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90/10 Nutrition Guide to Sweeteners

One of the common topics in our community has to do with sweeteners.  90/10 members want to know where different sweeteners fall on the tiers and often WHY their favorite sweeteners are red or yellow tier.

This can be a very confusing subject and many of the decisions we have made for 90/10 Nutrition could be debated, but I think you will find this guide useful to understand why we classify sweeteners as we do.

 Normally, when we think of sweeteners, the first one that comes to mind is “sugar”.  Although sugar comes in different forms, it is helpful for the purpose of this guide to think of this as a guide to sugars and MOST things that can replace sugar as a sweetener.  We will cover all the major ones as of this writing but I will also explain WHY each one is classified as it is so you can use similar logic for any that we have not covered here.

Remember that one of the main goals of 90/10 Nutrition is to eat REAL food that is as unprocessed as possible.  That doesn’t mean we always eat WHOLE foods.  Almond milk would be a good example of a very REAL food that is not a WHOLE food and can be made at home with a “process” but we would not consider it a processed food in the bad sense.

With that said, just about every sweetener is a processed food, and that puts MOST of them on the yellow or red list unfortunately.  Thankfully, you often don’t use much sweetener throughout the day when you eat REAL food so even yellow tier sweeteners should fit into your plan to sweeten your coffee or recipe.



Remember, that you only get 10% from the yellow tier.  So, while some of the sweeteners listed here are certainly not “healthy”, they are considered yellow tier.


There isn’t much of a choice here.  We realize that.  But, between the green tier options and the yellow tier options, you should be able to get what you need.

Did we forget one?  Leave a comment and ask us what we think!


This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. I think date sugar could be added as a yellow tier sweetener. It is just finely ground dried dates so has all the nutrients and fiber retained. Some use it in place of brown sugar.

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