My Favorite Natural Sweeteners

What would life be like without a little sugar to make the medicine go down? Okay, I admit. I have a sweet tooth! I have greatly enjoyed exploring the world of natural sweeteners to replace the abundant processed and bleached sugar that is in most recipes and kitchens. Did you know that the average American consumes around 175 pounds of sugar per year (that’s 46 teaspoons a day)? If you evaluate food labels more closely you will be surprised to see Corn Syrup or High Fructose Corn Syrup in practically every item.

This website informed me that: Eating sugar depletes B vitamins (which leads to premenstrual symptoms and depression, my sisters), promotes Candida albicans, bone loss and tooth decay*. Then of course there is obesity, diabetes and heart disease since sugar raises blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol.

Did you know that certain natural sweeteners actually have nutrients and minerals that are good for you? Keeping in mind that all things in moderation is always wise…

Here are some of my favorites and how to use them from my house to yours!

Xylitol

Pure xylitol is a white crystalline substance that looks and tastes like sugar. It is a naturally occurring 5-carbon sugar alcohol found in many fruits and vegetables and produced in small amounts by the human body. It has the same sweetness as sugar (sucrose) but with 40% fewer calories and none of the negative tooth decay or insulin release effects of sugar. Xylitol also has a low glycemic index (7) and has little effect on blood sugar levels. This is definitely the best sugar option. Can be used in a 1:1 ratio for all your baking substitution.

Coconut Palm Sugar

Coconut palm sugar: comes from the nectar of the coconut palm tree. Low on the glycemic index, meaning it won’t jack your blood sugar and shouldn’t lead to sugar cravings. It’s nutrient-rich and unrefined (no chemicals used in the extraction process). Coconut palm sugar is the nectar acquired from the flowers growing high on coconut trees. The nectar is air-dried to form a crystalline sugar that’s naturally rich in potassium, zinc, iron, and vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6.

Honey

Raw honey (that which has not been heated over 117 degrees) is loaded with amylases (which help to digest carbs), enzymes that digest carbohydrates and nutrients. Raw honey is our favorite for topping tea, oatmeal (helps digest the grains), smoothies, salad dressings, and in bread baking (although it is recommended to use it only in items that do not have to be heated). I found a local source recently that makes delicious raw honey and packs in a glass jar – yahoo! For those in the area, this come from Honey House Farms in Battleground, WA. It is also wonderful for dealing with allergies, as in our allergy tonic, and in combination with garlic and lemon tea for the winter colds. Raw Honey is your best natural sweetener due to the way it is naturally formed in nature and goes through no processing. It is definitely different from the commercial varieties as they loss much of their nutritional value through processing.

According to the National Honey Board (NHB), (http://www.honey.com) , 82 percent of households currently use processed honey, which has been heated and pasteurized, and can contain botulism and High Fructose Corn Syrup, (HFCS). Processed honey is not as antibacterial, as raw honey, and is dangerous for diabetics and infants under 12 months old.

For more read here.

Conversion: 1/2 cup honey = 1 cup sugar. Reduce liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup.

Maple Syrup & Sorghum Syrup

I have discussed maple syrup and sorghum in more detail here including their wonderful nutritional value, and after further experimenting have come up with a good recipe for stretching maple syrup (as it is rather expensive currently).

My recipe for stretching maple syrup for pancakes, french toast, and the like is using in combination with sorghum syrup as follows: 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/8 cup sorghum syrup and 1/4 cup water. Tastes delicious with a hint of gingerbread taste! Sorghum alone can be used in replacement of maple syrup, but it definitely depends on the brand you buy, I have found. Some are stronger than others! Or if you don’t have access to sorghum, you can simply add water and that will stretch your maple syrup nicely!

I primarily only use maple syrup for those breakfast meals, but occasionally I will use it to sweeten a white base ice cream (as in my coconut ice cream in combination with stevia). If you can afford it, maple syrup is definitely best bought in organic variety due to formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals.

Conversion: 1/2 to 2/3 cup maple syrup = 1 cup sugar. Reduce liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup.

Sorghum contains B vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium and phosphorus. It is the best replacement of molasses (as molasses is the ‘waste’ product from the production of refined sugar).

Sorghum is available through Azure Standard for an excellent price although this brand is very strong, and thus my need to make the above combination.

