Sugar rush – alternatives to sugar

March 26, 2014


After all the hoo-ha about sugar = poison and the fact that I was putting on a lot of weight a few months ago, I stopped putting sugar in my cups of tea. You see, if you live in England, you cannot escape the endless cups of tea that are made in the office all day. It’s part of the social contract, to make cups of tea for everyone, you see? I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and I can drink tea with no sugar but every now and then it is nice to have a little bit of sweetness.

The big question now is: Is there any other way of sweetening our cups of tea?


Yes, there are several sweeteners and sugar substitutes available in the market, some healthier than others. Let’s see:

Aspartame – has to be the most common sweetener. Anything that’s labelled as ‘Sugar Free’ will most likely have aspartame in it as a substitute. It has been used as a replacement for sugar in ‘Light’ products as it made foods sweet and palatable but without the fattening that comes associated with sugar. Sounds like it’s too good to be true, right? Probably because it is. This chemical substance has been linked to a wide array of medical issues since it’s ended our diet in the 1960’s such as eye and ear disturbances, neurological, gastrointestinal, cancer, as well as metabolic issues to name just a few. The American FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has published a report on it and it doesn’t look good. I hate the way it tastes and I avoid it like the plague.

Honey – Made by our friends the bees, it’s not only sweet but also packed with vitamins and antimicrobial properties. It is sweeter than regular sugar but you end up using less of it for this reason. Honey is high in fructose which can be as bad as sugar but it is also rich in antioxidants which are good for you. It’s healthier than sugar as a whole and its safety or benefits will vary depending on the individual. I love the way it tastes and use it fairly often. It won’t help much if you’re trying to lose weight though.


Agave Nectar – Made from the agave plant, grown in the southern areas of the US, as well as northern areas of South America. It has been used by the Aztecs for medicinal purposes for many years. It is now readily available in supermarkets although it’s not the most economical option. The finished processed product is 90% concentrated fructose thus not making much of a difference from high-fructose corn syrup. This means that despite it being sold as an healthy option, it really isn’t. It tastes nice though and I liked it.

Yacon Syrup– Extracted from the roots of the yacon plant, indigenous of the Andes, in Peru. The old Incas used it and modern Peruvians eat it for its nutritional properties, such as few calories and low sugar levels. It also contains enzymes that have been linked to weight loss and for this reason it is now becoming fairly popular. It is processed in the same way as maple syrup, using an evaporator. Hubby says he used to eat it when he lived in Peru, it’s apparently fibrous and good with cheese. Oh he also mentioned they call it yuca! If you are interested in finding out more about this plant, head on to the Guardian for an article on how to grow it and other ideas for consuming it. I like the taste of it in the tea, it’s not too sweet, the flavour is pleasant and I like the fact that it doesn’t contribute to weight gain. It’s not easy to get in the UK though, I was sent a sample by Quality Yacon so I could try it out. When can we get some of this here?

Yacon Syrup

These are the alternatives to sugar I have tried so far. Do you have any other suggestions I should look into?

PS: How do you like my car boot royal tea mugs? I love them.

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  • Reply Kizzy @ The Dainty Dolls House March 26, 2014 at 08:21

    I dislike sweeteners completely, they make me ill. I try honey sometimes, but it’s not quite the same, I just try and put less sugar in my tea than I did before and not drink ti so often, but I always drink green tea or white tea, which have tons of health benefits. But, I have stopped drinking it as much as I used to, maybe one or two cups a day!! Not sure what else you can sweeten it with, love the royal cups :)) xx

  • Reply Curtise March 26, 2014 at 08:44

    You are right about the social ritual of making teas/coffees for everyone at work; woe betide the people who don’t ever do it, it’s a black mark against them!
    I hate sugar in hot drinks, and couldn’t drink a mug of sweet tea, so I have never even thought about or tried sweeteners. It’s probably easier just to go without and have a piece of dark chocolate on the side! xxx

  • Reply PinkCheetahVintage March 26, 2014 at 13:32

    I love sugar. It’s my downfall 🙁

  • Reply Vix March 26, 2014 at 13:33

    Ahhh, the office tea round! Always a bone of contention.
    I don’t have a sweet tooth although I do love chai when I’m in India. I like Curtise’s suggestion of a piece of chocolate on the side. xxx

  • Reply Krista March 26, 2014 at 14:01

    After visiting Vix and Jon I was hooked on tea again. I start each morning with some white jasmine and I do put a hint of agave sweetener. Everything in moderation, whoever said that never tasted sugar or pizza!

  • Reply Porcelina March 26, 2014 at 14:58

    Coconut sugar is the new ‘healthy’ sugar being touted, but there’s little empirical evidence to back it up. Like honey though, it’s ‘natural’ so better than refined ordinary sugar. Coconut sugar is super pricey, so I am sticking to honey until they come up with some better evidence.

    P x

  • Reply Señora Allnut March 26, 2014 at 16:10

    I’m not used to put sugar in my tea or coffee, I really dislike sweet beverages, so I’ve never had to search an alternative to sugar!!. Anyway, I dislike sugar substitutes, and substitutes in general, they’re usually unhealthier than the original product!, but it’s great that you find some healthy products, as yuca syrup. It looks nice!
    beijinhos com açucar

  • Reply Val S March 26, 2014 at 17:10

    The yuca syrup is interesting – I’m curious how it would taste in other foods. I never put sugar in my tea, and only a pinch in a cappuccino to take away the bitterness. But like Senora Allnut said, I’d rather use the real thing and avoid manufactured substitutes.

    Your mugs are adorable – so kitsch!

  • Reply Coco March 26, 2014 at 17:50

    I had never heard about Yacon! Do you know Stevia?
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  • Reply Jet aka Punk Glam Queen March 27, 2014 at 00:00

    I use raw sugar or honey. No sugar substitutes are allowed in the house, they are evil! I also use full fat everything, butter, yoghurt, milk. I guess I’m lucky we all have fairly good genes and don’t gain weight easily as I can see what a problem it can be for some people. Stevia is another substitute that is supposed to be healthy, but I haven’t tried it. I honestly don’t eat enough sugar to worry about it, as savoury is my downfall! XXX <3 PS Love the royal cups how fun!

  • Reply Connie* March 27, 2014 at 00:17

    Have you ever tried Stevia? I think the brand name is Truvia. It’s very natural and you can BAKE with it. Yes, I love your mugs 😉

  • Reply jocelina April 1, 2014 at 00:12

    very informative post. I mostly use agave or maple syrup as an alternative.
    dunno if i could go sugarless because i have a sweet tooth

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