Doctor's Note

For more on dates, check out these videos:
How to Reach the Antioxidant "RDA"
Spicing Up DNA Protection

And check out my other videos on sweeteners

For further context, also see my associated blog posts: The Best Foods: test your nutrition knowledgeIs There a Safe, Low-Calorie Sweetener? and Which Common Fruit Fights Cancer Better?

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on sweeteners. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • JJ

    Since seeing this video, I have been trying date sugar in my breakfast food. It seems to take a lot of date sugar to sweeten to my satisfaction and date sugar is pretty spendy. I’m willing to spend for a good cause (my health), but I’d like to minimize the expense as much as possible. Does anyone have recommendations for relatively affordable date sugar? Would this be one of those foods where it is very important to get organic?


    • Tawakoni1

      Chop up little chuncks of dates instead. Whole dates are also easy to use in baking and make a moist product.

    • twinkle

      Sometimes I just eat date/nut balls for breakfast

    • CP

      Just grind up whole dates. It might be easier to make a paste. Dates are about 2/3 sugar, so you do have to use more. You can grind up other dried fruits too.

    • Cathal Spelman

      Best way to use dates for sweetening is to get dry dates, and soak them overnight in water, covering them well. Next morning you will have soft soaked dates that are ideal for using in smoothies or any blended food. You will also get a sweet dark liquid which is ideal to add to teas or lemon juice. Don’t use Medjool or Deglet Noir dates, but rather use the other varieties that are dry when you buy them. Best to get stoned dates unless you want the job to de-stone them!

  • morechocolate

    This does not address the very important information of how the body’s blood sugar reacts to the sweetener. This claims that brown rice syrup has no nutritional content; however, I’ve read quite the opposite and that, in fact, it is one of the best sweeteners as it does not cause the blood sugar levels to spike the way sugar and most sweeteners do. Would really appreciate clarification on that.

    • Lucas

      The fact that a particular sweetener does not effect blood sugar is not the deciding factor on whether or not the sweetener is healthy. Brown rice syrup is composed of about 50% complex carbohydrates, which break down more slowly in the bloodstream than simple carbohydrates but it has all of its nutrients removed. Brown rice syrup is also about half as sweet as sugar but with the same amount of calories, forcing you to use more of it. The reason why date sugar is best is because all of the vitamins, minerals and fiber is still intake.

  • becochic

    Yep I read the same about agave… that it doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar as much.

    • Lucas

      The fructose content of agave syrup is much higher than that of high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup contains 55% fructose while agave nectar syrup contains 90%. Fructose does not impact insulin levels as much as sucrose, but it is still not optimal to consume fructose outside of fruit that one would eat whole.

  • Dr. Greger,
    I am a big fan of the The other day I was watching a video about the healthiest sugar and you named date sugar because it is made using a whole food and it has fiber. I had my wife find some when she went to Portland, OR. She brought back organic date sugar. Dates are the only ingredient. It is in a granulated form. It even has a warning that there may be pit fragments. When I looked on the nutritional label, it says, “Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV)”. Why would that be?

    • Toxins

      Hello Luis!

      To answer your concern, the daily value will always say 0 if it is under .5 grams per serving. You will notice, presumably, many servings for your date sugar. I see some in the upper 100’s. Since it is a whole food, it has fiber. It will just be under .5 grams per serving due to the many servings per container. To see more on serving sizes view this video
      Hope this clears up your question!

    • harold jitschak bueno de mesqu

      Maybe the following article will make you happy on top of the wonderful video of Dr Greger:

      Israel’s pomegranate is packed with health benefits.

      Health benefits of the pomegranate
      are well known. Now, Israeli scientists have shown that the
      combination of pomegranate juice and dates along with their pits provide
      maximum protection against atherosclerosis (plaque buildup or hardening
      of the arteries), which can cause a heart attack
      or stroke.

      number of risk factors are involved in the development of
      atherosclerosis, including cholesterol oxidation, which leads to
      accumulation of lipids in the arterial wall, according to the
      team of researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

      antioxidants can slow down the oxidation process in the body, and serve
      to reduce the risk of heart attack. For the past 25 years, Professor
      Michael Aviram, of the Rappaport Faculty
      of Medicine and Rambam Medical Center, and his research team have been
      working on isolating and researching those antioxidants, in order to
      keep plaque buildup at bay.

      stimulate the removal of cholesterol from lipid-laden arterial cells.
      Photo courtesy of Hadiklaim Israeli Date Growers Cooperative

      – ISRAEL21c –

      Pomegranate-date cocktail winning combination in keeping heart healthy

      Posted By
      Viva Sarah Press On April 23, 2015 @ 8:10 am In | No Comments

      Israel’s pomegranate is packed with health benefits.

      Health benefits of the pomegranate
      are well known. Now, Israeli scientists have shown that the
      combination of pomegranate juice and dates along with their pits provide
      maximum protection against atherosclerosis (plaque buildup or hardening
      of the arteries), which can cause a heart attack
      or stroke.

      number of risk factors are involved in the development of
      atherosclerosis, including cholesterol oxidation, which leads to
      accumulation of lipids in the arterial wall, according to the
      team of researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

      antioxidants can slow down the oxidation process in the body, and serve
      to reduce the risk of heart attack. For the past 25 years, Professor
      Michael Aviram, of the Rappaport Faculty
      of Medicine and Rambam Medical Center, and his research team have been
      working on isolating and researching those antioxidants, in order to
      keep plaque buildup at bay.

      stimulate the removal of cholesterol from lipid-laden arterial cells.
      Photo courtesy of Hadiklaim Israeli Date Growers Cooperative

      into the most recent study, the team was aware of the individual
      benefits provided by pomegranates and dates. Pomegranate juice, rich in
      polyphenolic antioxidants (derived from plants),
      has been shown to most significantly reduce oxidative stress. Dates,
      which are rich sources of phenolic radical scavenger antioxidants, also
      inhibit the oxidation of LDL (the so-called “bad cholesterol”) and
      stimulate the removal of cholesterol from lipid-laden
      arterial cells.

      Aviram had a hunch that since dates and pomegranate juice are composed
      of different phenolic antioxidants, the combination could thus prove
      more beneficial than the sum of its parts.

      a trial performed on arterial cells in culture, as well as in
      atherosclerotic mice, the Technion team found that the triple
      combination of pomegranate juice, date fruits and date pits
      did indeed provide maximum protection against the development of
      atherosclerosis because the combination reduced oxidative stress in the
      arterial wall by 33% and decreased arterial cholesterol content by 28%.

      researchers report that people at high risk for cardiovascular
      diseases, as well as healthy individuals, could benefit from consuming
      the combination of half a glass of pomegranate
      juice (4 ounces), together with 3 dates. Ideally, the pits should be
      ground up into a paste and eaten as well, but even without the pits, the
      combination is better than either fruit alone.

      The findings were published in
      Food & Function, a journal of The Royal Society of Chemistry.

      • Guest

        How would you eat the pits?

  • Fascinating! Thank you Dr. I would love it if you added liquid Stevia to your comparison. It’s my go to for sweetening herbal teas, smoothies or oatmeal.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Thanks for your question Crystal. I cover Stevia in my video “Is Stevia Good For You?

      • Roberta

        Stevia can be purchased as dried whole leaf (which I have experienced years ago as tasting awful). I have found certain brands of white powdered stevia tastes great. However, I would think that those who plant stevia in the garden might have the superior nutrition which green leaves tend to provide as part of the package.

  • yurple

    How about whey-low? It is a combination of fructose, lactose and sucrose, I believe (please check me), and supposedly has a much lower glycemic index than regular sugar because of the way the sugars work together. Any harm?


      The harm is found in those side effects associated with glucose and fructose. Whey-Low has the added harm connected with milk protein (whey), which, to me, would decrease it’s popularity among health conscious individuals. This product’s lower glycemic index (if it does), does not out-weigh the whey!
      Research the side effects of whey. See how these various sugars rank in this video:

      • muskratboy

        Whey is one of the best things you can possibly put into yourself. There is no “harm” from normal whey intake.

        Whey protein is a very available, very easily used protein… which is why it is used by all serious athletes, everywhere.

        • s

          actually, muskratboy, whey is an animal protein used in many reliable and valid studies that have shown that even a small amount of animal protein leads to a high risk of developing a “diseases of affluence” (diabetes, heart disease, cancer). Eliminating animal protein consumption actually can cause reversal of disease. Interestingly, plant-based proteins do not have the same effect as animal proteins. There is mountains of research to verify this, stretching back to 1909, but I will direct you to the book called “The China Study”, written by T. Colin Campbell. Consuming whey or any other animal protein is simply a dangerous, high risk behavior with consequences.

          • muskratboy

            And of course, you know that the China Study was focused on meat animal protein, and had nothing to do with whey protein, which is a totally different thing.

            They’re talking about meat, man. Not refined milk protein.

