Surely you must have seen products on the market with labels saying that they do not use sugar, but natural sweeteners. And surely you must have had doubts about this type of information. Then let us clear all your questions in this article.
To begin with, it is necessary to understand what, after all, “natural” means when we talk about sweeteners. The sugar we know (table sugar) has a natural origin: sugar cane is taken and its content goes through a refinement process until it reaches the final stage the white sugar that we’re all so familiar with. So we cannot say that this sugar is truly natural, as it has undergone refinement processes that involve industrial steps, such as filtration and crystallization.
So what would something naturally sweetened be? A good example of this are juices. When we take a sweeter fruit, such as a strawberry or banana, add it with water and hit the blender, we notice that, when drinking, we feel a sweeter taste. This is because fruits contain fructose, a type of natural sweetener. In the production of beverages, it is common to find products without the classic sugar we know – table sugar. That’s because these drinks take advantage of fructose to sweeten the product, which makes it better to consume – not necessarily healthier. And the reason is simple: they don’t go through industrial processes and they have low glycemic indexes.
Stevia is also a well-known type of natural sweetener: low in calories – less than regular sugar and even fructose – it is extracted from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana and is a great choice for many types of end products – not just beverages, as well as food.
When you find a drink on the market that says it has no “added sugar” it means the drink used either fructose or stevia (low calories) in the process to naturally sweeten the drink. That is, it did not use common table sugar as we know it to sweeten the product.