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Nothing tastes better than a sweet treat that satisfies the sugar cravings you’ve been having all day. But what if you’re trying to watch your sugar intake, or your doctor recently told you that you need to cut back on sugar for health reasons? Thankfully, this doesn’t mean you have to avoid all of your favorite sweets. With the right zero-calorie sweeteners, you can still splurge on your favorite desserts, snacks, and coffee drinks.
Unfortunately, there are a few popular artificial sweeteners that are under fire at the moment, especially after recent research revealed that certain ones may be linked to cancer. According to a 2022 study that was published in PLOS Medicine, aspartame (think Equal or Nutrasweet), sucralose (AKA Splenda), and acesulfame-K, are all artificial sweeteners that may heighten your cancer risk. Aspartame and acesulfame-K were specifically linked to a higher risk. While these risks are of course not guaranteed, it can feel discouraging to have these dangers looming in the back of your mind when you’re just trying to make healthier choices for yourself.
The good news is that there are plenty of zero-calorie sweeteners on the market that contain natural ingredients and are not linked to cancer risk like the ones mentioned above. Continue reading to find out which products you can buy with peace of mind, and for more healthy eating tips, check out 5 Ways to Stop Sugar Cravings Before They Start, Says Dietitian.
Monk fruit is a vine plant that originated in China, and also goes by the name of luo han guo. Monk Fruit In The Raw is combined with erythritol and maltodextrin, both of which are considered safe. This particular monk fruit extract is helpful for baking and cooking, because it measures just like regular sugar.
Stevia sweeteners come from a plant called stevia rebaudiana bertoni, also known as the “candy plant.” Unlike some other brands of stevia extract, Stevia In The Raw uses only stevia, with no added flavors or sweeteners. You can buy a box of individual packets, in a baker’s bag, or even in tablet form.
Another monk fruit sweetener, Lakanto offers a variety of these zero-calorie sweeteners to fit your specific needs. Their classic acts as a white sugar replacement, but you can also choose from a raw cane sugar replacement, brown sugar replacement, or powdered sugar replacement, all of which are made from monk fruit. Similarly to Monk Fruit In The Raw, Lakanto’s sweetener is also made with erythritol.
While many brands offer zero-calorie sweeteners in the form of bags or packets, some brands come with liquid drops. These are great for mixing into drinks, such as coffee, tea, water, juice, etc. Sweetleaf Stevia Clear is made with stevia and “natural flavors,” and they provide you with the conversion measurements you need if you’re going from regular sugar to liquid drops.
Another option if you’re looking for a liquid sweetener is the NOW Foods Organic Monk Fruit sweetener. These liquid drops are certified organic and are made mostly with pure monk fruit extract, as well as 11% cane alcohol. You’re paying under $9 and getting somewhere around 268 servings in each bottle, so it’s hard to beat the value of this one.
Thrive Market sells their own version of a stevia sweetener, and this one comes with 75 individual packets that you can sprinkle over fruit, coffee, or oatmeal. This zero-calorie sweetener also contains inulin, which is a form of prebiotic, and silica, which is a mineral compound that the FDA says is perfectly safe to consume.
Truvía is a popular sweetener brand that sells both stevia and monk fruit products. Their stevia leaf packets are affordable at around $17, and they contain only stevia extract, erythritol, and natural flavors.
You can also purchase Truvía’s Spoonable Jar of Stevia, which is great for leaving on your kitchen counter or in the cabinet next to the rest of your baking supplies.