          • Norman Levine

            China study was not focused on meat animal protein strictly, it focused on all animal protein including dairy. Have you read the book? How else, please tell me, how he came to the conclusion that all animal protein was indeed dangerous to health? You are on the wrong site because every one of us will be in opposition to your opinion. Incidently, not all serious athletes use whey. Serious vegan athletes use real food of plant origin, not extracts or supplements, whey being essentially a waste product of certain dairy products from the milk of our poor, tortured dairy cows. You and your serious athletes are suckers for the dairy establishment to fatten their wallets in buying their waste products. Not a thing is left unused you know if it will make profit. I see ignorance in your statements. Why don’t you do some research so you can make educated statements by truly knowing the information coming from each side (plant based, animal protein based diets) ?

          • muskratboy

            ok, first off, if you want anyone to ever listen to anything you say, reel back on the attitude. Being a jerk is never going to earn you anything.

            Secondly, whey is not a waste product of anything, any more than cheese or butter is a waste product.

            Besides, using every part with no waste is a good thing. Why would you want to waste food?

            You’re right, vegan athletes don’t use whey. So honestly, we can only say that 97% of all athletes use whey, not all of them. Excellent point.

            I have heard of leaky gut… Which has nothing to do with whey. If you want to blame all your hypochondria on whey, feel free… but that has nothing to do with reality.

            Whey protein is the cheapest, most readily available, most easily digested protein for the vast majority of people, and making up horror stories about it isn’t helping anyone. I’d say educate yourself, but clearly your glass is already full. The fact that you think meat and whey are exactly the same thing just shows your irrationality about the whole thing.

            Nix the attitude, read some actual information, and stop spreading ridiculous stories about a bunch of nonsense.

          • trope

            whey is definatley a bi-product of mainly the cheese industry. they used to toss it, now they dont … no big deal though, i personally dont need protein n have always been an advocate on not using it. the person you were replying to did not say that whey causes leaky gut, they were referring to the china study which points out animal proteins, could be whey, milk, meat, has been linked to causing it. i personally believe everyone is different n if you want to eat meat thats fine. make yourself aware of where your food comes from n how it gets from pasture to your plate. i find it ridiculous on how we treat animals in the us, n raping cows to get milk n abducting there young just to raise in a cage as veil or live another tortured life of impregnation n then go through the same cycle , its sick. but either way one thing is true no matter who you are. processed crap like whey or even plant proteins n other processed “food” is not optimal for anyone n may actually cause most these ailments our world deals with. i have problems with the china study . the fact that esselystein or whoever turns on and off cancer. liver cancer i believe, is believable for a rat cause he proved it. but now the “dogma” is that meat turns on cancer. noooo way, thats some china whisper shit happenin from the china study n now the whole world is mislead, even the vegans. how bout we all just believe no one. try everything, even going vegan n eating alot, go raw for a few months, then try meat again, i personally have done this and wont go back to meat. my digestion, complexion, weight , just everything is better for me.. so dont get an attitude yourself there buddy , n be open to absolutley everything

          • Roberta

            I think whey has less of the cancer promoting methionine in it, where as cheddar cheese and other cheeses get more methionine after the milk is separated into that which cheese is made from and that which whey is made from. I researched this years ago, when I was horrified that my daily protein shakes could be cancer promoting in the long run. I loved my whey shakes but gave them up because I learned that the antioxidants in the fruit I was using was less available. When a calf Is growing 600 pounds in 6 months, it is as if the energy in the cow milk is saying “allow absolutely nothing that interferes with growth!”
            I was in the Bill Phillips muscle challenge years ago and one of the things Bill Phillips wrote in his Magizine is that his diet program was for growing muscles,not for longevity.

          • Charzie

            How is any part of a fluid produced and secreted for the specific needs of a baby cow even remotely something you would care to ingest, unless you were starving and desperate, custom aside? Unless you would get under that cow and suck her udder for whatever unimaginable reason, ingesting anything related to cow milk is just as ludicrous. THINK, don’t be a lemming with the masses, or let brainwashing and personal preference negate your intelligence, which you obviously have.

          • jazzfeed

            Nice repulsive picture you’ve painted there though it’s based on philosophy, not physiology or biochemistry. I am not an unintelligent lemming. My belief is that raw, full-fat milk from clean grass-fed cows is fine and nutritious to humans. The damage is done by the middlemen, industry (hormones, antibiotics, heating, homogenizing). That’s why I don’t drink milk – I don’t have a cow. I drank Alta-Dena raw milk throughout the seventies in California, maybe 1-2 quarts a week. It was “Certified”, meaning all production facilities were inspected as hygienic by the the state Health Dept. I’m 72 now – no diseases, no Rxs.

          • Charzie

            Philosophy and aesthetics? No, it is fact and reality…very much based on physiology and biochemistry. No other animal drinks milk past infancy for a reason… there is no need for it. Taking it from another species is even more aberrant. I respectfully submit that just because we learn a behavior that we enjoy and it supplies satiety, that does not make it fine or nutritious just because we choose to believe it is. There are loads of studies about the detriments of milk, from causing Type I diabetes in children and beyond, to other auto immune issues, cancer, heart disease, and so on. You can find a slew of them here, with their scientific citations.

            I’m glad you have no diseases, you are lucky. I smoked two packs a day for 40 something years and I am extremely lucky also to be alive and relatively healthy at 63, but should I “believe” that it was a good idea or health promoting because I enjoyed it and lots of other people did it too? Even though when I started smoking we were told it actually was good for you! Hmmm…

            Why would you think sucking a cow’s udder is repulsive, but drinking her milk is not? It isn’t a matter of semantics, teats are nature’s milk dispensers, put there for the sole purpose of enabling baby animals of that particular species to suckle nutrition from their mother! A lactating cow is not some kind of inert handy beverage vending machine for humans. It is a sentient mother bovine who is making natures perfect food for her offspring…a species specific mucous secretion full of everything a growing calf needs, provided for them before they are able to digest other types of food. That is a biological fact. My ideology has no bearing on it.

          • jazzfeed

            I can’t argue with the pointed sarcasm of “A lactating cow is not some kind of inert beverage vending machine for humans”! These chats though should always distinguish what’s being talked about … is it philosophy or physiology? Because many statements mix them together and become incoherent.
            Problem w/me is I grew up w/dairy in my diet plus at this point I need all the fat I can get at 5′ 8½” and down to less than 125 (for several reasons). I really want to weigh 15 lbs more. So I’m consuming organic butter blended w/olive oil, ghee, organic kefir, organic full-fat yogurt (along w/olive oil, coconut oil and coconut milk and homemade almond milk). But no cow’s milk.
            I also smoked but stopped 35 years ago.
            I actually don’t know for myself how long I breast-fed as an infant (mother is passed). But this with what you say makes me wonder … Theory: Human breastmilk and cow’s milk have a different BUT OVERLAPPING array of nutrients, and many in cow’s milk are beneficial to humans. (I get you are saying there are negative molecules as well EVEN FROM 100% ORGANICALLY GRASS-FED with zero hormones or antibiotics. Right?) So the first hypothesis from the theory that comes to mind is :: The more one is deprived of breastmilk in infancy, the more one will desire cow’s milk in adulthood(?). I doubt there’s a study but it’s testable! Or it could be that the mother’s breastmilk of adult milk drinkers was nutrient-deficient and their bodies are always trying to “make up”. More hypotheses can be generated and tested …
            Hope you’re having a warm dairy-free Christmas.

          • Charzie

            Sorry, I guess I sound like a raging militant “vegan”, but I’m not. Health misinformation nearly led to my demise because I trusted those in the know…to know, but they often don’t. What I didn’t know almost killed me.

            Looking back, I apparently have always had issues with animal products, they didn’t like me, and eventually, the feeling was mutual. Milk for starters was never a favorite, but when I was growing up, there was no way you could get past drinking it…mother insisted! It literally made me sick, and in school I used to give my seatmate my carton, until my teacher caught me and made me drink it. It was especially bad on an empty stomach, but I choked it down… came back up a short time later, all over my poor seat mate’s nearly finished exam! I felt so bad, but I told the teacher that was why I gave it away, and after that, she looked the other way and didn’t even tell my parents! LOL. The whole point is dairy didn’t agree with me, maybe more so than most, but for a good reason… it isn’t meant for us. Not everyone has an overt issue with it I know, because we are so amazingly adapted for survival, but survival is not health. Since all nature cares about is that we make it to pass on our genes, if we want to extend our lives, we have to take good care and since what we put into us is what we are, to know the best nutrition facts. (Ahem, a plug?) We are sold a bill of goods from those who profit from our acceptance and compliance.

            When I started smoking, it was a healthy habit, doctors recommended their favorite brands! I was quite the addict, and eventually found out what they pretty much knew all along…not a good idea! Not everyone got cancer or emphysema, but the effects were far less than healthful! It’s the same with some things we ingest. We like it, and don’t want to stop eating it or believe it isn’t healthy. But the info is out there, (much to the chagrin of its promoters), and to make the best choices, we need to know the actual truth.

            Some of the more recent studies on the amazing qualities of breast milk are profound! Here is just one, but it really drives home that milk is such an intricate, species specific, perfect infant food for so many reasons, not a beverage!

          • Go Vegan.

            Thanks Charzie for being logical.