Maple & Sorghum syrup have definitely withstood some processing, thus they are recommended to use in moderation.

Stevia

Stevia is a powerful little sweetener! It has no calories and thus will not spike your blood sugar. A little bit goes a long way – a pinch of stevia powder will sweeten as effectively as a spoonful of sugar. As it does not add bulk, it is best for use in coffee, tea, salad dressings, smoothies, whipped cream, homemade yogurt, and pie crusts. Purchase the whole dried leaves or the whole leaf powder.  Avoid, if possible, the white stevia powder and the stevia liquid drops as they have been highly processed. Stevia ranges in flavor and strength, so we recommend NuStevia offered by NuNaturals.

Rapadura / Sucanat

Rapadura is very rich in dietary iron and is a great substitute for brown sugar due to its dark brown and course texture. It is an organic whole cane sugar that is unrefined, naturally evaporated, and minimally processed in such a manner that it preserves all the vitamins and minerals. You can purchase it through Azure Standard (the best price!) or Tropical Traditions. Use in limited moderation as it will still spike your blood sugar levels.

Please note: Although they aren’t as refined and stripped as white sugar, and some are even organic or extracted directly from sugar cane and dried, they still have the same action on the body as regular cane sugar. Organic and unrefined is a plus, but still high on glycemic index, causing blood sugar spikes, insulin surge, and cravings.

The FAQ page at West​on​ A Price states the following:

Q. I’m confused as to which type of sugar is better, Sucanat or Rapadura?

A. Both are fine; both are made by dehydrating cane sugar juice. For a while Sucanat changed the way they made it and were using white sugar, so we stopped recommending the product. But they are now making Sucanat the old fashioned way, so we can recommend it again.

Sucanat is practically the same thing as rapadura in my understanding. They look and taste the same and can be used interchangeably with great success. I have found that sucanat can often be found at a cheaper price and more easily accessible than rapadura, and thus I use it primarily now.

What about Agave Nectar?

Agave Nectar is another sweetener that has been considered a natural alternative. Further research is showing that it is not quite natural after all, due to processing, and boiling down of the syrup and the high levels of fructose. Feel free to explore more on this topic in this excellent post.

What about Raw Sugar or Turbinado?

Raw sugar is not really raw (it is the same thing as turbinado); it is just less refined than white sugar. It does have a small amount of nutrients left in it. It does metabolize the same as white sugar. It is better than white if you are looking for something that is closer to its natural state, but I don’t personally use it. I try to avoid the refining process as much as possible. Sucanat/rapadura is unrefined cane sugar. It is processed less than turbinado or raw sugar and a lot less than white sugar. It has more nutrients than turbinado or raw sugar. The natural molasses is still intact, and makes an excellent substitute for brown sugar. It does metabolize slower than white sugar but not enough to make it safe for diabetics. All sugar is recommended to consume in small quantities.

For further excellent reading on these natural sweeteners visit this post on Sugar Substitutes from Local Forage. They provided the conversions listed above.

For further tips on how to begin replacing refined sugars with natural sugars read this post by Weston Price Foundation.

Those are the ones I keep around my house! How about you?

I would love to hear further ideas for use of these sweeteners?

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

84 Responses to My Favorite Natural Sweeteners

  1. star July 9, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    rapadura or coconut sugar which is least processed ?

  2. star July 9, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    rapadura or coconut sugar which is the least processed ?

  3. Becky December 15, 2012 at 6:52 am #

    I’m wondering why you say xylitol is better than coconut sugar? Is it because the glycemic index is lower? I’m confused because I thought, according to your post, coconut sugar has more nutrients and vitamins in it. Is one less processed than the other? When I research xylitol it looks like it’s made from corn, is it still natural and unprocessed? I’m trying to decide which one to get before I order on Amazon (thanks by the way for recommending the Subscribe & Save, I love it!)

  4. CJ November 20, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    I recently heard about a natural sweetener called BSweet. Here’s the web address http://www.acaisweet.com/index.htm

    Have you heard of this product? What are your thoughts?

    Our family has recently taken part in a 30 day Reboot juice fast/detox (Joe Cross “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and Join the Reboot). Since we’ve taken part in this fast I find that my sugar cravings are pretty much gone. From past experience I know that if I eat any sugar I’ll be right back where I was before the fast. Sugar is to me what tobacco, alcohol and drugs are to other addicts. I cannot seem to tolerate even a nibble or I’m hooked again. I would like to find a natural, unrefined (as much as possible) sweetener for an occasional treat. The BSweet sweetener sounds promising but I am skeptical.

