coffee—even natural sweeteners like agave syrup, raw honey, or vanilla extract—consuming too much sugar in your diet comes with a price.
It is also a price that increases when you use an artificial sweetener based on
On average, Americans consume over three times the recommended amount of sugar.
But both artificial and natural sugar can have awful effects when abused.
The first and most obvious health cost of sugar is that it is a high-calorie food that causes you to gain weight.
You gain weight not only because of the calories but also because having a high blood sugar level encourages your body to store fat.
Sugar is also dangerous for your long-term health.
If your blood sugar is consistently high, you will be more likely to develop diabetes.
You can also end up with cardiovascular problems.
You might want to cut down on sugar because you are worried about diabetes or other major health problems.
In the long term, the serious effects of consuming too much sugar can cause a cascading effect of health problems.
So similar to the advice you might get about any diet, consciously note the reasons that you want to cut down on sweetener in your coffee.
Why Pick a Sugar Alternative for Your Coffee?
As you just learned, finding sugar substitutes for your body can have a hugely positive effect on your health.
Whether you tend to put granulated sugar straight into your coffee or prefer to use coffee creamer, consuming too much sugary sweetener is a diet decision that will eventually catch up to you.
How Many Calories Are There in Coffee?
Coffee by itself contains very few calories, with one cup having fewer than five calories.
So if cutting down your daily calories for weight loss is your primary concern, you might try drinking coffee black or else adding unsweetened almond milk to your coffee.
But coffee with added sugar, milk, and creamers change the calorie calculation by a lot.
Coffee with one ounce of milk added has 21 calories.
And every teaspoon of table sugar adds 16 calories to your morning cup of coffee.
Are Sugar Alternatives Really a Healthier Option?
Put simply, any change to your routine that reduces your sugar intake is a healthier option.
Additionally, using a natural sweetener such as agave nectar, honey, or coconut sugar are healthier ways to get that sweet flavor without loading up on refined sugars.
Healthy Alternatives to Sugar in Coffee (that actually taste good!)
Now that you are convinced to rethink your morning coffee routine by finding some sugar substitutes, let’s go over some of the ways you can accomplish that.
Whether you are looking for a natural sweetener like agave nectar or honey or you prefer artificial options, there should be something that suits your taste!
The Best Artificial Sweeteners For Coffee
Artificial sweeteners might have health problems, including making people crave more sweets over time.
But most of them appear safer than the alternative of a sugar intake that is way too high.
Either, stay aware that even artificial sweeteners can increase your diabetes risk.
Let’s explore your best artificial sugar substitutes.
Aspartame is one of the most common artificial sweeteners, and the taste is 200 times sweeter than the sucrose in white sugar.
Aspartame is the chemical name, but you might be more familiar with the business names NutraSweet, Equal, and Canderel.
Companies use saccharin in many products, including candy, soft drinks, and medicine.
It takes sweetness to a new level, even more so than aspartame.
Despite saccharin having practically zero calories, it is over 500 times as sweet as white sugar—it is a serious sugar substitute.
Saccharin is also great for storage, and it is stable under high heat.
While you might have heard about a connection between saccharin and some types of cancers, later follow-up studies debunked that possibility.
Sucralose is another popular sugar substitute, and you might be more familiar with it under its more common name Splenda.
Like saccharin, sucralose is shelf-stable and has almost zero calories because the body does not break it down.
Stevia is another sugar substitute that gets its name because you derive it from the plant Stevia rebaudiana.
Stevia is heat stable, but it is not as sweet as saccharin.
Stevia ranges between 50 and 300 times as sweet as sucrose.
Natural Sugar Alternatives for Coffee
If you want to reduce your sugar intake with a natural sweetener, you might consider one of the sugar substitutes below.
They also blend perfectly with a healthy creamer like almond milk.
Maple syrup, in smaller doses, is a great way to get sweetness without raising your blood sugar too much.
And since maple syrup has a strong flavor that is not purely sweet, you should be able to mask the bitter flavors of coffee without using too much.
People commonly add honey as a syrup to green tea and other hot beverages.
Besides giving your drink a sweet taste, it also has a nice texture that stays intact in the heat.
Coconut sugar is a syrup that comes from the sap of palm tree flowers.
It is more natural and healthier than standard white sugar.
Date sugar undergoes less processing than normal sugar, and in general, processed foods tend to be worse for your health.
You derive date sugar from dry dates.
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Unsweetened cocoa powder is the solid particles that remain after you extract the buttery material of the cocoa bean.
The unsweetened cocoa powder is lighter in color and can be a healthy alternative to regular sugar.
What Is the Healthiest Sweetener for Your Coffee?
The healthiest sweetener would have to be stevia.
It has zero calories and tastes so close to the real thing.
How Do I Reduce My Sugar Consumption?
Since you now know some of the health costs of sugar consumption along with some sugar alternatives, let’s explore some strategies for reducing the amount of sugar you consume.
Like any diet decision you might make, consciously understanding why you want to make healthier choices goes a long way to helping you stick to your dietary guidelines.
Review the science of how sugar can be detrimental to your health and make a realistic plan for how much you want to remove from your diet.
Healthy Coffee Creamers
Besides sugar, many people can’t imagine having coffee without milk or cream.
But many of the coffee creamers out there are loaded with sugar.
So let’s check out some healthy coffee creamers.
Vanilla Coconut Milk Creamer
Coconut milk creamer is a great way to add a natural sweetness to your coffee while diluting it with cream at the same time.
Plus the healthy fats (MCT oil) are great for you as well!
Coconut Pumpkin Spice Creamer
For those that want the pumpkin spice flavor without the huge dose of sugar, a coconut pumpkin spice creamer is much healthier than the high fructose corn syrup variety.
Unsweetened Plant-Based Milk
If you have other dietary restrictions besides lowering sugar—perhaps you are vegan—you should consider using plant-based milk.
Soy milk is a nutritious milk replacement, and while it is very sweet, it does add an interesting flavor and texture to your coffee.
Notes on Sweetening Coffee and Tea
You might also consider skipping the sweetening stage altogether.
Many people sweeten their drinks because tea or coffee has undesirable flavors.
But if you focus on making great coffee, you might find it is naturally sweet enough.
As you can see, you have many more options than you might think for finding a sugar substitute.
So make the healthy decision to try out some of these sugar alternatives with your next coffee!