          • Charzie

            Um, no offense but I think you are the one who needs to garner some actual information and stop spreading ridiculous stories about a bunch of nonsense. Whey is a by-product of cheese making, which conveniently morphed into a trendy hook for profit on the gullible unfortunates and wanna be muscle heads who still think excess protein is of some benefit. Please, help yourself to it if you so desire, but take the inane propaganda elsewhere. Like the man said, you are on the wrong site. The people here are intelligent and educated in studies and scientific facts, not blogosphere recycled opinion posing as legitimate information.

          • muskratboy

            Yeah, you seem intelligent and educated. I mean, protein = excess protein, right? They are the same thing? If someone is taking whey, they’re taking excess protein by definition? And these ‘muscle heads’ … who spend most of their lives using supplements, studying what works best, experimenting on their own bodies… they’re all wrong? And the thousands of athletes who supplement… they’re all wrong too?

            “In all probability, their deaths were a result of too much protein consumption, coupled with the use of performance enhancing substances day after day until their organs failed.”

            Do you realize what a nothing, nonsense, absolutely garbage sentence that is? In all probability? Coupled with “substances?” That sentence says nothing, means nothing, and just shows that guy is perfectly happy to just make stuff up. In all probability? Come on.

            I’m not sure you realize how ironic it is for you to use the term ‘propaganda.’ Really, that’s hilariously ironic.

          • Charzie

            See, most intelligent people get all their necessary protein from real FOOD like we evolved to do, not supplements. which you apparently do. That implies you either don’t know how to eat, OR you eat well and take in excess protein via supplements. Get it? Do you even know what a healthy amount of protein is and what biological function it has that you feel the need to supplement with it (because all those smart athletes do), let alone what is excess? Didja know that we were once told cigarette smoking was a health benefit, and even doctors recommended them and had favorite brands? Products exist because someone makes a profit.
            So good luck with that. Bye bye now, enough trolling, and have fun experimenting!

          • muskratboy

            Whey is a real food. Obviously. And people who eat whey aren’t less intelligent, again obviously. Perhaps people who link whey consumption and intelligence might be considered less intelligent, however.

            And, of course, supplementing protein isn’t necessarily “excess” protein unless it is, in fact, excess. Where the protein comes from doesn’t designate it as excess. Again, I’d think, obviously.

            But yes… I do know the answers to all those things you ask. The Internet makes it pretty easy to know information about your simple questions, no matter how condescendingly you ask them. I also don’t go around having opinions about things I don’t know anything about, as that would be silly.

            But sure, I can play this… Do YOU know the “healthy” amount of protein for an athlete, or someone who is trying to gain muscle, vs. someone who sits around all day? Do you know the importance of complete branch-chain amino acids? Do you know the importance of highly available protein to rapid muscle recovery and growth?

            Did you know that comparing protein from milk sources, which behaves exactly the same as any high-quality protein in your body, to cigarettes is utterly ridiculous and irrelevant?

            If you are trying to add muscle mass, it requires a lot of building blocks. You can get them from “real food” or from whey sources, and it builds the same muscle. And since it can be hard to eat enough healthy “real food,” supplementing whey protein is an easy and perfectly healthy way to make sure your protein intake is optimal.

            Note, optimal. Not excess. The source of the protein has no impact on its excess (obviously)… you can eat excess protein in “real food” if you try.

        • Ramanand

          haha so not tue. whey is very damaging to health. and to the poor animals.

  • veganteen

    This information is wonderful, thank you! I do have one question, though, because I’ve been hearing from a lot of sources that Sucanat is a generally healthy sweetener. For someone that is pretty much avoiding everything that is unhealthy, would Sucanat be ok to use in baking cookies? I can’t seem to get date sugar to make them sweet enough.


      Hi Veganteen, Sucanat is only healthier because unlike refined sugar, it isn’t filtered through animal bone charcoal! Use Sucanat for your occasional treat. Try applesauce, orange jc concentrate or dried cranberries as alternatives. Have fun experimenting!

  • PeterGerry

    In the study, was raw honey used? One might expect raw honey to have more antioxidants?

  • Shopgirl

    Hi, Thank you for all your wonderful videos.
    What is your opinion on Manuka Honey? Is it good for us? Do you know where it would fit in the line up of this video?
    Thank you in advance for your reply.
    Kind regards, B

  • Jessica

    In some of your recipe suggestions, such as your hibiscus punch, you suggest using erythritol. I am reluctant to feed my daughter (age 6) any artificial sweeteners, even those like erythritol that appear to be harmless. I’ve had trouble finding date sugar, though I do plan to try to make my own. While I realize some other sweeteners have fewer antioxidants (brown sugar) or none (agave), would there be any harm in using these sweeteners in otherwise health-boosting recipes for someone who is not overweight?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      You always want to try to boost your family’s nutrient to calorie ratio, and those sweeteners are basically just a bucketload of empty calories. If you have a good blender you can blend some (pitted) dates in and don’t have to worry about finding date sugar.

      • ktyler44

        Do you have to dry the dates first?

  • What about Palm Sweet Coconut Sugar?

    • OmTigressDoingGood

       Yes, my question also….what is your opinion of coconut sugars?

    • Aaron Hollander

      Yes, please address coconut palm sugar, It seems to be no different than white table sugar, with the exception of being less refined and therefore having some nutrients and a claim of a lower Glycemic Index; however, the lower GI claim is suspect as it is based on a small Philippine government study (main supplier).

  • ghulstyle

    how about salty flavours? Table salt is bad for your health but are there any healthy alternatives?

    • Toxins

      Iodized salt is actually ok, as long as you keep your daily sodium intake 1200-1500 mg or less per day you will be just fine. People who are at high risk for heart disease, or people trying to reverse it should keep their intake at 500 mg or less.

      • ghulstyle


      • Norman Levine

        Iodized salt you buy at a regular grocery store does contain a form of aluminum (sp?) to prevent caking of the salt, which you may want to avoid, and yes I think Toxins has the mg count of allowable sodium intake about right—so if you can control your sodium intake using only a little, using some salt is ok. Actually, Dr. McDougall thinks the recomendation from the medical estalishment to lower salt intake to decrease blood pressure and to improve heart disease, is used as a “scapegoat” to avoid revealing the real culprit of disease–high dietary fat intake, which most people seem incapable of doing (almost universally). I believe Dr McDougall’s recomendation for acceptable salt intake may be higher than that of Toxins in the comment above, perhaps up to 2000 mg for healthy people.

    • h7opolo

      Himalayan pink salt is nutritious.

      • In what way, h7opolo?

        • Lily

          Why did you respond to this statement but none of the other many questions and statements on this thread? Just wondering.

          • Anniebananie

            Just my first thought… Could be because he’s always searching for information and wondering if this poster knows something that he hasn’t seen yet.

      • Norman Levine

        If this is true, only in miniscule amounts. Certainly not enough to warrant using it in excess amounts. I think it is just pretty, that’s all but it does not contain iodine as far as I know.

    • Norman Levine

      Herbs, that’s really about it, unless you want to try potassium salt (only if you don’t have kidney disease) but I have no idea what it tastes like. As far as I know there is no fake salt that closely resembles the taste of real salt but I could be mistaken. You just have to learn to eat food without it which many people do. Same with sugar, there is no such thing as a substance that tastes just like sugar that is not actually sugar–including eryrithritol (sp?) which approximates the taste of real sugar most closely but not exactly like sugar. It has a minty after taste and is definitely less sweet in equal proportions to sugar. Plus pretty darn exspensive if you use it a lot in cakes, smoothies, whatever on an everyday basis. We just gotta get over our fat, sugar, salt addictions…plain and simple.

  • vegan2u

    Jeff Novick who works a lot with Dr Mcdougall, points out that if you read the label on packaged date sugar, it has 0’s for any nutrition, perhaps the fresh food is better. Molasses on the other hand states lots of nutrients on the bottle, what gives? Also, the blood sugar effects of Date sugar are purported to be low but is that because it is high in fructose? Thank you…

  • liseroy

    I would like to know your opinion about honey. I don’t eat it but I need arguments.

    I would also know your opinion about apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar.

    Thank you.

  • ghulstyle

    honey is shown 3:06 in the video

    vinegar seems to be helpful, allthough i dont know about balsamic


    Could you please tell me if Xylitol is any good. I am a diabetic, still have a very sweet need, what would be best for me to use, if any?

  • bgrune

    As some other viewers have pointed out, there might be other factors besides antioxidant content to consider. Where a sweetener falls on the glycemic scale would seem to be important. Someone asked about coconut palm sugar and it is my understanding that it is quite low on the glycemic scale, has a high mineral content and presumably antioxidants, and is ecologically sustainable to boot. I can personally attest that it is quite delicious. I would love to see what Dr. Greger can find out about this sweetener.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    For some context, please check out my associated blog post The Best Foods: Test Your Nutrition Knowledge!

  • Lizw798

    disappointed to see the results for agave.  got caught up in the raw food mentality.  I wonder if there are any studies for the coconut nectars/sugar and green leaf stevia. 

  • If we lived in a place where we could directly pick and eat sugarcane, it wouldn’t be so bad. A sort of unrefined version is jaggery (used in India).

    • barbarabrussels

      Nice find! I shall check at my local indian supermarket next time I’m there ;-) read the Elsevier article through your link, thanks for that.

