Doctor's Note

For some of the most recent videos on dates:
How to Reach the Antioxidant RDA
Spicing Up DNA Protection

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!

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

If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Luis Rojas

    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!

  • Crystal Niedzwiadek

    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.

  • 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.

  • Anthony Zacchino

    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


    • h7opolo

      Himalayan pink salt is nutritious.

      • Michael Greger M.D.

        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.

  • 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. 

  • गरिष्ठ

    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.

  • Lauren Rae Layton Ard

    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?

  • Stuart Pierce

    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.

  • 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.

  • Stephen Lucker Kelly

    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?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      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

  • Didi Nour

    yes dates :) desert bedouins’ best strengthening food

  • Sharon

    What about coconut sugar?

  • Stephen Lucker Kelly

    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?

    • Toxins

      xylitol is not healthful because it draws water out from the large intestines which can lead to diarrhea.

      • Mary Lawrence

        Yes but if you only have it in small quantities, then that’s the only concern as far as I can see, or is my research letting me down? Is it harmful otherwise?

  • 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!

  • Dan Lundeen

    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?

  • Marisa Blake

    where does coconut sugar/syrup fit in?

  • Karlyn

    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? :-)

    • Don Forrester MD

      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.

  • Kim Davis

    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,


    • Don Forrester MD

      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.

  • 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?