All You Need To Know About Sugar Substitutes - Ep. 155 OPEN SKY FITNESS PODCAST

All You Need To Know About Sugar Substitutes – Ep. 155

The Benefits of Some Sugar Substitutes

Even though all types and forms of sugar are readily available to us, that doesn’t mean they’re actually okay to consume. When you think about it, we weren’t even designed to consume sugar and processed foods. Our ancestors didn’t have candy bars, ice cream, or diet soda on hand. The only sugar that was available to them were fruits like dates or honey.

On today’s episode, we’re sharing with you which sugar substitutes exist and why some like natural sugar are way better for you than table sugar and alternative sweeteners. Plus, how sugar alcohols are beneficial for people with diabetes or those who are following a Ketogenic or Paleo Diet.

However, we’re not advocating that you eat all the natural sugar that you want whenever you want. Rather, we hope that you use this knowledge to know that their are better, whole food sugar substitutes out there that you can consume whenever you want something sweet.


“We’re not designed to be consuming sweet things all the time. So if every drink or food that you consume has to have some sweetness, there’s an issue there. You’re probably over-sensitized to sugar.” – Rob Dionne


In this episode, we dive deep into each type of sugar substitute, why or why not they’re good substitutes, the latest scientific studies and more. 

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Substitutes for Table Sugar


“The FDA just allowed big food and sugar companies to label high fructose corn syrup as natural sweetener.” – Rob Dionne


Sugar is a 1:1 ratio combination of fructose and glucose. While glucose is good for your body, fructose is the problem. In addition, more and more fructose is being added to high fructose syrup and it’s hidden under the label, natural sweetener


Rather than relying on product marketing and ingredient labels to tell you whether or not something is healthy, we hope the knowledge that we’re sharing with you in this episode will help you make the best choices possible for your health.

Several Substitutes for Table Sugar Include:

  • Natural Sugar 
  • Sugar Alcohols
  • Artificial Sweeteners


Sugar: The Bitter Truth

with Dr. Robert H. Lustig



Natural Sugar Substitutes

Natural sugar substitutes include:

  • Stevia
  • Raw honey
  • Natural maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Dates
  • Date sugar
  • Coconut sugar
  • Sucanat
  • Pure Glucose and Pure Dextrose
  • Agave


“We’re not saying, ‘Go on and have as much of these natural sugars as you want. We’re saying these are treats and if you want something sweet and they’re better replacements than table sugar. They’re not a daily ingredient and you want to be careful with how much you use because they will change your insulin levels and too much will lead to weight gain.” – Devon Dionne 



Stevia is a plant from Paraguay that has very sweet leaves. There are two types – white powder and green powder. White powder is highly processed and green powder is less processed, but more bitter.  Stevia is often highly genetically modified so you should look for one that is Organic and non-GMO.

Stevia has a lot of anti-oxidants, but is 300x sweeter than sugar. You probably don’t want to bake with it unless the recipe is Stevia specific.

It’s great for people who have diabetes and has a lot of anti-diabetic properties to help blood sugar. 


Raw Honey


“The thing about honey, maple syrup, and other natural sugars is that they are whole foods. Specifically, honey is a  wonderful whole, full food to consume.” – Devon Dionne


Raw honey has so many antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that can help boost your immunity. It helps improve brain health and is free from radicals. Plus, it’s great for healing herpes on lips, dandruff in your hair, for acid reflux, as a moisturizer, and it can create melatonin in your body. Just take a teaspoon of honey before you go to bed and it will help you sleep better. Pus, that it can act like a vaccine for you and your allergies by eating honey that has been made from local bees.

In addition, it can be used as a cough syrup to help inflammation and alleviate coughs as it coats the throat. 


Image result for natural sugars

Natural Maple Syrup

Natural maple syrup doesn’t have as many health benefits as honey, but has some nutrients in it such as:

  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Calcium

Plus it contains other electrolytes that your body needs to replenish after a workout. You can even add some natural maple syrup into your post-workout drinks, tea, or coffee for as sweet boost.

Always look for products that are darker and labeled as grade B or C because they have more anti-oxidants and are less processed compared to lighter or grade A products. 



Molasses is refined table sugar and because of this process, it’s a lot more nutrient dense and has tons of vitamins including:

  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Calcium



Dates are packed with tons of good glucose and nutrients such as:

  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • B6 vitamins

It’s good to help balance electrolytes and is high in fiber. However, it’s also very high in sugar so you don’t want to eat a ton at once. 

Date sugar can be good for baking, but it doesn’t melt well. So, it’s ideal for baking a cake, but not as the frosting.