    • Ramanand

      love jaggey but have only seen it in India and yeah sugarcane is great when it comes in the form of cane juice or just by chewing on the stalk.

      • Charzie

        I get it at a local Asian/Indian market.

        • jazzfeed

          what city?

  • Doctor Greger, I keep bees in my back yard and harvest raw honey for our family’s main sweetener. It is my understanding that raw honey is nutritionally superior to store-bought pasteurized honey (and it is also lower on the glycemic index). Where do you think raw honey would fall in this chart?

  • I’d be interested in how coconut sugar compares to the rest of the sweeteners?

  • Audrey_dh

    What about coconut sugar/nectar?

  • Joe

    How about barley malt syrup? It’s sold in my local health food store in the same place as other liquid sweeteners.

    • Norman Levine

      All of us, including myself, seem determined and desperate to find some kind of “healthy” sugar to keep up our sugar addictions. Unfortunately I am pretty certain all sugars, both natural and artificial, have little to offer to our health. Most are damaging with the exception of eryrithritol according to Dr. Greger, but this may be disproven in the future. Eryrithritol certainly will hurt your pocket book, however!!! Date sugar most likely contains antioxidants and substances that are never listed on food labels, but I feel that these substances can also be easily obtained in greater amounts and less expensively in regular plant foods we eat day.

      • Charzie

        I agree, and the closest you can get to a whole, natural product, like every other thing you ingest, the better. Anything sweet is a treat, so personally, I don’t stress over it much because it’s occasional. If your “sweet tooth” overwhelms you to the point you feel the need to be concerned, try going cold turkey for a bit. Sweets really are “addictive”, and sometimes eliminating them can reset your cravings.

  • djhixson

    do u have to talk so slowly?

    • Aaron Hollander

      Dr. Greger is sharing concentrated information and uses visuals to reinforce this, he is allowing us time to view, read and listen. He also pauses for effect.

  • Can you tell me the dangers of Honey. Some people say Manuka Honey has health benefits? I don’t believe it does, but does it?

    So I guess my question is: What are the dangerous of honey?

    I also believe creating honey farms would be a environmental problem.
    Can you also tell me the environmental dangerous of honey?

    To me I think the dangerous to the environment look obvious. Bees are the main pollinator of plants our main food supply.

    The reason I see it as a environmental problem is if honey bees are manipulated to eat sugar rather than there own honey, it will lead them to no longer bothering with getting pollen as they don’t need it and lead them to just looking for fruit and sugar cane sources.

    Based on this I don’t agree with bee farms for honey as I worry about evolution of bees. I think this will make them evolve in a bad direction, I think bee sanctuaries are fine, and using bees in general is fine. I just don’t agree with taking Bees honey as I wonder if it will stop the pollination of plants if bees no longer keep there honey what would be the point in bees getting pollen from plants. They will look for sugar sources instead. This is dangerous in my view.

    It’s not like in the wild where humans would destroy a nest forcing them to build a whole new nest. Humans are creating bee farms and manipulate the bees in to thinking that this is how nature is. And so they will evolve to get the sugar thinking this is a natural occurrence. To me this is dangerous. Bees need to be left to there own ends. With us possible manipulating where they get the pollen from but not stealing there honey.

  • mike

    Hi Dr Gregor,

    Some of these results were surprising, so I started to look into it more.

    What about other methods for measuring antioxidant activity? Your ranking was based on FRAP, but what about oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC)? I’ve seen high ORAC values published for maple syrup et al and I have found studies showing very disparate values for FRAP and ORAC for the same food (e.g.


  • slywlf

    Since date sugar does not dissolve, and is thus useless in coffee or tea, and burns easily making baking or cooking with it problematic, it looks like the best use for it is sprinkled over my morning oatmeal. What I take from this – and it is purely my own opinion – is that most sweeteners are wasted calories if natural or a health threat if artificial. It seems to me that the best thing we can do is retrain our taste buds to enjoy the natural flavors in real food, rather than catering to a ‘sweet tooth’ which is essentially an atavistic response dating from times when we were all hunter/gatherers. Just as our tendency to look for salty flavors, once vital to our healthy balance, has been exploited by the food industry, so has our fondness for sweetness.

    • Name

      Finally! Can’t say that any better!

  • Caniwi

    Hi Doc. On a separate note–it would be really interesting if you would provide us with some info about ‘carrageenan’. What exactly is it? Harmless or harmful?

    • I’m going to be covering that in an upcoming video–stay tuned! So you don’t miss it make sure you’re subscribed.

    • Shreela

      I’ve been diagnosed with IBS, about 4 years ago I started having bad inflammation and burning in one area of my large intestine – around the sigmoid area. CT, Ultrasound, 2 colonoscopies found nothing wrong. I did many kinds of rule out diets, and was telling my 2nd GI’s partner about how I realized it sounded a bit crazy, but the only pattern I picked up on with the rule-outs was the “IBS-attack” seemed to follow commercial foods. He replied that he didn’t think it sounded crazy, as he himself suffered from food-additive sensitivities.

      He said at that time, there were no tests to figure out which additives might cause our sensitivities, so first I had to go on a whole, natural diet just to see if the attacks stopped. Then I could slowly experiment with commercial foods to see if they caused me problems, and write down their additives, so that over time I’d hopefully detect a pattern.

      After a few months, I figured out that Carrageenan was my absolute worst additive. Nitrates and Annatto also caused problems, but not as severe as Carrageenan. There’s at least one other additive I haven’t figured out – something that’s added to commercial broths, but I’d rather make my own broth than sleuth out more additive-sensitivities, since they’re fairly painful.

      I’ve found websites stating that Carrageenan is used in medical studies to cause inflammation and pain when injected into tissues, so that the scientists can see if their product helps decrease pain/inflammation. My guess is that maybe I have a patch of dysbiosis that’s leaky, allowing the additives to get into my intestine’s tissues, but I’m not a scientist. Searching the web for Carrageenan problems seems to find few results, as opposed to other allergens/sensitivities, so I’m guessing only a small amount of people have issues with Carrageenan, unless I’m just one of the front-runners.

  • rawveganfitness

    I echo the many other requests for your rating on Coconut Palm Sugar. I have search all the comments and replies below twice. I have searched the rest of the site and other videos. Please reply as this is a popular request. Thank you

  • yes dates :) desert bedouins’ best strengthening food

  • Sharon

    What about coconut sugar?

  • Doesn’t maple syrup have high amounts of magnesium, and zink. You sure this wasn’t a copy cat maple syrup? Using mostly corn syrup?

  • Rossman1

    Hi doctor, I was wondering about honey, I know that vegans don’t eat honey, but is there a medical reason to avoid it, other than ideology?

    • Toxins

      Honey is another sweetener that is more or less, empty calories.

  • NovemberMoon

    how do i see the rest of the information?

    • NovemberMoon

      never mind, it went on. :)

  • Max

    I have lately started using pure date syrup as a sweetener. Is there any info regarding date syrup?

  • Mary

    I notice Xylitol doesn’t even get a mention. What’s the latest on this as a sweetener?

  • daisy

    re: Date Sugar and Fiber, Once the date is broken down, does it not lose the value in fiber? Changing it’s whole make up of a fruit changes nutritional value right? I believe it would be the same for all fruits and vegitables. I really think juicing fruits/vegetables is not as healthy as we think? Please educate me.

    • Toxins

      The fiber is “disrupted” but not destroyed. Disrupted meaning it does not satiate as well as the whole unprocessed food itself, but this is an issue for someone who is battling weight loss.The fiber is still intact and has the same function.

  • daisy


  • daisysgca

    re: Fiber: by breaking down foods’ make up, are we not loosing nutritional value? Especially fiber? How can juicing fruits and vegetables have the same nutritional value compared to it’s original state?

  • WholeFoodGirl

    Dear Dr. Gregor – I love your videos and your website. It seems there’s still a lot of confusion about sugars, fructose/glucose ratio, glycemic index, etc. I imagine more videos down the pipeline. I am curious, as others seem to be, about your rating of the sweeteners based on “antioxidant activity” vs. nutrients. While I agree that dates are deliciously and nutritiously sweet, what about the minerals in grade B maple syrup, for example? In your video, it didn’t fare well, which surprised me. And it seems like the industry is now on a coconut sugar craze. Will this turn out to be another “agave” fad? And with all the palm products on the market now, are animals, like chimps, losing their habitats in order to satisfy our collective sweet tooth or is palm farming (sugar, flour, oil) helping the animals? Lots of questions! Thank you!

  • As a (mostly former) gout sufferer I am also very mindful of fructose which metabolizes to uric acid. How do the fructose contents of these sweeteners stack up?

  • where does coconut sugar/syrup fit in?

  • Excellent! Thank you for this information Dr. Greger!

  • Mary

    I recently found, in the supermarket, a no calorie sweetener called “Monk Fruit In The Raw” which claims to be suitable for vegetarians and safe for diabetics. Is it safe?

  • AS

    what is your feeling towards coconut sugar?

    Is date sugar still the healthiest vs coconut sugar?

    I use coconut for everything: coconut sugar, coconut oil, coconut water..

