Many people are turning away from refined table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup,
    looking for more healthful options. They may be making wider changes, such as following a
    keto diet, which can help some people avoid unnecessary calories and lose weight.
    Also, people with conditions such as diabetes must be aware of the types of sweeteners
    that they use, as many affect blood sugar.
    While natural sweeteners can be a better alternative to refined sugars, some are less
    healthful than many people believe. Anyone considering switching sweeteners for health
    reasons may benefit from discussing options with a dietician or doctor.
    Stevia rebaudiana is a plant in the sunflower family and is native to parts of South
    America, and it can make stevia leaf extract. The leaves contain two primary compounds
    — one is extremely sweet, while the other is very bitter.
    Manufacturers extract the sweet compounds from the plant to produce stevia. These
    compounds can be up to 300 times as sweet as table sugar, and stevia extracts are naturally
    calorie free, making the sweetener a popular choice.
    However, some people feel that stevia is not truly “natural” because of the amount of
    processing required to produce the white, powdery stevia product in many stores. A person
    can purchase stevia leaves and leaf powder, though these may contain bitter as well as
    sweet compounds, and they are less widely available.
    Monk fruit
    Monk fruit, native to southern China, is another alternative sweetener. The fruit
    contains compounds called mogrosides, which can be 150–200 times as sweet as sugar,
    according to the International Food Information Council Foundation.
    However, although they are sweet, these compounds do not raise blood sugar in the same
    way that other sweeteners do. Monk fruit powder and extracts also contain no calories or carbohydrates.
    Yacon syrup
    Yacon syrup is sticky nectar harvested from the yacon plant, which is also native to
    parts of South America. The syrup is dark brown and resembles molasses.
    Yacon syrup contains calories. However, it is high in soluble fibers called
    fructooligosaccharides, which have just half the calories of regular sugar, as a review in
    the journal BMC MedicineTrusted Source notes.

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