April 25, 2023

Healthy Vegan Sugar Alternatives & Syrups

Experience the Sweetness of a Healthy & Sustainable Diet with Sugar Alternatives & Syrups

Let me share my favourite healthy vegan sweetener alternatives so you do not have to completely miss out on sweet goods, avoid unnecessary sugars and maximise your nutrient intake. I use those in baking, add to my coffee, or matcha when I’m in the mood for something sweet.

Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

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Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is the thickened sap of maple trees. It is produced naturally and carries many substances, less fructose and more iron than other syrups. However, maple syrup is quite expensive since it comes from Canada and is, for the most part, environmentally unfriendly. It is a classic pancake topping, and it’s used in baking and savoury dishes and sauces.

Agave Syrup

What I find interesting about agave syrup is that it is extracted by hand from the cactus plant (agave). It is produced in Mexico, Guatemala, Puru and the United States.

Raw food enthusiasts love it since it’s not being treated with heat above 45 degrees during processing! It is inexpensive and has a low glycaemic index and subtle flavour. It can be used to sweeten cold drinks, and it is great for adding body fat due to its high fructose content.

(Brown) rice syrup

Rice syrup is made from rice flour, whose split starch molecules produce liquid glucose, then thickened into rice syrup with the help of heat. It is suitable for those who are sensitive to fructose since it simply contains no fructose. Rather large quantities of it have to be used in order to have a good sweetness effect.

Coconut sugar & syrup

Both the sugar and the syrup come from the sap extraction of the coconut palm, which is then thickened into syrup and then crystallised into sugar. It is (mostly) ethically sourced and has a sweet and caramel-like flavour, making it rather popular. Coconut sugar is my preferred sugar kind or sweet dishes like pancakes, banana bread and muffins, and the syrup goes well in cereal, hot drinks, smoothies etc.


Dates can be used in many ways, both in cooking and baking! They are very nutritious and contain various vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. The best way you can substitute sugar with dates is to make date paste by mixing dates and water in a blender.


Most applesauce brands have added sugars, salts and additives, so the simplest way to avoid all these is to make your own.

Something to keep in mind is that 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce contains ~100kcals, whereas 1 cup of sugar contains ~800kcals. That’s a big difference.


When baking, you can, of course, use any of the alternatives mentioned above. Here are my personal favourite healthier options besides sugars and syrups that seem to be working well, particularly in baking;

  • bananas
  • dates
  • applesauce
  • sweet potatoes
  • figs


Sweeteners that are often mistaken as vegan but are not are honey, (some) molasses, most white and brown sugar, and granulated sugar.

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