Consumers have more variety and choices to sweeten their foods

In this interview Neil E. Levin discusses the many different types of natural sweeteners and sugar alternatives. Neil explains the important distinctions between the many different classes of sweeteners and what makes each sweetener unique.

Here are some of the sweeteners we discuss:

  • Sugar (sucrose) – is sourced from sugar cane or from sugar beets
  • Forms of sugar: White sugar, brown sugar (light and dark), Sucanat® (from sugar cane juice), molasses
  • Other sugars: fructose, glucose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, lactose.
  • Liquid Sweeteners: Honey, maple syrup, rice syrup
  • Sugar alcohols: sorbitol, erythritol, xylitol
  • Plant sweeteners: stevia and monk fruit (luo han)

NOW® Sweetener Chart

NOW® handy sweetness chart makes it easy to compare the sweetness levels of various NOW® sweeteners compared to table sugar, as well as their glycemic impact. In this table you’ll find two different glycemic measurements – glycemic index and glycemic impact.

Glycemic index measures how different types of carbohydrate-containing foods raise blood glucose levels within two hours of ingestion. Low glycemic index is considered to be less than 55, medium falls between 56 and 69, and a high glycemic index is a rating of 70 or more.

Glycemic impact is a more consumer-friendly method of rating foods based on their effect on blood glucose levels, using low, medium and high to rate the overall glycemic impact of various foods. Source: NOW®

I counted up the various sweeteners we use in my home. We try to use the most nutritious sweetener depending of the application.  Sugar, dark brown sugar, crystalline fructose, honey, date sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup and even ripe bananas. I’m sure I missed some.

The point is this: There are many sweeteners to choose from. Use the best product for the application. We use crystalline fructose for homemade lemonade. We use dark brown sugar and ripe bananas for banana bread. We use honey on toast and in tea.  Maple syrup on pancakes etc.  Use a variety of natural products conscientiously as appropriate your health and lifestyle choices.

The second point is that if you are making foods from scratch, using nutritious ingredients then you will naturally and automatically reduce your consumption of sugar. It is the hidden and not so hidden sugar in processed foods and drinks that do us in. If you don’t consume these foods then your sugar consumption should go way down.

NOW® has over 40 sweeteners of the various types. In fact NOW® was one of the very early producers of stevia going back nearly 30 years. They have been in the forefront of stevia evolution. They produce Better Stevia® which has much less of the stevia aftertaste.

Monk Fruit (Luo Han)

One of the newest sweeteners from NOW® is Organic Monk fruit extract. Monk fruit is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar and is considered a Zero-Calorie Sweetener

Naturally derived from the nectar of a small fruit that grows on vines in Asia, NOW® Real Food Monk Fruit Extract Organic Powder is 200X sweeter than sugar. Now, it’s available in a variety of forms and flavors to sweeten just about anything without the sugar-guilt or any unpleasant aftertaste.

Neil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA

CLICK HERE for a link to all interviews with Neil E. Levin.

Neil E. Levin

Neil E. Levin is the Senior Nutrition Education Manager and a product formulator for NOW®. He is a board-certified clinical nutritionist with a diplomat in advanced nutritional laboratory assessment. The U.S. Natural Products Association (NPA) presented Neil its Industry Champion Award in 2008 for “people who have made notable individual contributions to the natural products industry above and beyond what is expected to achieve commercial success.” Neil’s interviews and articles are published in magazines and newspapers. He has been featured in many radio interviews and television news reports. Neil blogs at; is on Facebook (Honest Nutrition) and Twitter (neilelevin).


Since 1968 NOW® has been a leader in the natural products industry. Even when healthy foods and natural supplements weren’t mainstream, we’ve never wavered from our mission – to provide value in products and services that empower people to lead healthier lives.



357 – Becoming a Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Health Coach

In this interview with Reed Davis, we will discuss Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® (FDN). Reed Davis and I share the view that nutrition is the foundation of good health. More people are making changes to their lifestyle and diet seeking to improve and maintain health and healing. One of the biggest challenges is understanding what they can do and how to measure the results, especially if they have health challenges.