    I hear a lot of benefits towards coconut products but not sure if it’s true since coconut has a lot of saturated fat.

    To cook which is better, coconut oil or grape seed oil?

    Or which oil is better to use that won’t change to trans fat?

  • Nicole

    What about Xylitol? It is actually good for the teeth…

  • julieblack77

    Interested in your thoughts on coconut palm sugar? Thank you.

  • MamaMimi
  • Alon Sherman

    this guy’s voice is hella annoying

  • rick

    Dr. Greger is just ranking nutrient value. Agave Nectar is three time sweeter than sugar so you can use much less. Also, agave is very low on the glycemic index so it does not spike blood sugar like most sweeteners – that is a big deal.

  • Georgina

    I would like to know what would be the comparison between date sugar and masarang arenga palm sugar.

    I’m trying to find the best option for baking treats. I also was thinking in substitute all sugar for natural fruit but I’m not quite sure about what are the effects on the body and more thinking about diabetic people.

    I would appreciate if you can answer my doubts.

  • Ann – Milton Ontario

    Hello Dr. Greger, I just love your site, so information. I go right to my computer when I get home from work. I could spend hours reading and watching your videos. I have a question about 2 of your videos. You explained about date sugar, very good. Then in another you talked about erythratol as the best sugar also. so if I were to chose between the two, which should i use? Erythatol is not found in stores here in Ontario, btw. I would have to order it online.
    Thank you for your answer in advance! God bless you.

  • Ava Tara

    I thought you did a study and claimed that fruit sugar was not healthy/had the same consequences as cane sugar for health? But on your website you say fruit sugar is better. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  • Spey

    Is this video outdated? Don’t new studies show a lot of antioxidants in maple syrup?

  • Jerad Campbell

    What about stevia?

  • Dave De Alwis

    What a about date Syrup? is that good as date sugar. is this good for Diabetics as well? i am living in middle east , so this is always available and cheap

  • Ann

    What about coconut blossom sugar??

  • JWB

    The chunks were too much to take with my coffee, so I have been adding the date sugar in before the filter stage (in with the grounds.) This removes the fruit bits, but also I imagine a lot of the nutrition as well. Do you have any idea how much nutrition would be lost through a coffee filter? Might I just as well be using another sweetener?

  • Allie

    Have you ever done any research on yacon root syrup and the health benefits of that sweetner?

  • aviyyan

    Hi would be great if you could also share how Indian Gur Shakkar / Jaggery compares with these sugars

  • TMR
  • Rob Thorne

    Love your videos, Dr. Greger! Thank you! Just wondering how coconut sugar stacks up against the rest of the sweeteners? :-)

    • There is alot of confusion over carbohydrates both complex (e.g. amylase, fiber) and simple (e.g. glucose, fructose, sucrose). Glucose is the preferred food for our cells. Fructose is metabolized almost exclusively in the liver to a variety of substances most of which are not good for us (e.g. uric acid, fats such as triglycerides, inflammatory aldehydes). Sucrose or table sugar is composed of one molecule of glucose and one of fructose. Coconut sugar is mainly sucrose so can be considered similar to table sugar although like brown sugar has a different flavor. The glycemic index issue adds confusion to the whole carbohydrate issue.

  • zennifer

    With sweeteners I am not looking at them in terms of which one has the most nutrients. I am looking at the least harm done. I would take something organic, without GMOs, over a processed but possibly more nutritious choice…meaning, organic agave vs. a processed sugar product.

    What about PALM sugar or Raw Coconut Nectar? Palm sugar (powder) was not very sweet and it had a fairly strong flavor of its own that was not good in tea or coffee. The coconut nectar is fine in tea; it does have some taste, but I can deal with it.

  • Hayley

    What about coconut sugar?

  • Alison

    The one sweetener I didn’t see on this list was coconut sugar or coconut syrup. Any research on th nutrition value of these? I use them in baking instead of other sugars

  • corilat

    What about Rapadura or Demerara sugar? Less refined, so any nutrients there?

  • DanielFaster
  • Guistino

    Sorghum Syrup has an ORAC value of 1,700 which makes sense, seeing as how sorghum and it’s relative sumac are among foods with the highest ORAC values by mass.

  • Neutrino

    I’m interested by this research, but were the authors purely looking at antioxidant levels in the various sweeteners? The impression i have is that dates as a whole food have a poor relationship of dietary fiber to sugar, and pulverising in the manner described would only assist in breaking up the insoluble fiber, refining the dates so that sugar is absorbed too readily. Would this position be founded, or is there research to suggest soluble fiber would moderate absorption?

    • Toxins

      I would agree that increasing the surface area of a food such as a whole fruit to smoothie would cause easier absorption. The dietary fiber though is not destroyed, but disrupted in that you are not as satiated. More on dates here

      • Neutrino

        Thanks Toxins, that was an interesting link, i hadn’t seen that video.

  • Nataliya Ostrovskaya

    Dr. Greger, has been my lifeline to healthful eating!
    You evaluate the various sweeteners’ nutritional value through their antioxidant content? Is there some other nutrient they might be providing?

  • a belgian

    Here in Europe stevia seems to be the next big thing as a sweetener. Any thoughts on this?
    I currently use dates to sweeten my breakfast oats…

    • Sebastian Tristan

      Stevia has some side-effects. The best thing to do is to go with fruits – whether fresh or dried – like dates, bananas, apples, etc. I put pears in my oatmeal alongside walnuts and cinnamon. Needless to say that it comes out absolutely delicious.

  • We bought Erythritol and tried it for sweetening our tea but unfortunately it’s too expensive for our budget; maybe best to enjoy our tea unsweetened. We had been using maple syrup to sweeten our morning oatmeal but we’ll be using Blackstrap molasses from now on. Thanks Dr. Greger for all you do! You’re our hero!

  • RK

    Hello Doc,

    As some have already mentioned, Date Sugar seems hard to use. It never seems to dissolve well. I used for your tea (Better Than Green Tea?) recipe.

    How to use Date Sugar? Am I supposed to dissolve in water before using it?

    Thank you,


    • In our recent Meals for Health program with the Progressive Missionary Baptist Church one of the participants asked Jeff Novick RD which sweetener he recommended. Jeff’s response was “he didn’t care as long as it is used as a condiment” or sparingly. I agree. I would minimize sweeteners and certainly avoid artificial sweeteners and those natural sweeteners that have had reported bad outcomes such as stevia see Of course the dose is also a consideration. You need to use the one that works best given the situation.

      • RK

        Thanks Don!

        Agreed! But I’m still far away from completely minimizing sweetener usage. I used to use Stevia until I saw doc’s take on it. So, I’m trying to switch to Date Sugar… however I’m stumped as to how to properly use it.

        Any advice?

        P.S. Does that Meals for Health prog have a web presence to watch?


    • Thea

      RK: In addition to Dr. Forrester’s excellent reply, I have an idea for you. Like you, I tried using Date Sugar and found it to be problematic not only for the texture, but also because it’s just not as sweet as sugar/other sweeteners. Add its lack of functionality to the cost, and I gave up on it.

      So, here’s what I do: I take actual whole dates and pit them. I *stuff* the dates into a small microwave safe bowl and fill with water up to the top of the dates. Microwave for ??? (depends on your microwave and whether or not the dates start out as cold) – say 2-4 minutes? Then poor mixture into a blender and blend until perfectly smooth. Viola! You now have date paste. Store in the fridge and use in all sorts of ways. I find the date paste works great in oatmeal, smoothies, etc.

      If you don’t have a microwave, you could just soak dates overnight and/or use a commercial style blender.

      Hope that helps.

      Edited: replaced “stuff the pits” with “stuff the dates”

      • Thea

        Ooops. Had to fix error on above entry from “stuff the pits” to “stuff the dates”. Yikes.

      • Jennifer

        Great idea, thank you! Last night I was mixing pumpkin with silken tofu and spices. My daughter kept saying, “try one more date” as I pulverized it in the blender. We must have blended for 3 or 4 minutes and there were still some clumps of sticky dates.

        • Thea

          Jennifer: re: “…there were still some clumps of sticky dates.” :-) Been there, done that!

          • Jennifer

            I have made date paste a couple of times and it works so much better than just adding dates. Thanks again!

          • Thea

            That’s so great! Thanks for letting me know!!

  • barbarabrussels

    Jaggery seems to be a whole food sweetener too. Is it as nutritious as the even more difficult to find and costlier date sugar?

  • pete

    Dr. what is your opinion on coconut palm sugar?

  • barbarabrussels

    Blackstrap molasses seems to be a good source of calcium too.

  • Roberta

    How does coconut neater fair in nutrician?

  • Nate Woodbury

    The video was helpful in looking at nutritional content… but it would be interesting to see how all these sweeteners would line up when looking at their effect on Blood Sugar.

  • Jessy Richards

    From what I understand, agave doesn’t raise the blood sugar as much because chemically it is composed more of fructose. Half of fructose may be stored as triglyceride, or fat, with only half of the structure raising blood sugars. This may seem to resolve a diabetic’s blood sugar issue, but again, it adds to triglyceride and fat. Too much fat can decrease insulin’s sensitivity. Better to not have as much of those fructose-containing sugars.

