A guide to choosing the best sugars, syrups, and sweeteners for you
A guide to choosing the best sugars, syrups, and sweeteners for you
YOUR SWEETENER BUYING GUIDE
By Adriane Campos
WhatSugar Blog is the first website to showcase the multitude of sugars and sweeteners available at national retailers and natural food stores from coast to coast in the United States. It is a much-needed, long-overdue guide to help us navigate the sweetener aisle and make sense of the variety of options and brands.
We have a far wider range of sweetening options than ever before, from coconut sugar and date syrup to allulose, monk fruit, and stevia. Having to choose between hundreds of sweeteners that taste and behave differently is overwhelming. WhatSugar Blog is a one-stop resource on how to choose and use sweeteners in any shape or form—be it liquid, granulated, sachets, tablets, or cubes—for cooking, baking, and coffee or tea.
What's the best sweetener?
The fact that I am asked time and time again, "What is the best sweetener?" is not surprising. The answer is complicated because it varies from person to person and depends on personal priorities and concerns. For some, it is the sweetener with the best taste or the healthiest choice. For others, it is a natural, minimally processed sweetener, without anything artificial, synthetic, and genetically modified (GMO). It might be sugar-free, zero-calories, or a low-carb sweetener for those following a specific diet. I hope you connect with the WhatSugar Blog to make informed choices and figure out for yourself which sweeteners are best for your particular needs.
The exhaustive and painstaking search for the best sweeteners for a specific need involves gathering information from products' labels, ingredients lists, nutrition facts, websites, and manufacturers. It is a complicated task for all of us, even for me as a chemical engineer and food technologist (and I have done food science research in three universities abroad and in America).
Since December 2016, I have been on a continuous quest to discover sweeteners with or without calories, natural, synthetic, and artificial in stores across the United States. I searched among the dizzying array of sweetening choices to be able to sort them out in a clear, consumer-friendly fashion. Officially launched nationwide in 2019, my goal is the WhatSugar Blog becomes a guide for home cooks, bakers, chefs, healthcare professionals, or anyone not willing to sacrifice sweetness in their life.
What does this website offer you?
Try new types of sweeteners and keep up to date with the latest products and brands to hit the stores. Enjoy having thousands of sweeteners conveniently sorted out, as I spend hundreds of hours researching them, so you don't have to. Explore products and brands you would not have come across otherwise. Choose the best sweetener for your personal preferences like zero calories, keto-, diabetic-, or tooth-friendly. Find similar alternatives, comparable brands, and practical information. See ingredients, nutrients, glycemic index, net carbs, sweetness, serving size, household measure/conversion charts (how to measure at home to get the same sweetness as table sugar), and cost compared to table sugar. Quickly recognize a product by seeing the front-of-the-package image of every product in all forms they are sold (liquid, granulated, powdered, sachets, cubes, or tablets).
How to browse through this website?
For starters, select "Start Here" in the main menu bar or visit each sweetener group based on the calories they provide: zero-calorie, reduced-calorie, and sugars. Refer to my blog posts, if you are looking for details of each sweetener such as source, production methods, appearance, taste, degree of sweetness, digestion & metabolism, culinary roles, price, safety, and pros & cons. The WhatSugar Blog is often in bullet point format instead of paragraphs to make it easier for readers to get the idea.
What is the Try it button?
I group similar sweeteners and display them here on this website in a way that you can immediately recognize them by looking at their front-of-the-package images in full color. You'll see ingredients, approximate relative package size, sweetness (compared to table sugar), glycemic index, net carbs, and Try it buttons for each sweetener.
If you find a product you are interested in, click the Try it button to be linked to that product on Amazon. Once on Amazon, read good and bad reviews. Scroll down and check all Q&As. Find images of labels and nutrition facts. Check price and package sizes. Purchase it if you want or just come back to explore other alternatives. Please note this blog is reader-supported. When you buy through Amazon links, this blog may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. That way, you support my work and make this website ads-free.
How often are pages updated with new products?
The pages are a constant work in progress as I look for every single sweetener available to consumers in the United States and sort them out. I am busy behind the scenes daily to keep you updated with the latest sweeteners to hit the market. Please subscribe and let me know what you find most useful so that I can bring you more of that in the future.
What is sugar?
The "sugar" we most often refer to is the one in our sugar bowl, sucrose from sugarcane or sugarbeet. However, in this blog, the word "sugar" means a simple carbohydrate from any source and is used to indicate caloric sweeteners. It encompasses a wide array of caloric sweeteners from many different sources, not only from cane or beet. Honey is sugar. Maple syrup is sugar. So is agave nectar, coconut sugar, and date syrup. Browse all sugars or the favorite sweetener among all, the refined sugar.
Reduce your dietary sugars, without having to eliminate them, by checking out the sugar blends Page.
For sugar-free options, explore the low-digestible sweetener and the zero-calorie sweetener pages.
Below, I answer some frequently asked questions about me...
Who are you?