    Any thoughts, information or comments would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

  5. Becky October 19, 2012 at 6:11 am #

    do you know anything about muscovado sugar?

  6. C July 13, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    Lindsay, have you ever bought honey in bulk….do you put some into a smaller container for daily use rather than using the big gallon jug? If so, what kind of container would you perhaps recommend for the honey? Thanks!

    • Lindsay July 13, 2012 at 7:20 am #

      I buy honey by the gallon so I just keep it in that container. You could transfer into a quart size jar as needed but we go through it pretty fast so I keep it in the gallon jar.

  7. Becky June 25, 2012 at 7:45 am #

    What about Demerara sugar?

    • Lindsay June 25, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

      Demerara sugar is virtually the same as white sugar – the only difference is that some of the molasses has been recombined with the refined sugar after processing. Read more here. They have a glycemic index nearly as high as white sugar.

  8. Rebecca August 2, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    Coconut palm sugar is a great sweetener! It is low on the GI index and has lots of vitamins and minerals.

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  12. Jessica September 18, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    Have you learned any more about truvia? I accidently got that at the store thinking it was stevia. I’m trying so hard to kick my sugar habit, but I’m having a heck of a time. I actually don’t like baked goods, so that’s not a problem. It’s CANDY! I miss candy so much. I Love almost all candies…sour, sweet, chocolate, everything. So my other question is…well…any ideas on a good replacement for candy??? Do they make candy with honey or stevia? I’m going crazy here! Thanks!

    Jess

    • Lindsay September 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

      Have you tried fudge? The fudge recipe here is a great candy replacement and is incredibly nutritious. You can try adding nuts for more crunch as in a candy bar.

  13. Deb Novara August 23, 2010 at 5:39 am #

    I am also wondering about the Nu Stevia, this is what we use for tea and coffee but it is white. Also for Honey, I know raw is best but would you say it is better to have organic raw from Tropical Traditions or non organic raw from a local source. My local honey makers do not have organic but do offer raw. I like to suort local whenever possible.

    Thank you !!

    • Lindsay August 24, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

      Go with the local raw by all means! I don’t use organic honey…the local raw source I use have responsible practices, so as long as that is the case, that would be my recommendation. As to the Stevia, I have heard that the whole leaf liquid extract is the most natural option.

  14. Tiffany August 13, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    I don’t understand. You say :

    “Stevia

    Stevia is a powerful little sweetener! It has no calories and thus will not spike your blood sugar. A little bit goes a long way – a pinch of stevia powder will sweeten as effectively as a spoonful of sugar. As it does not add bulk, it is best for use in coffee, tea, salad dressings, smoothies, whipped cream, homemade yogurt, and pie crusts. Purchase the whole dried leaves or the whole leaf powder. Avoid, if possible, the white stevia powder and the stevia liquid drops as they have been highly processed. Stevia ranges in flavor and strength, so we recommend NuStevia offered by NuNaturals.”

    But the link to NuNaturals is all white powder and liquid. Plus, most of them have maltodextrin or Erythritol (made from corn). Can you clarify what you know about this? I am trying to figure out the best Stevia to buy (health and safety). Thanks!

  15. Sarah July 27, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    Have you considered or tried Xylitol yet?
    I really appreciate your blog! it’s helping me tons!

  16. Lauren March 21, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    Hi Lindsey, I was coming back to this post and was curious about the raw honey. Do you still reduce the liquid in a recipe with raw honey, because isn’t it a solid? Thanks so much!

    • Lindsay March 22, 2010 at 7:21 am #

      I am not sure what you are asking here, but I recogonize honey as more of a liquid ingredient because it is runny.

  17. Jennifer March 2, 2010 at 4:02 pm #

    Lindsay, I skimmed the comments and I don’t think I saw this asked; what about raw sugar? There is a farm store where I live that sells raw sugar. It is brown in color and coarser in texture than regular sugar. Is that healthier than “regular” sugar? Thanks so much!