  • Mc

    Where does coconut palm sugar and xylitol fit in?

  • Julia Kravets

    The study cited says nothing about date sugar. How can I find the actual research data?

  • Jessica Madden

    What about Stevia?

  • akc

    I am wondering if blackstrap molasses and sorghum molasses have similar health benefits. I am looking for good sweeteners I can use in addition to date sugar. Thanks!

  • Raven

    Looks like you did not use raw honey or blackstrap molasses. Raw honey will obviously be better then fake honey, as well as better then sugar, and I would like to know about muscado sugar. You also did not use coconut sugar or muscado sugar.

  • VeganTriathlete

    Are GMO’s safe?

  • Rick

    What about coconut sugar…any nutritional yield and where does it rank?

  • Marlana Mazmanian McCliman

    Hi Dr.

    Were does coconut palm sugar stand?

    Thank you,


  • Robyn

    Is Lo Hon sweetener safe to use instead of sugar?

  • Steve Bozic

    Dr. Greger what about Xylitol?

  • Susan

    I use between 5-8 figs Mission Figs to my oatmeal every morning instead of sugar or dates. But my goal is beyond sweetening my cereal, it is to add calcium for my bones with each meal every day. I may also add an ounce of blueberries for their antioxidant value and strengthening my memory, as well as a chopped apple with a teaspoon of cinnamon to calm down the high sugar reaction. Everything is organically grown and certified.

  • Compassionist

    Where would Stevia rank?

  • Canta Sblinsblas

    and carob powder?

  • Carl Brandl-Salutz

    I am only seeing a 50 second video with the sweeteners listed, no information given. Is there something wrong with the video?

    • Toxins

      Yes there is, thanks for notifying us of the error.

  • Stacey

    Hi! I read the study you cited and I don’t understand how you came to the conclusion that rice malt syrup is the lowest nutritive sweetener. Could you please clarify this for me? The graphs suggest otherwise in the FRAP ratings. Thanks, Stacey.

    • Toxins

      Brown rice syrup, not malted brown rice syrup, had one score of .006. This was the NOW foods brand.

  • Kristen

    This is a great informational video! I did not see that Coconut sugars was mentioned. What are your thoughts on coconut sugars?

  • newsjunkie

    I drink a lot of tea. Which sweetener do you suggest if we love sweet tea? The last line of the video — “it can add up” — is true but doesn’t answer my question. Are you suggesting no sugar if we are big tea drinkers? Thanks!

    • KWD

      newsjunkie, check out this article on alternative sweeteners from Dr. Greger where he discusses (and links to more information on) erythritol and stevia; alternatives you might consider over regular sugar that won’t thicken your tea like date sugar.

      I used to love sugar-laden drinks, coffee and tea included. Looking back now, opting for water / training my palate to like unsweetened coffee and tea was probably the easiest behavioral change I made to reduce consumption of added sugars. On the other hand, resisting the baked apple cider donuts covered in sugar that my local coffee shop carries on the weekends has not been easy :-).

      • newsjunkie

        thank you!

      • newsjunkie

        FYI I went to that article you suggested, and bought erythritol. Fantastic substitute, sweet with NO bitter aftertaste (like Stevia) and seems to have health benefits too!

  • newsjunkie

    I bought a package of erythritol at Whole Foods yesterday after watching this video and receiving a suggestion from KWD of the NF team. I wanted to share that erythritol is the only zero calorie natural sweetener I have ever used that tastes like real sugar and has none of the bitter taste of stevia. I am a grateful convert (and this is coming from someone who LOVES real sugar or honey in her tea).

    • Thea

      newsjunkie: Nice report. Thanks for the good tip. I bought a bag of erythritol years ago after watching Dr. Greger’s video. But I keep forgetting that I even have it and am not sure when to use it. You have inspired me to take a go at it again.

      • newsjunkie

        I ended up getting a bad stomach ache from it, I used too much of it!

        • Thea

          Thanks for the warning. I’m the type of person who can go overboard when she gets excited about something. So, good to know. :-)

  • Mery Daae

    Hello Dr. I love this site and your super informative videos; this is my first time commenting. I have IBS and leaky gut and maybe if it is a thing at all candida overgrowth. For a year now I’ve tried to eat only the sugar naturally present in food, not adding any kind of sweetener. On the other hand, I started reading raging reviews on Manuka Honey 15+ UMF and decided to give it ago as it seems particularly helpful for digestion distress. What do you think about Manuka Honey? I would really appreciate your opinion as if it’s not healthy or recommended I would rather save the crazy amounts o f money it costs and the calorie and go back to eating only naturally present sugars. Thank you in advance!

  • Karin Müller

    Dear Dr. Greger,
    I’m wondering what the antioxidant content of all these sweeteners has to do with their actual content of vitamins, minerals etc…? Does a sweetener like date sugar which is linked to a high FRAP number automatically offer more nutrients than a sweetener with a lower FRAP numer like honey? So is “FRAP” a good and reliable parameter?

    Thanks for your reply!

  • Michal

    So what are you supposed to put in tea or coffee? Seems like the audio in the video cut off at the end. If you don’t recommend using date sugar for tea and coffee, what should people use? The molasses? Is date sugar good on oatmeal and yogurt?

  • John Mclaren

    Is it worth mentioning that malted products like malt, rice syrup and molasses contain not only elevated acrylamide levels but also glycotoxins?

    Also, molasses was traditionally filtered using bone char.

    Two popular sweeteners that I would like to see in the comparison are coconut sugar and dehydrated cane juice (Sucanat).

  • Adam Alatif

    Hi Dr. Greger,

    I’m a 49-year old heart patient, had a MI back in 2011 and eventually underwent a double by-pass. So far so good. I follow a vegan diet, I weigh approximately 150 lbs and I’m 5,6″. I exercise when I can, usually cycling. I consider my health is generally good and I do feel great about my body and my health has improved ever since my MI; it does require a lot of work, though.

    I’d like to know if it’s safe to consume any of the following products: dates, figs, date-syrup, bananas, grapes, maple syrup, etc…

    My glucose level usually fluctuates between 4.7-5.5 mmol/L (Canadian standard).

    Genetically speaking, diabetes has run in our family; namely, type II. I’m just looking for a % of risks vs. rewards concerning glucose consumption and what’s safe out there? Please bear in mind that all of the products that I consume are organically based.


    • Thea

      Adam: I’m not a doctor and I can’t say what would be safe/a good idea or not. But I do recommend checking out the book, “Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Preventing and Reversing Diabetes–the Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes without Drugs”. That book has great information that will not only help keep your heart healthy, but will also help prevent diabetes.

      The back of the book has recipes that are consistent with the diet that is clinically proven to be 3 times more effective than the ADA diet. And some of those recipes include fruit. So, some fruit should not be a problem. And as for maple syrup, you wouldn’t want a ton of it, but some on occasion should be just fine as long as you are eating low fat whole plant food based diet. As Dr. Barnard explains (and can be learned about in videos here in NutritionFacts too!), it’s a high fat diet which leads to diabetes. My take is: so if you have a low fat diet good insulin sensitivity, then some sugars/maple syrup in your diet just isn’t going to cause harm. In fact, one of the recipes in the book I mentioned above, “Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Moroccan Spices” includes a tablespoon of maple syrup. Obviously that’s not a lot. The point is, that *some* is fine.

      Does that help?

  • vegantrever

    i have to ask was the honey in this video a normal store bought processed honey or a
    local raw honey, because wouldn’t there be a huge difference in
    nutritional values?

  • Stephen Lucker Kelly

    How is this date sugar made?

  • This took me by surprise. I would have guessed Black Strap Molasses was at the top – but it makes sense that a whole food would trump a processed food. I haven’t used date sugar – but I often use Medjool Dates to sweeten smoothies and other snacks. Good to know dates appear to be the better choice! How do coconut sugar or stevia sugar compare? I don’t use either one, but I am curious…

  • JudithNYC

    I need to research more on this subject but for starters, no one uses sweeteners for nutrition.

  • Lois

    Is there anyone here who knows more about Yacon Syrup?! On wikipedia they mention a study by Genta et al., were they show “that a daily intake of yacón syrup produced a significant decrease in body weight, waist circumference and body mass index when given to obese pre-menopausal women”.
    It is also said that “The syrup contains up to 50% of fructooligosaccharides (FOS). The consumption of FOS does not increase blood glucose; however, the root consists of primarily free fructose at about 35%”. Maybe another interesting candidate as possible healthy sweetener?!

  • AK

    What about raw honey as a natural preservative (when I add it to my green juice, it does stay green longer) and as a digestive aid (I’ve heard it has digestive enzymes)?

  • Beatrice

    Hello, thank you for your great videos. I wonder where coconut palm sugar can be placed in this diagram. Is it healthy?

  • Gibson355

    Ever heard of getting to the point, what a tedious video!

  • sociologist

    Thank you for the great and thought provoking videos. I would like to know, though, what kind of honey was that one which was included in your research. Perhaps one of the not so representative samples? Inferior products of unclear origin and process of production/packing are not unlikely circulating in the north-american markets.

