Our life is full of choices and decision making. One of them is: should I use sugar (um, but and the calories) or sweetener (um, but and all that chemistry)?

It seems like a simple choice, but for those who are now starting to try a dietary reeducation and losing weight it is not that easy. And if you are already full of doubts with only these two options, know that there are many others, in addition to refined sugar we have brown, crystal and even honey is an option.

According to the nutritionist at Sizele Rodrigues, who works at the Center for Sustainable Food and Nutritional Security (Cesans) at Secretariat of Agriculture and Supply of the State of São Paulo, Brazilians consume three times more sugar than the world average. “Paying attention to the ingredients of industrialized products and reducing sugar consumption are essential habits for those seeking a better quality of life”, says the health professional.

However, sweeteners should also be consumed in moderation, so it is important to respect your daily consumption limits.

Check out some tips below to make the best choice according to your day-to-day and your goals:

Refined sugar

Try to replace it. It loses more than 90% of its nutrients in the refinement process and contains chemicals to make it white and thin.

Remember that excessive consumption of refined sugar can cause hyperactivity, inflammation, acne, lipogenesis (accumulation of body fat) and risk of developing diabetes.

Crystal Sugar

It also loses practically all its nutrients, even though it does not have as many chemical additives as the refined one.

Brown sugar

It does not go through the bleaching, crystallization and refining process, so it contains a higher concentration of nutrients, with emphasis on the minerals calcium and iron.


Contains calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and manganese, vitamins

C and B and proteins, in addition to having functional nutrients such as FOS (fructooligosaccharides), important for the intestine. But don’t forget, as it is not a pasteurized product it should not be consumed by babies and children.

An important warning is that the brown sugar and honey are healthier because they contain more nutrients, but, like white sugar, they increase blood glucose and favor weight gain.

Raw sugar

It goes through a slight refinement process, however, it does not receive any chemical additives, better preserving its nutrients.

Organic sugars

NThey do not have any type of artificial ingredient, they are thicker and darker than the refined one, however, with the same sweetening power.

Light sugar

IS the combination of common refined sugar and artificial sweeteners, leaving it with greater sweetening power.

The ideal is to preserve the naturally sweet taste of food and make moderate use of the substances.


Sweeteners are composed of sweeteners, which are substances that have a much greater sweetening power than sucrose (refined sugar) and, therefore, should be used in much smaller quantities.

Among sweeteners are natural and artificial:

Natural sweeteners: fructose, sorbitol, mannitol and stevioside.

Artificial sweeteners: aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, acesulfame-K, sucralose.

The use of artificial sweeteners can be an alternative for people who do weight control or for diabetics.

According to the Brazilian Association of the Food Industry for Special Purposes and the like (ABIAD), about 35% of the general population consumes some type of dietary product, with the soft drink champion being zero.

Some alternative soft drinks are made with sweeteners, however, it is recommended to drink in moderation due to the amount of sodium in the drink.

So that sweeteners do not pose a health risk, it is necessary to know the recommended limits of daily consumption and not exceed them. To help you make your choices, see below the doses recommended by American Dietetic Association.

Name Type Characteristics Flavor Sweetening Power Calorie (kcal / g) Acceptable Daily Intake (mg / kg body weight)
Acesulfame K Artificial, derived from acetic acid. Stable at high temperatures, it is widely used in drinks, chocolates, jellies, dairy products, chewing gums and bread. Without residual flavor, it has sweetness that is easily perceived. 200 times greater than sucrose (sugar) Zero 15
Aspartame Artificial, combination of the amino acids phenylalanine and aspartic acid. It cannot go to the fire because it loses the power to sweeten. Good dissolution in hot liquids. It cannot be consumed by people with phenylketonuria. It is the most similar to sugar. 220 times higher than sucrose (sugar) 4 40
Cyclamate Artificial, derived from oil. It can go to fire, it should be consumed in moderation by hypertensive patients because it contains sodium (sodium cyclamate). Has an acrid-sweet aftertaste 40 times higher than sugar Zero 11
Fructose Natural, found in fruits and honey. It should not go to the fire because it melts, however, it maintains the power to sweeten. It caramelizes along with other sweeteners and can embody recipes. Taste similar to sugar, but a little sweeter 170 times bigger than sugar 4 Not established
Lactose Natural, extracted from milk. It is used to reduce the potentiation of other sweeteners. Similar to Sugar, but a little sweeter 0.15 times greater than sugar 4 Not established
Maltodextrin Natural, extracted from corn. It does not sweeten when going to the fire. Mixed with other sweeteners gives body to the recipe Similar to Sugar, but a little sweeter 1.5 times bigger than sugar 4 kcal / g Not established
Mannitol Natural, found in fruits and seaweed. Stable at high temperatures. Industrial use only, usually associated with sorbitol in drinks, cookies, candies and chocolates. It may have a laxative effect. Slightly refreshing flavor 0.45 times less than sugar 2.4 Not established
Neotame Artificial, derived from aspartame. You can go to the fire. It has no residual flavor. 7,000 to 13,000 times greater than sugar 2
Saccharin Artificial, derived from oil. You can go to the fire. Leaves residual metallic sweet taste 300 times greater than sugar Zero 5
Sorbitol Natural, extracted from fruits. It does not sweeten when going to the fire. It is mixed with other sweeteners, adds shine and viscosity to certain recipes, can have a laxative effect. Slightly refreshing flavor, similar to sugar. 0.5 times less than sugar 4 Not established
Stevia Natural, extracted from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant. You can go to the fire and enhance the taste of the food. Residual taste similar to licorice 300 times greater than sugar Zero 4
Sucralose Artificial, derived from sugar cane. Stable at high temperatures, used in several types of food. Like sugar, leaves no residual taste 600 to 800 times higher than sugar Zero 15
Xylitol Natural, extracted from xylose. It is used by industries in the manufacture of diet products and chewing gum, it can have a laxative effect. Slightly refreshing flavor, similar to sugar. Same sweetening capacity as sugar 4 Not established

By Antonio Montano