Where most coffee addicts love the natural flavor and hate the idea of adding milk or sugar to it, similarly, some coffee lovers have a sweet tooth and can’t drink their java black or unsweeten.
The most common sweetener people use in coffee is sugar. However, one teaspoon of sugar contains about 20 calories that kill the idea of getting health benefits from coffee.
On top of all, drinking two to three cups daily mean having more than 10 gram of sugar a day. That’s means you are just taking more than 100 calories and lots of unhealthy carbohydrates from sugar daily.
Consuming sugar daily can lead to many diseases such as depression, atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, and other dangerous health side effects.
That’s why it is crucial to quit this bad habit as soon as possible.
The wise thing is to drink your java plain to extract the best benefits. However, if you can’t drink unsweetened coffee, don’t worry, there are many healthy alternatives you can use and provide enough sweetness to calm your sweet tooth.
Short Answer: Some of the best alternatives to sweeten your coffee without sugar are by using stevia, maple syrup, agave nectar, or honey.
Keep reading to know more!
What is the best alternative to sugar in coffee?
One of the best ways to sweeten your coffee without sugar is by using the natural sweetener: stevia. Stevia comes from the leaves of several plants like chrysanthemums. They are taken, dried, and then crushed into a powder that you can use for your coffee.
Black coffee is your best bet for having clean and healthy coffee without any added sugar. You won’t feel guilty about calories while enjoying your favorite java.
But if you are addicted to some extra sweet flavor in your coffee, then there are so many options you can try that will provide sweetness without any harmful benefits. Let’s see how you can sweeten your coffee without sugar.
Stevia is the most popular natural sweetener that makes a perfect sugar substitute.
It comes from plants and has all beneficial antioxidants and anti-microbial properties. It even looks like sugar, but its less quantity is 100 times sweeter than sugar.
The best and favorite thing about stevia is that it has 0 calories and thus no effect on your insulin. Stevia is considered the best alternative for sugar for people with diabetes and who are weight-loss enthusiasts.
One packet can be as sweet as 2 teaspoons of sugar, so it’s better to measure a particular amount to avoid sickly sweet coffee. That’s means a tiny amount goes a long way. Stevia is also available in liquid version if you don’t want to buy the powder version.
- Zero calories
- Verified non-GMO
- Free from dairy, soy, or sugar.
- Cause bloating or gas
Maple syrup is one of the natural substances that taste great in coffee and other food and drinks.
If you like syrup on their pancakes, it is for you. Someone who is not a fan of syrup sweeteners will take their time to get used to it.
High-quality maple syrup is not only sweet but also full of nutrients. It is sometimes also used as an alternative to honey. You will find them on the market in different quality bottles.
When you want to get one for yourself, check a few essential things on the label:
- Where was it made
- Grade A stamp of approval
Choose one that is made in Vermont. Also, pay attention while buying, there is a difference between maple syrup and maple-flavored syrup.
- Available in two types Grade A Amber which is more prosperous, and Grade-A Dark which is more strong on flavor
- 100% natural product from Vermont
- High glycemic index
- High in calories
The syrup that comes from the cactus plant is called Agave Nectar. The name sounds artificial, but the product is entirely natural and best for diabetics or other patients who have to consider their insulin sensitivity.
It is low on the glycemic index and sweeter than sugar. It has a strong flavor somewhere between honey and sugar.
The liquid is fragile and gets dissolved coffee easily. One of the brands that provide the best Agave is Madhava.
Initially, they started manufacturing honey products but shifted to top-quality organic products. There, Agave is a high-quality syrup that allows people t use more healthy alternatives than cheap sweeteners.
- Made from 100% organic blue agave plants
- Vegan and gluten-free
- Sustainably harvested
- Extra sweet: 50% sweeter than other conventional syrups
- Fructose-based sweetener
- Not ideal to use in large quantity
Jaggery Punjabi Gur and Punjabi Shakar are made from palm sap (from coconut, date, sago, or toddy palms) or sugarcane juice.
It has a delightful taste but it is not as strong as sugar. Jaggery is full of minerals such as zinc, magnesium, and iron,
It took the granulated form and was hard to dissolve in coffee. You can either grate it or use powder to mix in your coffee and it can also add a dark kind of color to your cup of coffee. It has many health benefits and activates the digestive enzymes in our body that helps in digestion and prevent constipation.
- Natural sweetener
- Has amazing health benefits
- High Glycemic index
Refer to the table to calories of each sugar alternative for coffee:
|Maple Syrup||52 (1tbsp)|
|Agave Nectar||21 (1 tsp)|
|Jaggery||22 (1 tsp)|
For a similar article, check out my post here where I talk about the best sweeteners for coffee.
What is the healthiest sweetener for coffee?
Honey, agave, and stevia are considered the healthiest and safest sweetener for coffee. Jaggery is also good but can not be consumed in more significant quality. Some other sweeteners that you can consider adding to your coffee are:
- Coconut sugar
Whatever you add, start with a bit of amount to check the taste of coffee, then add more to suit your sweet tooth.
Can you put honey in coffee?
You can add honey into your coffee, but honey is not only a sweetener in the coffee but also changes the flavor of your java.
There is no harm in adding honey, but I would recommend adding only a tiny amount like clover to see how much it affects your coffee and you can add more until you find your sweet spot.
Another important thing is not adding honey directly into a hot cup of coffee. Because according to a study, honey should never be heated, warmed, or cooked. The study also found that honey turns toxic at a temperature of 140 degrees.
So, adding honey to hot coffee can turn it hot and toxic, so it is better to avoid and use other alternatives, or you can let the coffee come to room temperature before you add honey to it.
How unhealthy is sugar in coffee?
Coffee is healthy, but sugar turns it into a harmful beverage and eliminates all its benefits.
Thankfully we have many alternatives that can calm our sweetener craving, like stevia. You can even cut your habit of taking too much-added sugar by following simple lifestyle changes:
The World Health Organization recommends less than 5% of calories from added sugar for optimal health, but only one teaspoon of sugar contains about 20 calories and tablespoon around 60 calories. Now you have an idea of how unhealthy your cup of java becomes only after adding a spoon into your cup.
For a clearer understanding of how unhealthy sugar is for us, check out this video by the University of California:
Stevia, in my opinion, is the best and safest form of sweetener for your java.
However, if you are a sugar person, it’s not easy to get rid of sugar instantly, try to limit it. Once you drink plain black coffee for a week or two, you naturally find the instinct for natural flavors, and then the sugar will taste too sweet.
Eliminating sugar from coffee will not do the job but you have to eliminate it from your life. To cut your habit of overeating sugar try eating:
- fresh fruits
- Greek yogurt
- dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher)
- full-fat foods
Most importantly, read labels before buying anything, as many products have added sugar that we mostly ignore.
The best way to cut sugar from your coffee is by making your healthy coffee at home and avoiding buying coffee from cafes that can have added sugar in them.