Guide to Alternative Sweeteners

Who doesn’t love sugar? After all, it is known to stimulate the pleasure centers of our brains, causing a sense of well-being. Refined cane sugar has its time and place in moderation, but today dozens of alternative sweeteners are available to us. Whether you’re looking for a low-glycemic, low-calorie, or all-natural option, or simply interested in exploring some new flavors outside of regular old table sugar, you’ll find something sweet on our shelves worth checking out! Below you’ll find a sampling of products we offer, separated into Nutritive and Non-Nutritive, which indicates whether they contain calories or not, as opposed to how healthful they are. (Learn more here.) Let us know which is your go-to sweetener in the comments below!

Alternative Sweeteners Kimberton Whole Foods

Non-nutritive Sweeteners


Lakanto Monkfruit

Monkfruit: Photo courtesy of Lakanto

  • Comes from a small round fruit native to southern China
  • Also known as lo han guo or Swingle fruit (Siraitia grosvenorii)
  • Zero calories, zero glycemic index, 200 times sweeter than sugar


  • Comes from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni) plant, native to South America. 
  • Made by extracting and purifying steviol glycosides from the leaves of the plant
  • Zero calories, zero carbs, zero glycemic index, 300 times sweeter than sugar


  • Made by fermenting glucose with Moniliella pollinis, a natural microorganism. 
  • Naturally occurs in some fruits and vegetables including melons and grapes.
  • Swerve brand combines erythritol with oligosaccharides in their sweetener. Oligosaccharides are prebiotic fibers sourced from fruits and starchy root vegetables. 
  • Zero-calorie sugar alcohol that does not affect blood glucose, zero glycemic index, less sweet than sugar

alternative sweeteners kimberton whole foods

Nutritive Sweeteners


  • Produced commercially from corn, and exists in nature in small quantities in wheat, jackfruit, figs, and raisins, as well as maple syrup and brown sugar
  • Clean taste
  • It is a monosaccharide (carbohydrate sweetener) which is not metabolized by the body, making it low-calorie


  • Found in small amounts in many fruits and vegetables. It can be processed from trees like birch or from a plant fiber called xylan.
  • Beneficial for dental health
  • Low-calorie sugar alcohol, low glycemic index

Agave Syrup

Wholesome Sweeteners Agave

Agave harvest: Photo courtesy of Wholesome Sweeteners

  • Derived from the agave plant, native to Latin America and the southern USA (Same plant used to make tequila)
  • After growing for 5 to 7 years, farmers hand-harvest blue agave, which is then crushed and its carbohydrate- and inulin-rich juice is collected. The agave juice is exposed to different levels of heat to convert the inulin into a fructose and glucose.
  • Made up of 75% fructose, 20% glucose, and 5% inulin
  • Low glycemic index

Coconut Palm Sugar

  • Derived from the nectar of the coconut blossom. 
  • The nectar is boiled to remove water, leaving coconut sugar. 
  • Made up of 80% sucrose along with glucose and fructose
  • Low glycemic index

Date syrup

Just Date Syrup

Date harvest: Photo courtesy of Just Date Syrup

  • Made with California medjool dates. 
  • Contains magnesium, potassium, and other key vitamins
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Delicious unique flavor
  • Low glycemic index


  • Made by honey bees! Look for raw options (no heat, filters, or strainers) or strained seasonal honey from local suppliers
  • Purchasing from local honey suppliers means promoting the health of pollinators and agriculture in our area
  • You’ll find plenty of local brands on our shelves, including Swarmbustin’ and Wild Creek Bee Farm
  • Classic, unbeatable flavor

Maple Syrup, Maple Sugar

  • Unrefined
  • Made from the sap of sugar maple trees 
  • Purchase real maple syrup from small family farms and coops who are committed to environmental stewardship and sustainable forestry management, such as Coombs and Rocky Ridge
  • Contains nutrients and antioxidants 
  • Real maple syrup is Grade A and comes in four classifications. Learn more here

Unsulphured Molasses


Unsulphured Molasses

  • Blackstrap molasses is a byproduct of the sugar cane refining process
  • A good source of vitamins and minerals including iron, vitamin B6, potassium, calcium and magnesium
  • Full-bodied robust flavor that adds unique color and flavor to baked goods

Brown Rice Syrup

  • Made with whole grain brown rice 
  • A more delicate sweet flavor than honey or maple syrup
  • Contains maltotriose, maltose and glucose
  • Many brands are low-glycemic
  • Try it in this recipe for Vegan Crispy Bars
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