    • Lindsay March 3, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

      Raw sugar is not really raw (it is the same thing as turbinado); it is just less refined than white sugar. It does have a small amount of nutrients left in it. It does metabolize the same as white sugar. It is better than white if you are looking for something that is closer to its natural state, but I don’t personally use it. I try to avoid the refining process as much as possible. Sucanat/rapadura is unrefined cane sugar. It is processed less than turbinado or raw sugar and a lot less than white sugar. It has more nutrients than turbinado or raw sugar. The natural molasses is still intact, and makes an excellent substitute for brown sugar. It does metabolize slower than white sugar but not enough to make it safe for diabetics. All sugar is recommended to consume in small quantities.

      • Jennifer March 4, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

        Thanks for always taking the time to respond. I appreciate it. I think I am going to try the sucanat next time. Blessings!

  18. Jackie H January 5, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    Thanks for all your helpful blog posts, Lindsay! I have a quick question for you re: all these more natural sweeteners. I think you’re saying that it’s better to use the more natural sweeteners because of all the retained nutrition. I totally agree! :) Now my question is, if I use these natural sweeteners in baking (at high temps), will that also degrade the nutritional value? Should I reserve these natural sweeteners to tea and other applications where I don’t deal with high heat? Thanks a bunch! Blessings!

    • Lindsay January 6, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

      It is recommended to not heat honey because of its delicate nutrients, so I use that mainly for sweetening smoothies, oatmeal, tea, etc. Rapadura/sucanat can be used for all your baking needs without any problems.

      • Jackie H January 10, 2010 at 8:39 pm #

        Thanks for your reply, Lindsey! :) Just wanting to making sure I got things straight – so rapadura/sucanat will still retain some of the nutrients even after baking in high temps? They are just more expensive than the conventional sugar and I wanted to make sure that there is some sort of nutrients left in the rapadura/sucanat, so I’m not wasting my money. Thanks so much! God bless!

        • Lindsay January 14, 2010 at 11:37 am #

          Jackie, I cannot say for sure. I don’t know enough of the chemistry of these sugars to confirm whether or not any of the nutrients are lost in baking. I would submit your question to http://www.westonaprice.org. They would probably be able to answer more clearly.

          • Jackie H January 18, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

            Thanks for your reply! That’s a great idea – I will email Weston Price! Thanks, again!

  19. Ami December 21, 2009 at 5:06 am #

    Thank you, this is so helpful! I’ve been wondering if we should start using sorghum instead of molasses because here in KY sorghum is local and abundant. I would be buying it at the farmer’s market, too, so maybe it would be less processed. We’ve been going through a lot of molasses this week!

  20. Sharon December 12, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

    According to wikipedia, rapadura in known by other names based on it’s geographical location (panela, piloncillo). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piloncillo I have seen frequently seen piloncillo at my local Winco in the bulk bins— I just had not idea what in the world it was! It looks like little cones. Anyway, it is a regularly stocked item, and is very affordable. Would this be considered a good choice for an unrefined sweetener? I’d love to hear from anyone who has insight on this. Thanks! Sharon

  21. Sadie October 14, 2009 at 10:06 am #

    Hi! I am a customer service representative for Azure, and am glad for the addition of new personnel to address issues such as “out of stock items”, as well as to maintain improvements. It’s refreshing to see the diligent efforts being made in the midst of the growing demands! I also thought to mention that we are expanding our truck routes and are now going into AR, MO, KS, and OK in addition to our other routes. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

  22. ~M August 3, 2009 at 6:21 am #

    I am confused about using raw honey in recipes. I completely understand the benefits of raw honey and how heat (pasteurization) destroys many of the nutrients of “regular” honey. I have been using my raw honey in uncooked recipes. However, I don’t understand how raw honey that is baked into a recipe or otherwise cooked can still maintain its raw properties/benefits if it has been heated. Could you please explain?

    Also, can you explain how ordering through Azure works since it is the cheapest source of rapadura/sucanat and honey (I think that’s what you’ve said)? Thanks!

    • Lindsay August 4, 2009 at 7:46 pm #

      I understand that using honey in baked goods does kill alot of the nutritional benefit, and that is why I prefer to use rapadura/sucanat for such occasions. But just like anything cooked or baked, some things are lost in the heating process but still homemade products with natural ingredients is far superior than store bought or sugar laden ingredients even with this little loss. Azure Standard has a whole page detailing how to go about joining their co-op. You have to first check and see if they have a delivery spot where you live. Check out their getting started page here. Go ahead and give them a call and they will let you know if you are near a delivery zone.

