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Natural Sugar Substitute

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Raw Sugar HeartsLooking for a natural sugar substitute? You’ve come to the right place!

Whether you are a vegan or not, there is a natural sugar substitute out there that can work for you – probably more than one!

The Best Natural Sugar Substitutes

Stevia  50 times sweeter than sugar, no calories, no glycemic index, completely natural, widely used throughout Europe, Japan and South America. I know it sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t! It’s wonderful for sweetening tea and coffee and I use it in my high protein smoothie every morning! In baking, the stevia sugar substitute can be a bit tricky because it is essentially a liquid and doesn’t add volume, but I can recommend two books that have great baking and dessert recipes for use with Stevia: Baking With Stevia, and Stevia: Naturally Sweet Recipes for Desserts, Drinks and More.

Sucanat or Turbinado  this is a great white and brown sugar substitute. It is made by pressing the juice out of the sugar cane plant and then dehydrating it. This means it still contains the molasses and minerals that give brown sugar its richer taste. Sucanat is technically not raw because it is generally dehydrated at temperatures above 115°, however it is certainly a great substitute in baking. I use it in my vegan brownies.

Rapadura  This is the most raw form of sugar available and is considered acceptable by many raw food chefs. It looks and tastes much like Sucanat. Rapadura can be substituted 1:1 for sugar in baking, but it’s much better used in raw desserts. Be prepared – the taste and texture will be different, but most people prefer it!

Maple Sugar  It is well-known as a natural sugar substitute, but it’s not considered a raw sugar because making it requires heating maple syrup to quite high temperatures. Maple sugar is sweeter than regular sugar, so use about 2/3 cup of maple sugar for every cup of regular sugar in baking.


Date Sugar  a great natural sugar substitute made from ground up dehydrated dates, so it still contains all the minerals and fiber of the fruit. This form of sugar is also commonly used in raw food preparation. It is not good in drinks because it doesn’t dissolve well, but it works very well in baked goods.


Yacon Syrup  made from the roots of the Yacon plant, which grows only in the Andes, this rich, thick syrup is very sweet and has no glycemic index. This is a terrific natural sugar substitute – I use it in many of my vegan recipes and it’s great with unsweetened or raw almond milk on cereal and oatmeal. Yum!


Okay, here’s the gross-out – part of the white sugar refining process includes running it through filters made of charred animal bones – YUCK! That’s why white sugar is not considered vegan.

You might think that its worst offense is that it causes us to pack on the pounds, but that is just the beginning of its evils. Sugar attacks the immune system and causes the pancreas to shoot insulin in huge amounts into the bloodstream.

Over time this continuous overtaxing of the pancreas causes it to overload completely, resulting in diabetes – a disease which, at this point, is becoming a national epidemic.

And chemical sweeteners are no better! Check out these unsavory facts:

  • Sucralose, the main ingredient in Splenda, is sugar bonded with chlorine – you know, the stuff that’s in bleach!
  • Saccharin, a.k.a. Sweet ‘n Low, is made from coal tar – eeww!
  • Aspartame, mostly marketed as Nutrasweet, is without question one of the most dangerous substances that has ever been inflicted on the unsuspecting American public. Aspartame, when ingested, converts to formaldehyde, the chemical used for embalming corpses. Enough said.

There are some sugars that are not great but are a little less evil than white sugar. These are raw cane sugar, brown rice syrup, barley malt syrup, molasses, and blackstrap molasses.

Also, beware of the following "hidden" forms of sugar on ingredient labels: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, malt, evaporated cane juice, and fruit juice concentrate. These will all send your pancreas into a tailspin in minutes.

Is honey vegan? Click HERE to read the debate!

While the each natural sugar substitute listed above is much, much better than refined white sugar, it is always best to use any sweetener in moderation. If you can’t do moderation right now, try easing yourself down gradually. It takes a little time, but you really can get your taste buds to adjust. When they do, you’ll find that you are able to enjoy some of the more subtle flavors in these natural sweeteners and in all foods.