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News / Life / Food

These 3 sweeteners gut-friendly

By Ebony Williams, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published: May 17, 2024, 5:57am

Whether you’re getting older or have a low tolerance for the sweetener, the gastrointestinal tract can be fickle when digesting sugar.

Caving in to cravings can be satisfying, but depending on what you eat, you could pay for it later. Most sweets could contain artificial sweeteners that, according to Woman’s World, taste anywhere between “100 to over 700 times” as sweet as sugar.

“Each person’s microbiome is individualized from birth based on genetics, environment, your overall diet, eating fermented foods, medications and age,” registered dietitian Libby Mills, RD told Woman’s World. “It is difficult to know how each person’s microbiome will be affected by eating non-nutritive sweeteners.”

If you can’t ditch the sweets, there are other ways to satisfy the craving without grabbing the sugar packets or artificial stuff. Here are three substitutions Woman’s World recommends.


When it comes to finding the right sugars, it’s only fitting to think of nature’s candy — honey. It’s rich in antioxidants, can help maintain blood sugar levels, improve heart health, and help heal burns and wounds, all while taking it easy on your gut.

“In moderation, they may offer some potential benefits due to their nutrition profile and potential prebiotic effect,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Vandana R. Sheth, RDN, CDCES, FAND. “Natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup may be less disruptive to gut bacteria compared to non-nutritive sweeteners.”

Whole fruits

If you have some fruit laying around, and a mallet, mixer or blender, then it’s time to get creative. Creating your own apple sauce, banana purees and sherbet ice creams is a great way to take advantage of natural sugars that are easier to digest.

“Fibers of all types are beneficial for gut health, so these all-fruit spreads would be marginally better than fiber-less natural sweeteners,” Mills said.

Monk fruit extract

Monk fruit extract and stevia derive from plants and are great options for those wanting a little sweetness without the calories. An added bonus to monk fruit is mogroside, a compound that helps keep cholesterol low by reducing inflammation.

While switching out sugary things and artificial sweeteners can be good for the gut, it’s noted they should also be taken in moderation.