      • ~M August 5, 2009 at 4:34 am #

        Great, thanks for this link. Do you have a post detailing all of the products that you find for the best price at Azure? Thanks!

        • Lindsay August 5, 2009 at 6:32 am #

          Yes, I think I have found most items for a better price from Azure Standard, especially if you buy items in a case. Unfortunately, they are becoming so incredibly popular that they aren’t the most reliable. Sometimes things don’t come or end up being out of stock, but still it is worth it. I have written a post with my recommendations here.

  23. Trina June 15, 2009 at 5:59 am #

    Lindsay, I find this world of alternative sweeteners so confusing at times – thanks for this post! I still have a question though – I found “organic evaporated cane juice” recently at my local bulk foods store and was delighted – I think. Is this the same as Rapadura? It is a fine, off white grain. Would this be a good substitute for white sugar, or is it just another one of those seemingly-healthy forms of fructose?

    • Lindsay June 16, 2009 at 7:03 am #

      Unfortunately, that is just a healthy form of fructose without the sprays. It still has been bleached and processed to get it white, loosing most of the nutrients. Rapadura and Sucanat are actually quite brown in color as they have not been bleached or processed. They look more like dried brown sugar.

      • C November 30, 2009 at 8:37 am #

        Do you add molasses or anything else when subbing sucanat for brown sugar (as opposed to subbing sucanat for white sugar)? Thanks!

        • Lindsay November 30, 2009 at 2:44 pm #

          No, it is a simple 1 cup to 1 cup conversion when using sucanat in replacement for brown sugar or sugar.

  24. Kate May 19, 2009 at 9:00 am #

    Lindsay,

    Do you have any information on Truvia? it’s being sold in my regular grocery store.

    • Lindsay May 20, 2009 at 6:46 am #

      No, I am not familiar with Truvia.

  25. Joanie February 6, 2009 at 6:15 am #

    Have you done any research on organic sugar? Is it the same thing as Rapadura?

    • Lindsay February 6, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

      I understand that Rapadura and Sucanat are far more nutritious than organic sugar because they contain the whole sugar cane, whereas organic sugar still goes through the process of removing the molasses part of the cane in order to produce the bleached white final product. The molasses part is where most of the nutrition is. The only benefit to organic sugar is that it is organically grown. It still goes through significant processing. I personally choose to avoid it for the least processed options.

  26. Coral November 17, 2008 at 12:44 am #

    Here’s a website I love to shop from for flaxseed, herbs, sea salt, etc and now it seems they have a good price for Stevia and gallon size glass jars. http://www.herbco.com/ I do live on a military base in Japan though so you may be able to get better deals locally and not have to pay shipping.

  27. Leah October 13, 2008 at 9:54 am #

    I’m a new reader of your blog and have been enjoying reading through your archives. I just wanted to caution you and your readers about the use of stevia. Here are a couple links to a blog where I first heard about the possible negative health effects of stevia. I hope you find them helpful.

    http://homemakingnaturally.blogspot.com/2008/09/note-about-stevia.html

    http://homemakingnaturally.blogspot.com/2008/09/more-about-stevia-and-honey-in-baking.html

    Grace & Peace,
    Leah

  28. Erin Sarah October 1, 2008 at 5:29 pm #

    In baking in our family we use Sucanat. My Dad can not take neither white or brown sugar or stevia, they all bother him. We just use 1/2 the sugar the recipe is calling for when we use sucanat in it and it (most times!)works out just fine.
    I hope this helps. God Bless.
    P.S. We use brown rice syrup too. Our family really enjoys rice syrup. We use instead of molasses and it works fine. The recipe just is a bit lighter in color!

  29. Lynn October 1, 2008 at 4:46 am #

    Yes, thank you for the information! It is so hard to find good answers that are right to the point :) You have contained it all really well! Thank you!

    I am still really learning about sweeteners and I may be wrong but can’t you just buy a Stevia plant? I have one and it was about $4. It grows like crazy :) I don’t know how you would use it in a recipe but wouldn’t it atleast work in salad dressing? I know that for my other herbs you simply dry the leaves and then crush or I put it through my little Oscar.

