What Sweeteners Are Safe?

What do you use as sweetener? Sugar? Honey? Maple syrup? Something else?

What type of sweetener should you use in your tea?

First, let’s discuss what you shouldn’t use.


This is basically the devil. You shouldn’t use it. Ever. Sugar has no nutrients, and in fact, robs your body of nutrients. Whenever you eat it, your body loses B vitamins, vitamin C, chromium, magnesium, zinc and others. Stop it. Or give it to someone you don’t like.

“But I use brown sugar” I can hear you saying. Brown sugar is just coloured white sugar, and marketed as a health food. It isn’t. Give that to someone you don’t like as well. 


Original source: here.

Splenda, NutraSweet and Sweet N’ Low 

These are all artificial sweeteners. They all have 0 calories. They were designed to get around the problem with traditional sugar: it makes you gain fat. Except there’s one problem with artificial sweeteners. They also make you gain weight. Despite being 0 calories, they have a damaging effect on your metabolism that fat is gained anyway.

These were probably invented by terrorists who wanted to poison you. Stop using them.

Agave Nectar/Syrup 

Ah, now we’re getting to the natural stuff. Except this is one instance when “natural” doesn’t mean healthy.

The reason it’s often mistaken as a health food is because it’s natural, and is made of nearly 100% fructose (as opposed to a combination of glucose and fructose, which is regular table sugar). I know what you’re thinking: “oh, 100% fructose, that’s great. It comes from fruits, and fruits are healthy.” Except the fructose in fruits also comes in the same package as fibre, enzymes and many other nutrients. Not to mention that the amount of fructose in a fruit is much lower than that in agave nectar.

Agave nectar has only fructose. No fibre, no enzymes, no other nutrients.

When researchers want to create diabetes in mice to study the effects of different treatments on diabetes, they feed them pure fructose. Do you think the same effect can be found in humans? You bet.

It’s true that fructose doesn’t raise blood sugar as quickly as glucose. But it still causes diabetes nonetheless.

Pure fructose can also cause liver damage. Why? Because glucose is used by just about every cell of the body, so it has somewhere to go. Fructose is only processed by the liver and a few other organs. So there is a greater load on those organs.

Stay away from this “health food in disguise.”

Maple Syrup and Honey 

Maple syrup and honey are mildly better than agave nectar. At least they have a better nutrient profile (just remember: “better” doesn’t mean “good.” In this case, it just means “less bad”). They have a couple of redeeming values. For one thing, maple syrup it has pretty decent levels of calcium, potassium and zinc. And it’s a powerhouse when it comes to manganese. But that’s pretty much where it ends. The nutritional profile of honey isn’t quite as good as maple syrup’s, but isn’t quite as bad as agave.

Whereas agave nectar doesn’t raise blood sugar very quickly (but remember all the other downsides), maple syrup and honey may as well be an injection of sugar straight into your veins.

Honey, however does have some other redeeming properties. For one thing, if you have a sore throat, it’s very soothing. And if you scraped your skin, honey will seriously speed up its healing when you rub it on your skin (but not eat it). I actually use honey on my calluses when they get torn off as a result of powerlifting.


Now we come to the darling of nutritionists and of the natural health world. Stevia is a natural sweetener, and indeed has some beneficial effects. Although I think that the wild enthusiasm about stevia is still very premature.

There is research showing that stevia consumption (in moderate amounts) helps decrease blood pressure and blood sugar. It also has some anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

There is also research showing that overconsumption of stevia can be harmful to fertility in both men and women.

Unfortunately most of the research on stevia is done in rats, and very little research on humans. Since this is a fairly new food (to North America), there are still a lot of unanswered questions about it.

As it stands right now, anyways, stevia seems to be the safest of all sweeteners.

No Sweeteners 

I’d be a little remiss if I didn’t mention this option. This is by far, head and shoulders superior to every other option out there.


  • It’s safe. The safest of them all.
  • It does not deplete any nutrients
  • It has many health benefits. Like not being fat, diabetic, unhealthy and unhappy.


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