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Stevia rebaudiana is a plant grown in South America that has been used as a sweetening agent for centuries, even though it is a relatively recent product in American culture. It is a natural alternative to sugar and chemical sweeteners. The sweetening agent contains no calories or carbohydrates. It also contains 1g of fiber per serving, unlike other sugar substitutes.
The market boasts a large range of commercially made chemical sweeteners. These low- to no-calorie sugar substitutes are great for the diet-conscious and are just as sweet, if not sweeter, than sugar. The two most popular chemicals used to make sugar substitutes are saccharin and aspartame. While some enjoy the taste in diet sodas and sweet treats, others complain of a bitter aftertaste with these chemical products.
Honey is an all-natural substitute for granulated sugar. It is made by honeybees, which process flower nectar and create the thick, syrupy material. It can be used easily in place of sugar as a sweetener in hot beverages, such as tea or coffee. Honey can also be used as a sugar substitute in baking, but the moisture of the honey changes the texture of the mixture. More flour might be needed to counteract the extra moisture. Because honey also is acidic, a teaspoon of baking soda may be necessary for balance.
Traditionally, agave is the plant that tequila is made from. However, it can also be used to make a sugar substitute that is natural and plant-based. This sugar substitute has a similar taste and consistency to honey, but it is certified vegan. Agave is also lower on the glycemic index than sugar or honey, so diabetics often use it as a sugar substitute. It has no unpleasant aftertaste and is sold in squeezable bottles.