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Complete Guide to Diabetes-Friendly Sugar Substitutes

Sugar Substitutes | Med Supply US


Individuals managing diabetes are well aware of the detrimental impact of added sugars on their health. These sugars, prevalent in regular sodas, confectioneries, and baked goods, have been linked to type 2 diabetes and a host of health complications. The consensus among health authorities is to reduce added sugar consumption. Anyone familiar with monitoring blood sugar levels post-consumption of sugary meals knows that sugar triggers rapid and consistent glucose spikes.

It is only natural, then, to seek alternatives that offer sweetness without the associated metabolic drawbacks. Fortunately, the present landscape provides an array of zero-carb sugar substitutes, making it easier than ever to incorporate them into one’s dietary regimen. This guide presents an in-depth exploration of these options.

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Caution Regarding High-Carb Sugar Substitutes

Not all sugar substitutes are fundamentally distinct from regular sugar. The American Diabetes Association identifies additional sugars, encompassing dextrose, fructose, lactose, beet sugar, honey, corn syrup, turbinado, and agave. While certain natural sugars, such as maple syrup or coconut sugar, might not be categorized as “added sugars” on labels, they are essentially different names for sugar substitutes that lead to increased blood glucose levels. Please fill out this form to determine whether or not you or a friend are eligible for a CGM.

This guide focuses on alternatives that exert minimal to no impact on blood sugar levels.

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are synthetically produced through chemical processes. This category includes renowned sugar substitutes like aspartame, saccharine, and sucralose.

Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K)

Brand names: Sunette, Sweet One, Equal Original

Ace-K serves both as a standalone sweetener and a flavor enhancer in various products ranging from soda and ice cream to jam and toothpaste. Its sweetness, surpassing sugar’s intensity by up to 200 times, is often coupled with a bitter aftertaste. It finds applications in baking, though some recipes advise substituting only half the sugar amount to maintain volume and texture.

Acesulfame potassium is believed to have no discernible impact on blood sugar levels.


Brand name: Advantame

Primarily used as a commercial sweetener, Advantame isn’t commonly available for home use. Its sweetness, exceeding sugar’s potency by 20,000 times, is accompanied by a prolonged sweet aftertaste. The Mayo Clinic asserts that Advantame does not affect blood sugar and is safe for individuals with diabetes.


Brand names: NutraSweet, Equal, Sugar Twin

Aspartame is ubiquitous in prepared foods, beverages, and even medicines. With sweetness levels approximately 200 times that of sugar, it is often utilized as a tabletop sweetener. Research from 2018 indicates that aspartame does not influence blood sugar control.

It’s important to note that, despite being widely used, recent classifications by expert committees highlight its “possible carcinogenic” status. However, experts maintain that concerns are unnecessary.


Brand name: Newtame

Neotame is employed by food and pharmaceutical manufacturers in conjunction with other sweeteners for flavor enhancement. Its intense sweetness, surpassing sugar by 8,000 times, makes it versatile in various products. Similar to other artificial sweeteners, neotame is not believed to affect blood sugar.


Brand names: Sweet’N Low, Equal, Sugar Twin, Saccharin

Saccharine functions as both a tabletop sweetener and an ingredient in processed foods, beverages, and medicines. While 300 times sweeter than sugar, it can exhibit a pronounced aftertaste. Although once flagged as a potential carcinogen, subsequent reassessments have alleviated such concerns.


Brand name: Splenda

Sucralose finds use as both a tabletop sweetener and an ingredient in beverages and processed foods. Its sweetness, approximately 600 times that of sugar, lacks a bitter aftertaste. Although it does not affect blood sugar levels, studies suggest it could disrupt the balance of gut microbiota, potentially leading to increased inflammation. Baking with sucralose can be intricate, often necessitating adjustments in recipe proportions.

Sugar Alcohols

Sugar alcohols, naturally occurring sweeteners, have a comparatively milder impact on blood sugar than regular sugar. They are prevalent in low-sugar and low-carb products, though some individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, particularly in larger quantities.


Swerve, Lakanto (mixed with monk fruit), NOW Foods, Anthony’s, and Zerose are some of the brand names for this product.

Erythritol, present in both tabletop sweeteners and various packaged foods, is about two-thirds as sweet as sugar. While generally well-tolerated, some individuals might experience gas or bloating. Notably, consuming erythritol could affect blood clot formation, potentially elevating the risk of heart-related complications.


Isomalt, found in processed foods and sugar art, offers a sugar-like taste with reduced sweetness. Its consumption should be monitored to avoid flatulence and diarrhea.


Brand name: Lycasin

Maltitol, utilized in bakery and snack products, pharmaceuticals, and toothpaste, provides benefits beyond its low-carb sweetness. Its impact on blood sugar hovers around 38% of that caused by pure sugar. Though it exhibits laxative effects, maltitol isn’t carbohydrate-free and possesses more calories than zero-calorie alternatives.


Derived from fruits and corn syrup, sorbitol serves as a sweetener in various products. Its sweetness is roughly 60% that of sugar, potentially leading to modest blood sugar elevations.


Xylitol, found in diverse products, offers sweetness comparable to sugar. While it can slightly raise blood glucose levels, it might also induce gastrointestinal discomfort. Importantly, xylitol is toxic to dogs.

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Novel Plant-Based Sweeteners


Brand names: Allulose, Spenda Allulose Sweetener, Keto Sweetener Allulose Plus, Anthony’s Allulose Sweetener

Allulose, naturally occurring and commercially derived, boasts a taste resembling sugar. It can even reduce blood sugar levels, making it an appealing choice for those managing diabetes.

Monk Fruit (Luo han guo)

Brand names: Monk Fruit in the Raw, Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener

Monk fruit sweetener, sourced from a Chinese fruit, is used extensively in reduced-calorie foods and beverages. It demonstrates remarkable sweetness with minimal aftertaste and does not impact blood glucose levels.


Brand names: Stevia, SweetLeaf, Pyure, Stevia in the Raw, Truvia

Extracted from the stevia plant, stevia offers intense sweetness without calories. It can, however, trigger a bitter aftertaste. The choice of stevia type and its combination with other sweeteners can impact flavor.


Tagatose, found in dairy, fruits, and cacao, serves as a sweetener with fewer calories and no bitterness. It may induce mild gastrointestinal effects and slight blood sugar increases.


Selecting the right sugar substitutes entails a balance between taste preference, blood sugar stability, and potential side effects. Sensitivities to these sweeteners vary, making individual experiences crucial. It