Image result for dates


Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is half the gylcemic index of sugar so it’s an excellent substitute for table sugar. In fact, both have a 1:1 ratio. It’s really ideal for people who are pre-diabetic or are diabetic.



Sucanat is pure dried sugar cane. It has more molasses than brown sugar, but  it is still not as moist. Even though it’s less processed and better than white sugar, it’s still not necessarily the healthiest choice.


Pure Glucose and Pure Dextrose

Pure glucose and pure dextrose are the same thing. They have the sweetness of sugar, but no fructose to negatively affect the body. It’s not a whole food like dates, raw honey, or natural maple syrup, but it’s still an option.

It’s not low on the gylcemic index and it will spike your insulin levels, but it’ doesn’t have the same negative affects that table sugar does.

Some forms of pure glucose and pure dextrose include:

  • brown rice syrup
  • glucose powder
  • multadextrose

Glucose powder and multradextrose can be added to a protein shake after a workout to help gain mass and add carbs. You can also cook with both for a 1:1 ratio.



Agave was a huge fad and has practically zero benefits. In fact, it has more fructose than fructose corn syrup! It’s incredibly highly processed even though it derives from a natural plant.

For a better sugar substitute, you can easily switch it out with raw honey. 


Sugar Alcohols

Sugar alcohols are derived from a natural source such as a wood or a root of a plant. They can be more sweet than sugar or almost as sweet as sugar, but they have less carbs and calories than sugar.

Sugar alcohols are good for diabetics and are more natural than artificial sweeteners.

Especially if you’re following either a  Ketogenic or low-carb Paleo diet and trying to lose weight, sugar alcohols can be a really good alternative to sugar when you want something sweet from time to time. However, they’re not completely calorie or carb free so you should keep that in mind.

Even though sugar alcohols are a good alternative, they’re not whole foods and so they’re not nutrient dense meaning they lack a lot of vitamins and minerals. 


A list of sugar alcohols include:

  • Sorbitol
  • Xylitol
  • Maltitol
  • Lactitol
  • Mannitol
  • Erythritol


xylitol, erythritol, sugar alcohols, side effects of sugar alcohols


Xylitol is being looked at as a possible medicine to help prevent cavities and promote bone growth. It could be a possible treatment for osteoporosis in the future.



In general, sugar alcohols can be hard on the gut. If you’re following a FODMAP Diet, you don’t want to consume any because those are the carbs you’re trying to stay away from in the diet. 

Sugar alcohols haven’t been around long enough for us to really understand what the long-term side effects will be on anyone. However, the follow side effects are common, even in gum and mints that list sugar alcohols as ingredients:

  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Fermentation in the gut


Artificial Sweeteners


“Biologically, we’re not designed to digest diet sodas and processed foods.” – Rob Dionne


Artificial sweeteners are man-made sweeteners that you see in little sugar packets at a cafe or in the kitchen at your office. It’s important to stay away from artificial sweeteners as much as possible. There haven’t been too many studies done, but several have found health issues with fertility, pregnancy, and brain health in mice and rabbits.


Image result for artificial sweeteners


Artificial sweeteners and common brand names include:

  • Saccharin – Sweet’ N Low
  • Acesulfame – Sonnet and Sweet One
  • Aspartame – NutraSweet and Equal
  • Sucralose – Splenda
  • Neotame – Produces methanol like Aspartame, but in higher quantities



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What You’ll Hear on This Episode

00:00 Open Sky Fitness Introduction

1:15  Opening comments with Rob and Devon

1:45  Recap on last week’s episode OSF 154 – Nicole Visnic: The Truth about Individual Nutrition Needs

2:00  Happy 4th of July!!

4:00  Today’s topics: What are sugar substitutes and what are the differences?

6:20  Contact us for One-on-One Coaching

8:00  Why it’s important to talk about sugar and sugar substitutes

11:15  What is sugar?

12:30  Substitutes for Table Sugar

17:20 Good natural substitutes to replace table sugar

18:00  Stevia

25:00 Raw Honey

28:20  Natural Maple Syrup

31:30  Molasses

33:40  Dates

36:25  Coconut Sugar

38:00  Sucanat

39:15  Pure glucose and pure dextrose

42:55  Agave

44:05  Sugar Alcohols

55:45  Artificial Sweeteners

1:10:00  The dangers of diet sodas

1:13:30 Closing comments with Rob and Devon

1:21:20 Open Sky Fitness Closing



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Thanks for listening/reading Episode 155 – All You Need To Know About Sugar Substitutes! We hope you have gained more knowledge on how to be a healthier you.

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