    • Evelyn February 7, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

      I saw a youtube on using stevia from the plant. It was wonderful! Go to nogreaterjoyministries and look for the one entitled “Making sweet juice.” You will be pleasantly surprised! God bless!

  30. Shelley September 30, 2008 at 11:08 pm #

    Thanks for the great info!
    I was curious about your comment on molasses, I’ve always thought it was really healthy for you. Do you have more information on it you could share? I’d like to learn more about it. Thank you! : )

  31. Mrs. Jo September 30, 2008 at 10:46 pm #

    Thanks for this post! I recently bought 12# of organic sucanat for $14 when the local health food store went out of business and had everything half off. (What a bummer that I didn’t get a chance to hit the sale until most everything was gone!)
    I didn’t even know for sure what sucanat was but it looked like “healthier sugar” so I got it to stock up for fall and winter baking.
    I appreciated all the comments on sucanat and am glad to know that it’s comparative to rapadura.

  32. Shelley September 30, 2008 at 9:09 pm #

    Thanks so much for the information on natural sweetners. I was just looking at some of those in a store today wondering about the different ones. Cooking healthier and more natural is still a work-in-process for me and I appreciate all the information you provide.

    I know you often referencing purchasing from Azure Standard. Have you ever compared the price from Azure Standard to WinCo Foods? I noticed there are 3 WinCo Food stores in Vancouver, WA so didn’t know if you had ever been to one. My grandpa says that WinCo Food’s prices on whole grains are a better price than Azure Standard, but I do not know if there is a difference on quality or if both offer natural sweetners or not, nor have I ever compared prices between the stores.

    • Theresa October 1, 2008 at 2:52 pm #

      The quality between Winco bulk items and Azure Standard is a huge difference! And Winco does not carry too much organic.

      • Lindsay October 1, 2008 at 2:59 pm #

        I have found a limited supply of organic items in the bulk section of Winco, including organic rolled oats (that is the only one that I found useful to me). They do have whole wheat grain, but I don’t believe it was organic. Winco’s prices are better, but their selection is definitely very limited for quality products. Being that they come in bulk containers, they are also subject to a lot more air as the containers are opened and close, thus they wouldn’t be as fresh either. I don’t believe they offer any natural sweeteners, or at least I have not seen them.

        • Shelley October 1, 2008 at 9:13 pm #

          Thank you for the information. I’m still new to this and appreciate your tips/adivce.

          • Kendra May 19, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

            I was very disappointed in the quality of Winco’s wheat berries. They are not organic, but what i really didn’t like was the relatively large proportion of berries that still had their husks on. As i went to grind them up I was spending several minutes picking out the the “husky” ones and even then I would still end up with some in my flour. The end product was still edible, but I don’t really like sticks in my bread.
            I do however purchase their steel cut oats. They have the best price on them that i have found. We eat a lot in our six person family and eating them twice a week, plus adding them to Lindsay’s recipe here. So i get them in bulk. I ask for them to bring a bag from the back. They are likely more fresh than the stuff in the bins too. It comes in 25 lb bags here. They are not organic, but they are great and the only way my hubby and kids will eat oatmeal.

        • Melissa @ Anxious for Nothing November 16, 2009 at 9:42 pm #

          For what it’s worth, Winco also carries organic brown rice and I believe organic Nancy’s yogurt. That’s about all, as far as I know. Oh, I have seen organic white sugar there, too.

        • Rachel September 18, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

          May I suggest we all write letters(or fill out the suggestion cards) to WinCo encouraging them to provide these ingredients. I’ve done this, and the more demand they get, the more likely we’ll see them start to carry products. When I moved to the Pacific NW, they didn’t have organic milk (or organic anything) and now they do. Keep encouraging them by buying whatever they do carry, and that will bring the price down for us all!

  33. Sarah September 30, 2008 at 6:41 pm #

    I was wondering if there was a better way to get stevia. I bought sweetleaf stevia powder from my healthfood store and was very disappointed. every recipe I try has a bitter after taste. :( It cost so much too that I am afraid to try a different brand.

    I already use raw honey and I am interested in trying rapadura. Thanks for the great info!!!!

