Coffee cups may be getting bigger and bigger, but countless coffee aficionados are increasingly looking for ways to make their sugar intake a whole lot smaller.
The following four natural coffee sweeteners can add a saccharine kick to your morning cup while helping you adhere to a healthier, sugar-free (or sugar-light) lifestyle.
- Stevia: This plant-based sweetener derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant (a.k.a. candyleaf, sweetleaf, and sugarleaf) is almost 200-300 times sweeter than sugar but boasts a grand total of zero calories. Used in liquid or powder form, it offers a unique sweetness to coffee but can be an acquired taste for some. Add slowly to coffee to taste, and experiment with amounts to find the perfect balance.
- Honey: This natural coffee sweetener adds a natural and delicious flavor to coffee, tea, and more. Small amounts of nutrients such as vitamin C and antioxidants give honey an extra boost, and as a natural antiseptic, it aids your body as it fights off infection and disease. It’s important to note, however, that honey is also calorie-dense, with approximately 64 calories per tablespoon. Raw, unprocessed honey is best if you’re hoping to reap the healthiest benefits.
- Coconut sugar: Made from the sap of coconut palms, coconut sugar is a low glycemic sweetener, meaning it doesn’t cause a rapid surge in blood sugar levels. Its caramel-like flavor also makes it an excellent choice to add flavor and sweetness to your coffee. Similar to honey, coconut sugar is a calorie-dense food, so moderation is key.
- Maple syrup: It’s not just for pancakes anymore. Maple syrup has a rich flavor that pairs perfectly with coffee while providing bonuses like antioxidants and nutrients. Though lower in calories than pure sugar, maple syrup still clocks in at about 52 per tablespoon – just something to keep an eye on. Pure maple syrup is also preferred as a natural coffee sweetener, as processed varieties may contain added sugars and artificial ingredients.
There are plenty of natural coffee sweeteners to choose from when it comes to adding a little sweetness to your morning (or afternoon or evening) brew. Try a spoonful or so with your next cup and satisfy your sweet tooth, while contributing positively to your overall health and wellbeing.