    Honey has a very high cultural value in Mediterannean countries within several centuries, and there is also some contemporary research that refers to its nutritial value (e.g. So, I think this is a subject which will stimulate your interest and further research.

  • disqus_5SCkNVKSza

    I’d love to know Dr Greger’s opinion of where coconut sugar falls in the healthiest sweetener/nutritional ranking in the video :)

  • Gamdschiee Tuck

    Dear nutritionfacts-User and owner,
    what about coconut-sugar(palm-sugar or coconut-flower sugar, i do not know the accurate english word for it) in comparison with date sugar? Is it so healthy like date sugar?
    I heard about a good GL-Index, but is this index really so important? Normal processed sugar has a higher GL-Index, but is this index so relevant or what is the reasy of the unheathy processed sugar?


  • Young

    Brown rice syrup is clearly the biggest loser here with respect to nutrients, but it has one advantage the others don’t: it contains no fructose, nor does it break down to fructose in the gut. It contains only glucose and oligosaccharides that break down to glucose in the gut. So if you need a sweetener without any fructose, brown rice syrup is the best. One disadvantage of brown rice: arsenic.

  • vinsin

    What about Jaggery – Date or Sugarcane or coconut?

  • Helen Hanley

    What is the healthest sugar for tea drinkers? I drink lots of green tea.

  • Shane

    Interesting, I always thought honey was the king of sweeteners.. is there any significant difference between raw unfiltered honey, and overly-processed honey in terms of antioxidants? And if so which was being compared in the video? Also, is glycemic index a significant factor in deciding a sweetener or do they all have similar fructose-to-glucose ratios and it doesnt really matter?

  • ktyler44

    So what sweetener do you use for your coffee or tea?

  • Charma1ne

    Dr. Greger thanks again for such good information. I’m grateful for the easy ride I get when I need imformation from this site.

  • Agnessa

    Hi Dr. Greger, the reason I saw this video in my search for some info about blackstrap molasses. I’d like to know your thoughts about it. I’m trying now to have a bit of molasses everyday for the mineral content as I don’t like to rely on supplements. As a vegan I find it hard to reach the recommended intake of especially iron and even though molasses are not whole food, maybe the pros exceed the cons? Thank you if you take your time to answer.

    • Thea

      Agnessa: Here is Dr. Greger’s topic page on iron. I’m thinking that the links from the last sentence might be helpful to you.

      • Agnessa

        Sweet! Thank you Thea !

  • Charma1ne

    Thank you for the comparisons. Isn’t blackstrap molasses the gunk left over after many prior extraction processes? What kind of chemicals are likely to have been left behind? After such intensive processing wouldn’t minerals and other trace elements likely be too small in quantity to matter?

  • Psych MD

    I tried date sugar and found it had several drawbacks: it is difficult to find, expensive, and not particularly sweet. Fortunately blackstrap molasses is non of those things and in the right recipe is very tasty. I find it particularly delicious in a coffee or chai tea soy latte which I enjoy every morning. As I type this I am having mashed sweet potato with soy milk and molasses. My lovely wife just made a batch of pinto beans. I threw those into the mix and it is even better.

  • Anna

    There is no Palm Coconut Sugar in this topic. Do you have an opinion of it? Thank you very much!

  • philip litrel

    While I agree that powered dates has to be the healthiest sweetener, I have been reading about Black-strap Molasses and the claimed health benefits. Dr, Greger can you comment (in a little more depth) about Black-strap molasses ? Thank you for all your great contributions to food and nutriion.

    • A Newton PhD RD

      Hi Philip, black-strap molasses does have a high antioxidant content compared to other sweeteners and it had similar concentrations as date sugar. Specifically, in the cited article for this video it states that black-strap molasses antioxidant capacity is ~10.7 mmol/serving whereas the lowest sweeteners such as raw cane sugar had only ~0.1 mmol/serving. And it states that, “These data suggest that the nutrient and antioxidant contribution of alternative sweeteners could be similar to that of whole vs refined flours and foods high in antioxidants (eg, berries, chocolate, and nuts).”

  • Modus Operandi

    What about grape syrup?
    I can’t find date sugar anywhere here in France and black-strap molasses is too ‘licorice-y’ for my taste.

  • ben

    If too many calories aren’t a problem, what harm does sugar do please? i.e.. why is the blood sugar spike bad?

    • A Newton PhD RD

      Hi Ben, the simplest example I can think of to describe the consequences of drastic spikes in blood sugar would be to consider your RPMs in a car. In order to maintain your engine’s long-term function it’s ill advised to rev the engine into the red zone of your RPMs often (even though you may have to on occasion) because it creates a lot of strain on the engine. Large spikes in insulin creates strain on the pancreas and can also create a rebound effect in blood glucose levels. It is necessary for the body to maintain a level of homeostasis, so extremes tend to overburden systems and create adverse consequences.

  • soul

    Is there a difference in the sugar of dates vs the syrup? I ask out of desperation since here in the UK it seems virtually impossible to buy the sugar form. Thanks.

    • Thea

      soul: My understanding is that date sugar is the whole date with all moisture removed, and then ground into a powder. Date syrup on the other hand would not be as close to a whole food and I think would not include much, if any fiber. The two products also differ in how they could be used of course. A recipe that calls for a liquid sweetener could use date syrup and one that requires a dry sweetener might be able to get away with date sugar (though since I don’t think date sugar is as sweet as regular sugar, there may be problems using date sugar in some recipes.)
      While there is a difference between the two forms of date sweetener, I offer this perspective: Does it matter? If you are sweetening a food for dessert, then we are not talking about an every day food (ideally), and there are probably all sorts of less than ideal foods n the dessert, so just enjoy the dessert with whatever sweetener you care to use. On the other hand, if you are looking to sweeten an every day food, while date sugar may be best, I found that it is often not sufficient to meet the need in terms of sweetness and consistency. And then when I factored in the cost of date sugar, I decided not to bother myself with it any more.
      Note that NutritionFacts has at least one video on erythritol (sp?). You may want to look into that option.

  • Hillary

    I assume coconut sugar is just as bad as the rest?… due to the lack of fiber? I watched THE documentary Fed Up and of sugar, I am!

  • Travis J Silberstorf

    All I eat for sugars is date sweetener… sugar, syrup, whole dates…etc… love it

  • julian

    hi dr Greger, can you tell me if honey is considered ok in relation to the gf1 spikes . many thanks

  • Joy Dancer

    Is sulphured or unsulphured molasses still a good option, or only blackstrap molasses? How big is the health difference? Thank you!

  • Joy Dancer

    If dates aren’t available and blackstrap molasses isn’t sweet enough, are either regular or robust molasses (the first or second processing) still good options? How big is the difference between their nutrition and blackstrap, and between regular and robust molasses? Thank you!

  • BeckyG

    Hi Dr. Greger, It seems there are always new sweet products to try. What do studies show about healthy/unhealthy affects of Coconut Sugar on our bodies?

    • EvidenceBasedNutrition

      Great question, Becky — I would recommend trying to reduce coconut sugar in the same way that one would reduce normal sugar.
      Take a look at this link from Dr. Weil for a more detailed explanation: Is Coconut Sugar a Healthier Sweetener?
      Hope this helps!

  • Michelle Binkowski

    I recently discovered Yacon powder and syrup.Have you heard about this and tried it? Do you recommend it?

  • theobserver

    Dr Greger, I just discovered your site. Excellent source of scientific nutrition! One question I have is where does coco sugar stack up in all of this? Healthy or not?

  • conrad

    and what about pomegranate powder and apple powder and coconut sugar? isn’t pomegranate powder even healthier than dates sugar?

  • Pamela Graves

    Dear Dr.M. my Dr of chiropractic has referred me to a dentist who specializes in removing failed root canals and a bite plate to help my neck pain. Also the dentist has done some dextrose injection in my neck (three times) in your opinion does sugar injectiona make sense. Also in the last 6weeks I’ve had two epidural spinal cortisone injections without relief of low back pain. Can you give me any direction or opinion as to sugar dextrose injection for my neck and back. Of course very expensive and not covered by insurance but of course steroids are covered.
    Thank you for your time I watch your u tube videos almost daily. Thanks for your research and all you do to bring awareness

  • russelleaton

    Date sugar and organic molasses are both 50% fructose, thus making them no better than regular sugar. The 50% fructose content far outweighs any ‘nutritional’ content in terms of the harm done to the body. All the sugars in the video are equally bad. Also, all artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols such as xylitol should be avoided for other reasons. The best kind of sugar is pure 100% glucose sugar as this does not go to the liver. It goes straight into the bloodstream and mostly gets used up in celullar energy instead of being stored as body fat. But when using pure glucose sugar, use only a little, i.e. not enough to make your blood glucose shoot up and trigger an insulin response. More about this in my book ‘The Lipo Diet’ at Amazon.
    Russell Eaton, Author

  • joy baynes

    can you provide any information on coconut sugar?

  • Ruth E Baillie

    What about yacon syrup and sunchoke syrup as prebiotic type sweeteners? Love to hear more about them.

  • nicolestier

    Should we take a baby aspirin daily?

  • Zach A.