    • Alison @ Wholesome Goodness October 1, 2008 at 6:03 am #

      I found the same thing with SweetLeaf, Now, and store-brand stevias. A friend kept telling me about NuNaturals NuStevia, so I finally tried it. It’s fantastic! I can’t get enough of the stuff. Sometimes you can find the brand in a health food store, but it’s easier to buy it online. They offer free shipping for orders over $35. I like their stevia powder and the vanilla stevia drops. Unlike other vanilla stevias, this one tastes amazing (it’s made with real vanilla extract). I love it in some plain whole yogurt. http://www.nunaturals.com

  34. Shellie September 30, 2008 at 3:17 pm #

    I just wish all of the natural stuff cost less! I would LOVE to eat more natural, but with white sugar costing $1.50 for a 5 lb bag, I just can’t weather the cost right now for the other, more natural replacements. I hope America comes to it’s senses soon! If there was more demand for the natural things, there would be more production, and the cost would go down.

    • Lindsay September 30, 2008 at 5:32 pm #

      Shellie,
      I can definitely understand your dilemma. It’s definitely possible to make the natural sweeteners stretch, as even with our tighter budget we make it work. We only have sweets maybe 2 times a week (normally one batch of baked goods and one dessert) in the first place, and thus it goes a long way. I only buy 1/2 gallon of honey every 2 1/2 months or 64 oz of maple syrup every 2 months. Whatever your family size you would be surprised at how it can stretch. If you can’t afford it, than I would recommend eliminating the white sugar altogether. IT would be better to not eat it at all.

  35. Valerie September 30, 2008 at 1:26 pm #

    I wanted to help clarify the debate over Rapadura vs. Sucanat. The FAQ page at http://www.westonaprice.org/faq.html#miscfood states that Sucanat was previously discouraged due to the type of processing it underwent. In recent years, however, they have changed how they make it, and Sally Fallon’s organization now accepts it as a natural sweetener. So if you have some on hand, don’t throw it out! There are lot’s of other interesting food tips at that link also.

    Thanks for all of the info, Lindsay! I’ve never considered using sorghum.

    • Lindsay September 30, 2008 at 2:05 pm #

      Thanks Valerie for clarifying that! Very good to know!

  36. Kim September 30, 2008 at 1:12 pm #

    I have been wanting to try rapadura, but my co-op only has ginormous packs. Maybe next month. I use honey when I make bread. I have never liked the taste of plain, store bought honey, but my uncle recently started raising bees. And that straight-from-the-comb stuff is heavenly.

    There has been a spate of advertising in favor of HFCS and how it’s just fine and like any other sweetner used in moderation. Everytime I hear that I want to scream. Maybe it is fine when used in moderation. The problem is that you can’t really ingest it in moderation because it is in EVERYTHING!

  37. Brittney Colyer September 30, 2008 at 11:12 am #

    Do you actually buy the 33 lb. bag of rapadura from Azure? I really want to shift from white processed sugar but thats a BIG purchase to make as I start on this transition.

    • Lindsay September 30, 2008 at 12:01 pm #

      If I can find a friend to split it with, I will buy the 33 lbs. But they also sell a small package for $4.15 for 24 oz.

  38. Ruth September 30, 2008 at 10:47 am #

    Since I am hypoglycemic and addicted to sugar, I had to start eating healthier. I went cold turkey and try to not even replace it with a substitute.
    I must say it’s like someone who stops smoking; I can actually taste the different flavors of food now. The sugar in all the processed food makes everything taste kind of the same articifial way.
    I only use honey when baking, but try to minimize that as much as possible, too.

  39. donna September 30, 2008 at 10:16 am #

    I wondered why I wasn’t hearing a ton of things concerning Agave in diet books and the like. I knew there had to be more to it than what I researched. Of course it is thus far the only sweetener I have wanted to try Stevia but it’s expensive at my local market however I have to make a mental note to check around other places. Plus Agave has a lot of calories IMO so wouldn’t mind continuing the search yet was sure I’d settled on a winner.

  40. Sara M. September 30, 2008 at 9:11 am #

    I know Sally Fallon (Nourishing Traditions) recommends using Sucanat. How is that different from Rapadura?

    Thanks for the info on stevia – I just started using it, so I’ll keep your points in mind. =)

    • Lindsay September 30, 2008 at 12:18 pm #

      Actually, I shared a quote in response to comment #1 about how Sally does not recommend Turbinado or Sucanut due to the fact that they are refined sugars and have had all the nutrients removed.