My name is Adriane Mulinari Campos. I am a chemical engineer and a former researcher at Caltech (California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA) in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, where I worked with the development of a non-enzyme based glucose sensor under Professor Frances Arnold (a Nobel Prize Winner). I graduated from the Federal University of Paraná in Curitiba, Brazil, where I also earned a Master of Science Degree in Food Technology — thesis titled “Effect of various nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners on the formulation of jams with amidated pectin.” Before moving to the U.S., I held a faculty position for seven years at the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná in Curitiba, Brazil. I now work as an independent researcher in Richmond, VA.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Curitiba (pronounced cu-ri-CHEE-ba), a city in southern Brazil known as one of the most eco-friendly cities in the world. In 1996, my husband, a gastrointestinal surgeon, and I came to Los Angeles to do research. After that, we lived for seven years in San Francisco, six years in the Midwest, and then moved to Richmond, Virginia, with our two kids.
Why are you so interested in sugars and sweeteners?
When I started conducting research with sugar substitutes in 1990, I found myself having so much fun learning about sugars and sweeteners. I began to think that many people might be interested in becoming better informed about these foods that were more ubiquitous in our lives than ever before.
So, in 1996, a faculty colleague and I wrote a book called "Food for Special Dietary Uses: Dietetics, Sugar Substitutes, Fat Substitutes, Salt Substitutes, International Regulation, and Market," published in Portuguese in São Paulo, Brazil by Livraria Varela. Over 1300 references, mainly about sweeteners, were cited, with over 40 charts and tables on detailed information about the properties and applications of sixty sweeteners approved around the world. Today, it still is a reference tool for students, researchers, teachers, the food industry, and laypeople in Brazil.
Challenged by having to sort through the plethora of resources, opinions and controversies about sweeteners, the Public Health Surveillance Agency ("Vigilancia Sanitária") in the State of Paraná, Brazil invited me to become a member of the Advisory Committee for "Food for Special Dietary Uses" Regulation and Labeling from 1993 to 1999. At that time, no country in South America had these foods regulated, and Brazilian consumers struggled to find adequate nutrition information on many food labels. We, the committee, wrote the first-ever draft regulation for these foods in South America.
Fast forward to 2016, after living in the U.S. for almost twenty years, I saw a need for a blog that is impartial and not trying to persuade the public about this one sweetener that is best for everybody. A blog that did not contain a personal opinion nor made assumptions about the healthiest sweetener sold in stores across the U.S. Seeing that need, I sought to fill it with the What Sugar Blog.
Why are you blogging?
Sugars and sweet foods are among the most popular and widely consumed foods. That, combined with the widespread confusion over what each sweetener really is, makes it evident that we desperately need to better understand them so we can make smart choices and keep up to date with the latest sweeteners to enter the market.
WHY YOU SHOULD TRUST ME + DISCLOSURE
WhatSugar Blog is owned and operated by Adriane Mulinari Campos. I am a chemical engineer and food technologist. I have the background and credentials to bring accurate and reliable information on sugars and sweeteners sold to you in stores across the U.S.
WhatSugar Blog is a science-based and data-driven source. It's impartial, not trying to persuade you about anything, and not making any assumptions about sugars & sweeteners. It's built based on an exhaustive & painstaking search conducted by myself only.
WhatSugar Blog is not affiliated with the food & beverage industry. All brand or product names featured in this website and blog posts are patent and/or trademarks of their respective owners.
Unboxed products featured in blog posts or pages on this website are purchased all over the country, mainly California, Wisconsin, and Virginia. Some companies may have sent free samples of their products for review or exposure.
WhatSugar Blog does not promote or endorse one brand or sweetener over another. I occasionally write about a specific brand or sweetener. I may or may not charge the manufacturer for this service. Note that the payment does NOT guarantee a good review.
WhatSugar Blog is reader-supported. When you buy through Amazon links, this blog may earn a small affiliate commission. This is a one-woman business relying on Amazon affiliate commission to avoid ads.
WhatSugar Blog is a secure site. The https:// ensures that you are connecting to an official website and that any information provided or exchanged here is encrypted and transmitted securely.
I confess I have a sweet tooth and rarely go a day without a slice or bite of something sweet along with a sweetened "cafézinho" — a short black coffee. Sweetness brings me pleasure and comfort.
'When you are studying any matter, ask yourself only, "What are the facts, and what is the truth that the facts bear out?" Never let yourself be diverted, either by what you wish to believe or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed. But look only and solely at what are the facts.' — Bertrand Russell
The pages on this website are a work in progress as I look for every single sweetener available to consumers in the United States and sort them out.
This is a one-woman operation. I don't have a staff or a team. Everything is done by me.
Despite my effort to familiarize myself with as many sugars, syrups & sweeteners as possible,
if I overlooked your brand or product, please do not hesitate to contact me. I need to see front and back label images, nutrition or supplement facts label,
ingredients list, a decent website, and contact information (manufacturer/distributor with address in the U.S. only).
I welcome readers' comments to point out pros and or cons of a product.
Share the sweeteners you love here and, most importantly, tell us why!
WhatSugar blog & channel
By Adriane Mulinari Campos
Everywhere in the USA | Based in Richmond, VA