Ask Amelia Food News Nutrition

What’s the Healthiest Way to Sweeten Your Coffee?

sweetener vs sugar

Many people have inner turmoil when it comes to sweetening their coffee and tea. With so many sugars and sweeteners to choose from these days, it’s hard to know which option is the healthiest.

The answer here is complicated, because all sweeteners – whether natural, artificial, calorie-containing, calorie-free – have some downsides.

Here’s my rundown on sweeteners (both natural and artificial, low calorie) vs. sugar.

My own feeling is the less you sweeten your food and drinks, the better. So ideally, your ultimate goal should be to grow an appreciation for the taste of unsweetened coffee, tea, and everything else.

Can’t bear the thought of this?

Try slowly weaning yourself off sugar/sweetener by adding a tiny bit less every week until there’s none left. For example, if you currently put 2 teaspoons or packets of a sweetener into your beverage, reduce this to 1.5 teaspoons/packets for a week. Next week, when you’ve adjusted to this taste, aim for 1 teaspoon/packet, and so on.

Before too long, you’ll probably enjoy the taste of the unsweetened version of whatever you’re drinking. If not, then decide whether you care more about reducing calories in your diet (in which case you should choose a calorie-free sweetener) or reducing chemicals (in which case you should choose sugar, honey, agave, or another natural calorie-containing sweetener).

Here are some guidelines for how much sugar is OK to eat.

Here are 20 different words for sugar so you can know what you’re eating.



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  • Amelia Winslow
    February 26, 2013 at 8:21 am

    hi amelia! well, you know me. i love me some sugar. and honestly, i love me some fake sugar too. as an oncology nurse with the attitude that anything in excess can lead to cancer, i say, “pick your battles!” do you eat mostly organic vegetables? well then, eat some splenda and don’t worry about it! have you already cut back from a grande breve mocha to a vanilla latte? well then, a vanilla latte ain’t so bad! currently, i’m enjoying my tall non-fat sugar free vanilla latte. it’s the best part of my day! miss you meel…

  • Amelia
    February 26, 2013 at 9:04 am

    I definitely agree with picking your nutritional “battles”…which is why I still eat rainbow sprinkles! šŸ™‚

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