      • Lindsay September 30, 2008 at 2:07 pm #

        Valerie in comment #18 provided the updated information on Sucanut. Thanks Valerie!

  41. Michele @ Frugal Granola September 30, 2008 at 8:23 am #

    Great post! :) We especially love the raw honey. There is a farm in the Hillsboro area that sells raw honey, too.

    I haven’t been able to find sorghum syrup anywhere except Azure. Do you know of any stores around here that sell it?
    Thanks!
    Michele :)

    • Lindsay September 30, 2008 at 12:03 pm #

      There is a place here in Vancouver that I have purchased it from in the past. It is called Kunze Farm. They sell the Honey House Farms raw honey as well as sorghum. I prefer their sorghum over the Azure brand after comparing. It is definitely not as strong.

  42. Lorrie September 30, 2008 at 8:20 am #

    Great post! I am trying hard to kick the sugar habit. I have tried several of these things.

  43. DeAnna September 30, 2008 at 7:51 am #

    I have most of these at home, never tried Sorghum and I have no Stevia right now. Someone recommended a new brand to me, but the ones I’ve tried at the health food stores have such a bad after taste to me. What have you heard about organic brown rice syrup? I had read some good stuff about it and have some of that at home as well. http://www.brownricesyrups.com/ Oh, and I also have some xylitol someone gave me. I use maple syrup for breakfast items (I make it stretch by using some frozen fruit and maybe a Tbsp of maple syrup, heating that up on the stove just a very little and it adds liquid and my girls love the “fruit syrup” they get) I use rapadura and honey for baking, and will be trying the brown rice syrup for that as well. I use agave or honey for my tea. And the xylitol?? Not sure about that yet its one of those things, you tell people you eat alternatives to sugar and they give you what they think is best. :)

  44. Alison @ Wholesome Goodness September 30, 2008 at 6:00 am #

    While I love the flavor of raw, unfiltered honey, maple syrup, and Rapadura or Sucanat, my hypoglycemica has recently forced me to remove them from my day-to-day diet. I’m experimenting with stevia these days, though I do use powders and drops because of their superior taste. (The stevia leaves are fine in hot tea, but they are unsuitable for most other things, I find.) I’ve decided that, ultimately, the extra bit of processing involved is worth the good the stevia does for my pancreas. I love the NuNaturals brand! With their products, I’ve been able to make 100% stevia-sweetened ice creams that are delicious. This is really exciting!

    I’ve also tried xylitol and erythritol, but I just can’t get “into” them. They both give me this strange thirsty feeling. Ugh. I think I’ll stick with stevia for now!

  45. Nikki September 30, 2008 at 5:57 am #

    What is the best way to purchase stevia? I like this sweetener, but I think I must have the white powder.

  46. Dusty September 30, 2008 at 5:07 am #

    Oh wow! Thanks for the great info! I already knew about honey and use it in some of my recipes, but I’ve been wanting to find new ways to naturally sweeten things because, boy, do I love to bake! I’m going to have to look in to these!

  47. Erin Lasky September 30, 2008 at 5:02 am #

    I love the wealth of accurate information that you offer your readers! With so much main stream media confusing people these days it is refreshing to come here and be encouraged in simple, healthful living.

    Have you seen the add campaign in support of high fructose corn syrup? You might be interested . . .
    http://www.sweetsurprise.com/index.php

    Thanks again!
    Erin

    • Samara Root September 30, 2008 at 3:01 pm #

      Interesting stuff Erin! Hey folks, come and get your all-natural high-fructose corn syrup!

    • M.I.A in Minnesota September 30, 2008 at 6:28 pm #

      You have GOT to be kidding me! Now I’ve seen it all!

  48. stephanie September 30, 2008 at 2:42 am #

    Thank you for this post! I have been wanting to learn more about the different types of sweeteners, and this is very informative. We currently use Turbinado sugar that I get from our food co-op. Have you ever used that? I am wondering if it is the same as Rapadura?

    • Lindsay September 30, 2008 at 12:14 pm #

      Actually, Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions does not recommend the use of Turbinado or sucanut sugar. She says, “These are all refined sugars from which the nutrients have been removed. Small amounts of molasses may be added back to give a light brown color.” The ones I shared above are also among her recommendations.