10 Products That Help You Cut Out Sugar (Without Using Sugar Substitutes)

Cutting back on sugar is a smart move that can enhance many aspects of your health. Check out these 10 sweet products that have scaled back on sugar grams (and they did it without using alternative sweeteners).

According to a 2021 study, nearly three out of four adults are trying to limit or avoid sugars altogether in their diets. The reasons for cutting out sugar range from better management of blood sugars to losing weight, improving dental health, and reducing chronic inflammation. But anyone who has tried to scale back on sugar knows it's not so easy. Our taste buds have been trained to recognize sweetness as an enjoyable and safe trait in foods. The trouble is: The more sugar we eat, the more sugar we want. Food manufacturers are aware of this pattern, which is why 74% of the products you can buy contain sugar or alternative sweeteners, or both.

Our demand for ever sweeter foods, coupled with food manufacturers increasingly providing them to us, has resulted in a nearly 30% increase in added sugar consumption by American adults in the last three decades. But our shift toward wanting lower to zero sugar options has food producers responding in kind. The answer has been a flood of products that have less or no sugar, but contain high-intensity sweeteners that contribute fewer calories.

Artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame, sugar alcohols like erythritol, and more natural options like stevia and monk fruit are ingredients that do, indeed, help people with cutting sugar out of diets. But many people balk at the taste (or aftertaste) of these intensely sweet alternatives. Others don't embrace artificial sweeteners because they're skeptical of their benefits or worried about possible risks, such as an increased glucose intolerance (a precursor to diabetes) that can result from from frequent consumption of artificial sweeteners.

The good news is that some innovative food makers are finding creative ways to use less sugar—and they're managing to do so without resorting to artificial or natural sugar alternatives. Here are 10 foods to try if you're wondering how to cut back on sugar, but you're also not interested in alternative sweeteners.

low sugar, no sugar added or zero sugar products on background
Courtesy of Amazon

10 Products That Have Cut Sugar Without Using Sugar Substitutes

When you set out to reduce the amount of sugar you're consuming, it's important to know the top sources (including sneaky sources of added sugar) and which foods have less sugar. Beverages like sodas and sweetened coffees, as well as sweet snacks, breakfast bars, and condiments, tend tend to be where most sugar comes from. Here are 10 foods you can buy from these high-sugar categories that have cut out the sweet stuff naturally.

01 of 10

Good Food For Good BBQ Sauce

good for good bbq sauce no added sugar
Courtesy of Amazon

Typical BBQ Sauce = 8 to 16 grams total sugar (2 tablespoons)

Good Food For Good BBQ Sauce = 2 grams added sugar (2 tablespoons)

A drizzle of sweet-spicy BBQ sauce can elevate grilled meats and veggies. But most people don't realize that only a couple of tablespoons of this condiment rack up more sugar than three Oreo cookies! Instead of the typical additions of brown sugar, molasses, cane sugar, and corn syrup, organic Good Food For Good uses dates to add sweetness for just 2 grams of total sugar per serving of their BBQ sauce. This woman-owned company also has a buy-one, feed-one model, so every jar purchased equals one meal donated to fight world hunger. The BBQ Sauce comes in Classic and Sweet & Spicy flavors, and the company has a variety of date-sweetened, low-sugar cooking sauces and condiments.

Buy It: Good Food For Good BBQ Sauce ($15, Amazon)

02 of 10

Zero Sugar Maple Hill Organic MilkMilk

maple hill organic zero sugar milk
Courtesy of Amazon

Typical Glass of Milk = 12 grams natural sugar (1 cup)

Maple Hill Organic Zero-Sugar Milk = 0 grams natural sugar (1 cup)

Milk naturally contains sugar from lactose, to the tune of 12 grams of sugar in a typical 8-ounce glass. And while this sugar is naturally occurring, not added, many people will find the option for a zero sugar, zero carb milk attractive. Maple Hill has removed the lactose through a proprietary soft-filtering process, so that each serving still contains the beneficial fats, calcium, and potassium normally in milk, but none of the sugar, resulting in a thick, creamy beverage. It's perfect for pouring over cereal or adding to smoothies, which already contain plenty of sugar from other ingredients. Available in Whole and Reduced Fat (2%), this milk is also a great option for people who are intolerant or sensitive to lactose.

