Xylitol vs. Sorbitol vs. Stevia vs. Aspartame vs. Sugar: Low-Glycemic Sugar Substitutes

Updated on June 11, 2018
Coffee-Break profile image

Dorian tested these sweeteners to see which tasted best so he could cut down his sugar intake.

Source

Trying to Reduce Your Sugar Intake?

We can all benefit from reducing our sugar intake. Whether you're trying to lose weight, protect your teeth, or because you are diabetic (or pre-diabetic), low-sugar diets are a good choice. Health experts say that reducing sugar can help address cholesterol levels, mood and memory, and cancer risks.

But for people who love a little sweetener in their diet, replacing sugar can be tricky. There are lots of sugar alternatives, but most of them are still high on the glycemic index, they don't taste good, or they present other health risks.

Here's a run-down on the pros and cons of the most common sweeteners. I will cover the pros and cons of:

  • Xylitol
  • Stevia and Rebaudioside A
  • Erythritol
  • Saccharin, Aspartame, and Sucralose (Splenda)
  • Sorbitol
  • Sugar
  • And which one tastes best (in my opinion).

What Is the Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index is a way of measuring the carbohydrates in a food so you can tell how much sugar that food will add to your blood levels. For example, on a scale of 1 to 100, fructose (sugar from fruit) has a glycemic index of about 15 while sucrose (table sugar) has an index of 65.

1. Xylitol

Pros of Xylitol

Cons of Xylitol

  • Xylitol is approved as a food additive by the FDA but not as a sweetener.
  • Consumed in high quantities, it can cause bloating, stomach pain, and diarrhea.

2. Stevia (Rebaudioside A)

Pros of Stevia

  • Glycemic index of 0 (no effect on blood sugar at all).
  • Zero calories.
  • Stevia might seem expensive, but a little goes a long way. Stevia is a few dozen times sweeter than sugar. Rebaudioside-A, a compound extracted from stevia, is about 350 times sweeter than sugar.

Cons of Stevia

  • Stevia and Rebaudioside-A are not approved as food additives by FDA. Stevia is, however, approved as a dietary supplement.
  • Stevia is very sweet but the taste is quite different from sugar. Some may not care for it.
  • Commercial stevia an contain fillers, the most common being maltodextrin.

3. Erythritol

Pros of Erythritol

  • The glycemic index of erythritol is 0.
  • Its taste is very similar to that of sugar.
  • It is very low in calories with around 0.25 calories per gram.

Cons of Erythritol

  • It is more expensive than many sugar replacements.
  • With only 70% of the sugar’s sweetening power, it becomes even more expensive.
  • In rare cases, erythritol can cause hives or nausea.

Polyols Video Review

4. Saccharin, Aspartame & Sucralose (Splenda)

Pros of Saccharin

  • Saccharin has a glycemic index of 0 and has 0 calories.
  • It's inexpensive.

Cons of Saccharin

Pros of Aspartame

  • Very inexpensive.
  • Low glycemic index
  • No calories

Cons of Aspartame

Pros of Sucralose (Splenda)

  • Sucralose doesn’t have any calories but the fillers in Splenda do. It is still three times lower in calories than sugar. (Note that these calories are not mentioned on the American Splenda packages.)
  • Low glycemic index.
  • Decent taste—probably the best among artificial sweeteners.
  • There are no notable health problems associated with sucralose.
  • Very stable to high temperatures so it can be used in many recipes to replace sugar.
  • Relatively inexpensive.

Cons of Sucralose (Splenda)

  • Contains bulking agents including dextrose and maltodextrin to provide volume.
  • It is not an absolute replacement for sugar, especially when baking.
  • Although it looks like the safest artificial sweetener on the market, Splenda is not completely harmless. It depends on the quantity ingested, but in some cases, sucralose will not pass through your body for days.

5. Sorbitol

Sorbitol is widely used in the food industry and in the kitchen as a moisture-stabilizing agent. It is also used as a thickening agent and to retain moisture in the cosmetic industry. It is also a sugar replacement in many commercially sold foods.

Compared to xylitol and erythritol, sorbitol has the most laxative effect. This sweetener has been associated with causing stomach problems for some people.

Pros of Sorbitol

  • Glycemic index of 4.
  • Very cheap.

Con of Sorbitol

  • Bad for teeth.
  • May cause stomach problems and anal irritation.
  • 2.4 calories per gram vs sugar's 4 calories per gram.

6. Sugar

Pros of Sugar

  • The best taste alone and in combination with virtually any food.
  • Very safe when consumed in moderation (except for diabetics).
  • The best for baking.

Cons of Sugar

  • High glycemic index of 60 to 65, with some types of sugars as high as 80.
  • High calorie at 4 calories/gram.
  • It is linked to Candida.
  • The principal cause of most dental cavities.

There has been research into how the brain responds to sugar and sugar substitutes. This might help you take your healthy decision about sugar.

Best-Tasting Sugar Substitutes

Of course, this is a matter of taste. Personally, I mix sugar with stevia, erythritol, and xylitol, but then again I don't have high blood sugar levels. I just want to cut back on my sugar intake. Often I add a little honey to the mix. I tested a few sweeteners and found these products tasted best to me.

© 2014 Dorian Bodnariuc

What's Your Favorite Sugar Replacement? - Any Comments Are Welcome

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 

      3 years ago

      I've been using stevia and Splenda recently. Xylitol caused some digestive problems; I look forward to trying erythritol. Wish sugar was an option for me! :)

    • Babu Mohan profile image

      Mohan Babu 

      4 years ago from Chennai, India

      I can suggest palm sugar though I must confess that I have not yet made any conscious effort to reduce sugar in my diet.I hope everyone reads the pros and cons section on sugar. You have rightly said taste is the only pro for sugar and everything else is a con.

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 

      4 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      I really want to try Stevia, thanks for the great information!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, caloriebee.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://caloriebee.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)