    Hello Dr. Greger, I find your videos to be very interesting with plenty of great research and information. I have a question about sweeteners. Is monk fruit a healthy option to use as a sweetener? Thanks, Zach A.

  • Nate

    Thanks, Doc! I didn’t know there was a date sugar. Did the study include any info on (less bitter) traditional molasses?

  • After watching all of your videos, 1100+ I recently asked myself, vegan > vegetarian, but what about honey? Dairy, meat, eggs – big no no. Nothing about honey though, are there really no studies done on honey? Not even neutral studies, ie no positive or negative reaction to daily consumption?

  • Mery Daae

    Date syrup is even better, is not dried dates but rather added water and dates : ) sweeter than caramel, my favorite! What do you think about Yacon Syrup and the the claims that it boosts weight loss and gut health due to its high FOS content?

  • Fernmann

    Question: I have been trying to cut out any food from my diet with added sugars (i.e. white sugar, brown sugar normally found in foods) since I’ve read and heard it is not good for you. I am all in favor and have no problem cutting all added sugar from my diet, Having seen this video, I’m not sure how to apply it anymore. Is this (A) if you prefer sweetened foods and are going to eat added sugars, make sure its date sugar, (B) It’s not recommended to eat added-sugar, but if you must have sweetened food, make sure its date sugar (C) Date sugar is good for you, so make sure to add some to your food if you like it sweetened (D) Sweetening with date sugar is recommended for additional nutrients, so make sure you add it to your meals or (E) some other explanation. I’m not much of a pastry cook or chef right now, but right now if I can exclude any added sugar from my meals or purchased/homemade baked goods, I will. I guess another way to put this is does the benefits of the date sugar outweigh any downsides it may or may not have. As an aside: I am breaking my rule right now and having cookies with brown sugar, but I thought it might be helpful to send note to food companies recommending them to use date sugar if they must sweeten their products given its nutritional value.

  • Robin Manoli

    There are many wholefoods that can be used as sweeteners, other than dates – both for making sweets and smoothies. Dried fruits for example, such as raisins, apricots, figs, plums, carob and bananas. Bananas also work very well raw or frozen (for ice cream). However, raisins do not meet the 5-to-1 ratio of carbs-to-fibers. Cinnamon and coconut flakes are also sweet. Maybe these should be on the list too?

  • Janette Wood

    Hi Doctor, I’ve read claims online by the maple syrup producers that it doesn’t produce the same spike in blood sugar levels as other sugars, also, have there been any studies which have included coconut blossom sugar which is available here in Australia?

  • Boyana

    Is honey really bad for you? I mean it’s only carbohydrates. Can the honey be a part of a healthy high-carb, low-fat diet? I know vegans don’t consume honey because species exploitation is involved in the process, but I’m asking from health prospective.

  • peter tso

    hi doctor you may not see this but im trying to look for more info on coconut as a friendly alternative for diabetics.

  • CP

    I can’t see it very well, but it doesn’t look like the “raw sugar” you have there is truly raw. It looks semi-refined like the turbinado sugar. I’d like to see how jaggery (traditional non-centrifugal cane sugar) compares to the brown sugar. I have a jar of it from the indian store and it’s much darker than your “raw sugar”. Sucanat is similar.

  • Cp

    What data did you use? Because I added up the nutrients for each food as well, and I got an entirely different result than you. When you control for the amount of actual sugars in each product, dates, apricots, raisins, and sucanat (raw sugar) have about half the nutrients compared to molasses. Concentrated orange juice is high too. Most other sweeteners have about 1/4 the nutrients as molasses (including date sugar, maple syrup, and brown rice syrup). Honey, corn syrup, white sugar, and agave nectar have minimal nutrients.

  • Helga

    Why do you think that honey is empty?

    I don’t know what exactly is sold as honey in your country, in my – honey is a natural product made by bees from flower pollen so it’s not only full of vitamins but also have a powerfull treatment effects on many illnesses, depends on what flower was visited by bees.

    For example honey from tilia cordata or salvia officinalis is really powerful when you have your lungs ill.

    We have a centuries tradition of treatment disease by honey so I can’t even imagine how honey may be named as not nutritional or not useful.

  • Âine

    I was wondering if date syrup was similar to date sugar?

  • Alyona

    What about honey? I always thought it’s healthy. But after this video…. Is it worst then white sugar? What about antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, amino acids in honey?

    • Shaylen Snarski

      This video (on sweeteners, not the one I’m sharing) is misleading. Maple syrup has insane amounts of riboflavin (B2, can be hard to get on typical diets which is the reason many cereals and other foods are fortified with it) and manganese and a large amount of other minerals people are often deficient in including zinc and calcium and also has good amounts of potassium, magnesium, and smaller but significant amounts of iron, selenium, and copper and this is just going by cronometer which may be going by grade A types whereas grade B (darker maple syrup) has the most minerals and recent research shows there’s antioxidants present in maple syrup, some unidentified. So while I adore most of the videos here and love this site and am grateful for Dr. Greger’s work, I find this video disturbingly misleading. Also, while molasses may have more nutrients it also has a higher glycemic rate from what I’ve read. Personally I don’t care about glycemic index or calories, but I do know that when I use maple syrup as a sweetener it significantly increases my minerals for that day and I feel pretty awesome about it. I’ve just learned about coconut nectar too which has large amounts of nutrients and is naturally raw. Love using whole dates as well! I haven’t tried date sugar but I really like coconut sugar. Coconut nectar has a good amount of amino acids, you should look into that as it’s listed on many websites but I don’t remember the amounts. I’m sure the amounts are small but it all adds up.
      As for honey, I do not recommend for ethical and moral reasons alone, but I also read it causes inflammation… it’s literally bee vomit regurgitated over and over again. One of the main reasons we shouldn’t be using honey is due to the fact that it’s horrible for the environment because of what it does to bee populations. You can learn about that here:

  • Hi Dr. Gregor! Can you let me know your thoughts on coconut sugar/ nectar vs. honey/ maple syrup vs liquid stevia? I like to drink a tonic in the morning (with ginger, lemon and some herbs/ spices). I would like to sweeten this a bit… what are your thoughts on the best sweetener to use? thank you! Judy

  • Shaylen Snarski

    This simply isn’t true… Maple syrup has a large amount of minerals and a ton of riboflavin! How can anyone call it “just sugar?” That’s insane or just horribly misguided. It has a lot of zinc, calcium and other minerals and its manganese and vitamin B2 levels are through the roof, these are two nutrients people often don’t get enough of and even rely on fortified foods to get their riboflavin, but using this as a sweetener (I love it for hot cacao) can take care of falling short. So again, that is far from being justifiably put into a “which is worse” category let alone being called “just sugar.” I’m sorry, but this is horribly misleading.

    • Thea

      Shaylen Snarski: Your comment got me very curious. So, I lookup maple syrup on the NutritionSelf website, which gets its data from the USDA database.
      How much maple syrup are you likely to eat at a time? I assume it is less than a cup. One of the options was 1 ounce, which I think is about 1/4 cup. I thought that was a reasonable amount to look at. So, I set the amount to 1 ounce on this page: The result showed *zero* riboflavin and tiny amounts of most minerals, the main exception being manganese. Of course, it has no fiber. The majority of the calories are from sucrose.
      I don’t know where you get your data from, but my source indicates that the video matches the data pretty well. There are probably more minerals that one would get from table sugar, but I’m not really seeing much to get excited about. What are you seeing that I am missing?

      • Shaylen Snarski

        I’ve come across the info of the nutrients and minerals present in maple syrup all over the place. You can even just look on the back of labels, they don’t list all nutrients but usually the same basics and you’ll see significant amounts of things like calcium and zinc. Cronometer uses published research which is what I go by to measure nutrients in a day from time to time. There are less minerals in lighter colored syrups, I’m talking about grade b or dark types, but even coombs organic grade A syrup lists 8% calcium and 8% iron in 4 tbsp. I think it depends on the quality and purity as well as type of syrup. There is just so much in this stuff, even potassium, that to dismiss it as “just sugar” is insane to me or at the very least, unjust. It has a ton of manganese as well according to many sources, and while I eat a ton of plants and find this mineral really easy to get, some people are deficient and it can lead to seizures, so something as basic as putting maple syrup on your oatmeal or pancakes helping to fill in dietary gaps is pretty cool imo.
        As for how much I use, it depends. I sometimes use just a tablespoon or so to sweeten some hot cacao or plant milk, and I can sometimes use quite a lot to make sauces or pour on pancakes. Even if I’m only having a little, I learned to appreciate all amounts of nutrients in the foods I love because I see how quickly they all add up. I eat a ton of fiber throughout my day, in fact whatever I’m pairing with this sweetener has fiber in it, so I don’t worry about that. I’ve never had any sugar problems with this stuff at all or any natural food whereas I used to get really sick after eating sugary foods with refined sugars. I also read research where antioxidants, some unrecognized, have been discovered in the syrup. I forget which university did the study, I didn’t think to save a maple syrup source lol. Here’s another source I just quickly googled:

  • Evelina Stankevičiūtė

    And what about the cholesterol and saturated fat in honey? Doesn’t it matter?