This is why we need health coaches who have the training and skill to guide us. Perhaps you want to become a health coach. You should consider FDN. If you are a health care professional who seeks to augment your training, consider FDN. Even if you are a lay person who wants to study the foundations of health for your personal benefit, FDN can provide training you can use.

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356 – The Amazing Benefits of Black Seed Oil

Dr Ingram is one of the most influential champions in the natural products industry. Dr. Ingram introduced the health benefits of wild spice oils starting with oregano oil. For decades he has been the single voice for these powerful compounds that are found in natural spice oils.

Dr. Ingram is also the author of the book The Black Seed Miracle. Dr. Ingram speaks so highly of Black Seed Oil as beneficial for so many of the health issues that people face. Dr. Ingram describes the conditions that may be positively effected by black seed oil. In his book The Black Seed Miracle, you can learn about black seed and its beneficial oil

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355 – Boosting Your Collagen Production, Naturally with BioSil®

In this interview with Richard Passwater, Jr. we will discuss the role of collagen throughout the body. A lot of consumers are interested in collagen. Collagen supplements abound. Collagen is the main support for cells throughout the body. Along with collagen, elastin and keratin are the main proteins used in the body to support hair, skin, nails and bones. As we age our production of collagen goes down. Many consumers are taking collagen in hopes of off-setting this decline.

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354 – Why Many Doctors Are Wrong About Probiotics

In this interview with Ross Pelton (the Natural Pharmacist) we are going to explore a recent piece published in the prestigious Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA) which effectively disparages the entire probiotic industry. This is a perfect example of the collusion of the medical industry to first disparage an entire segment of the nutritional industry and then attempt to turn those products into drugs. This article discourages practitioners from recommending conventional probiotics. Doctors trust medical journals to keep them informed and when articles like this are published by JAMA, doctors assume it must be true. It is poorly placed trust.

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353- Your Skin Also Has a Microbiome

In this interview with Dr. Jason Mitchell we will discuss the importance of your skins microbiome. Just as we have learned of the importance of the gut microbiome and our soil’s microbiome, we are now learning of the importance of the skin’s microbiome.

Dr. Mitchell explains the role of beneficial bacteria on our skin. He discusses what disrupts our beneficial balance and how topical products can support healthy and glowing skin. He explains the origins of Probulin® Skin Care line and how they can be effective to maintain your skin.

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352 – Green Propolis Provides Unique Health and Immune Support

In this interview with Mark Kaylor, we will discuss the properties of green propolis. Mark will make the distinctions between brown, green and red propolis. This is our second interview with Mark on propolis. In our previous interview we discussed brown propolis and in our next interview we will discuss red propolis.

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351 – Quick Immune Response to Coronavirus

In this interview Dr. Michael Schwartz, we discuss the principles of naturopathy as foundational to good health. Then we will discuss the specific nutrients that he recommends to his clients regarding coronavirus and how to nourish and support the immune system.
What we are suggesting is that powerful nutrients are an important part of your regimen to stay healthy. It is one part of a strategic approach to dealing with these times. Dr. Schwartz would be the first to agree that there are many ways to manage your risk and the wise person will employ most of them. A strategic approach will lead to a reduction in risk and include a targeted plan to stay healthy.

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350 – Spice Oils Can Kill Viruses

This is our first interview recorded on March 20, 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak. We have a powerful interview with Dr. Cass Ingram on the use of spice oils for these times. I have interviewed Dr. Ingram many times over several decades. He is a tireless proponent of natural spice oils and more.

In this interview we will explore how and why to use spice oils as part of your plan to stay healthy. Here is what you need to know first:

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349 – Immune Support for the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

In this interview Sara Pluta will discuss the non-CBD approach for supporting the Endocannabinoid system (ECS). We are learning that the ECS has profound influence on the immune system as we are learning that the ECS has a master role throughout the body.

We will also discuss the newest product for Emerald Health Bioceuticals: Endo Immune. Endo Immune is designed to support natural immunity.*

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