There are many sugar substitutes on the market, but there are a couple of alternatives that might be superior to the traditional non-nutrative artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin. Some researchers believe consumption of artificial sweeteners leads to weight gain and altered gut microbiota. While the debate rages on, here are two of the newer alternatives showing up in products lately.
Made from the leaves of a plant grown in Brazil, Paraguay, Japan, and China
200-300 times sweeter taste than table sugar
Considered "no calorie", as it has less than 5 grams of carbohydrates
Has no impact on blood sugar or insulin levels
Highly purified extract is recognized by the FDA as generally safe in food
Heat stable, so can be used in baking
Brand names of stevia-containing products include: Stevia in the Raw, Purevia, Truvia
Monk Fruit Sweetener
Made from the fruit found in Southern China
Sweetness from an antioxidant called mogrosides
Limited testing, but small studies have found no impact on blood sugar levels
May have other ingredients, such as detrose
Have limited testing but the FDA has recognized it as generally safe
Brand names include: Monk Fruit in the Raw, Lakanto Golden Monk Fruit Sweetner, Pure Monk, Skinnygirl Monk Fruit Extract Liquid Sweetener
Look for more research and testing on both Monk Fruit sweeteners and Stevia containing sweetners. In the meantime, these seem like good alternatives to sugar, especially for those trying to improve their blood sugar control or lose a few pounds.