The average American consumes a whopping 20 teaspoons of sugar per day—more than twice the USDA-recommended amount. The next time a recipe calls for white cane sugar, consider one of these low-glycemic alternatives.

Erythritol

Powder derived from the sugar alcohol in pears, grapes, and melons.

  • Low cal (0.2 calories per gram)
  • FDA approved as a sweetener
  • High doses can cause stomach upset
  • Use an equal amount to replace sugar in any recipe
  • Look for it as Zsweet

Stevia

Powder or liquid extract from the leaves of the South American stevia (Stevia rebaudiana bertoni) plant.

  • Calorie-free
  • Heat stable
  • 200 times sweeter than cane sugar
  • Can have a bitter aftertaste
  • FDA-approved as a dietary supplement only
  • Great for baking; try it in brownies and fudge
  • 1 teaspoon pure stevia extract is as sweet as 1 cup of sugar

Xylitol

Powder derived from the sugar alcohol in plums, strawberries, and raspberries.

  • Helps prevent tooth decay by inhibiting bacteria
  • 40 percent fewer calories than sugar; same sweetness
  • High doses (30 grams per day) may cause stomachaches
  • Use an equal amount of xylitol as you would sugar
  • Look for it as Xylosweet