I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not but there are dozens of “zero calorie” and low glycemic” sweeteners on the shelves of our grocery stores. The tough part is that all claim to be “low” or “zero calorie” and prices can range from $3.00-$8.00 per container which is high considering that a 4lb bag of sugar costs less than $3.00. These choices ranging from stevia, to blue agave, to coconut sugar, Splenda®, and even monk fruit.
One of the most interesting sweeteners that I have discovered is Stevia. Although largely unknown to many, the leaf of the Stevia plant is a natural sweetener and is twice as sweet as table sugar. Best of all, Stevia has zero calories and a glycemic index of 0. Comparatively, Glucose, Sucrose, Honey, Coconut sugar, and Agave Sugar, have glycemic indexes of 100,100,50,25, and 15 respectively. Glycemic index is an indicator of how fast sugar will be absorbed into the body. Coconut has long been hailed as a wonder fruit but even its relatively low glycemic index of “15” can’t compare to Stevia’s “0”. The brand Sweetleaf® is my brand of choice as its ingredients are just Stevia and Soluble Fiber. The taste is pleasant when added to foods and the health benefits are hard to beat.
While stevia is my sweetener of choice, research and experimentation must be done to determine what’s best for you. Although Stevia costs about $4.00 for 35 servings, compared to $3.00 for 454 servings of table sugar, I’d say that the cost is worth the benefit.