Buy It: Maple Hill Organic Zero Sugar Milk ($4, Whole Foods)

03 of 10

Skinny Dipped Dark Chocolate Cocoa Almonds

skinny dipped almond snacks made with natural sugar
Courtesy of Amazon

Typical Chocolate-Covered Almonds = 10 grams added sugar (1 ounce)

Skinny Dipped Dark Chocolate Cocoa Almonds = 6 grams added sugar (1 ounce)

Chocolate and almonds are a decadent treat with some actual health benefits from the good fats, protein, and fiber in the nuts. But the sweet-salty snack can go from good to bad when you factor in a thick layer of chocolate made using low-quality oils and a lot of added sugar. Skinny Dipped noticed the chocolate-almond ratio was off and decided to make this popular snack in a different way. Instead of coating the almonds in stevia or artificially sweetened chocolate, they simply opted to make the chocolate coating thinner, cutting out nearly half the grams of added sugars. Available in a variety of flavors and also as chocolate-covered cashews.

Buy It: Skinny Dipped Dark Chocolate Cocoa Almonds ($24, Amazon)

04 of 10

Revive Kombucha

revive kombucha
Courtesy of Amazon

Typical Kombucha = 8 to 12 grams added sugar (12 ounces)

Revive Kombucha = 5 grams added sugar (12 ounces)

You can't make kombucha without sugar. This fizzy-pungent probiotic beverage is made when a SCOBY (a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) is mixed with tea and sugar, then left to ferment for several days. The yeast and bacteria feed on the sugar, creating carbon dioxide (those pleasant bubbles). While kombucha as a whole is lower in sugar compared to sodas, fruit juices, and other sweetened teas, the health conscious among us are always happy to scale back on as many grams of sugar as possible. That's exactly what Revive set out to create with their popular sparkling beverage that comes in eight flavors, including Citrus Ginger, Strawberry Lemon, and Blackberry Grape. The company also has a line of soda-mimicking kombuchas in flavors like Cherry Cola and Root Beer, which ring in at 5 grams of added sugars each.

Buy It: Revive Kombucha ($40, Amazon)

05 of 10

Grandy Oats Classic Granola

grandy organic low sugar granola
Courtesy of Amazon

Typical Granola = 10 to 12 grams total sugar (½ cup)

Grandy Oats Classic Granola = 6 grams total sugar (½ cup)

Made from oats, nuts, seeds, oil, and sweetener, granola is an energy-filled breakfast or snack that's often part of a healthful diet. But granola can contain low quality oils that cause inflammation, along with loads of sugar. The sugars can add up quickly, especially if you eat granola regularly and in amounts higher than the recommended ¼ to ⅓ cup amount listed on most Nutrition Facts Panels. While other brands may lower the sugar content with stevia, monk fruit, or other sugar alternatives, Grandy Oats has instead reined in the sugar grams by using honey, but in lesser amounts than is typical. The result is a full ½-cup serving that contains just 6 total grams of sugar for both the Classic and Honey Nut flavors. The company also offers a coconut based, grain-free granola that has only 4 grams of sugar per ¼ cup.

Buy It: Grandy Oats Classic Granola ($23, Amazon)

06 of 10

Kashi Honey Toasted Organic Oat Cereal

kashi honey toasted oats cereal
Courtesy of Target

Typical Honey Toasted Oat Cereal = 12 to 15 grams total sugar (1 cup)

Kashi Honey Toasted Organic Oat Cereal = 7 grams total sugar (1 cup)

Breakfast cereals are one of the top five sources of added sugars in the American diet. So finding a great-tasting, lower-sugar option can make a big impact on your overall sugar intake, especially if you often turn to cereal out of convenience during the morning rush. Kashi has made a focused effort to improve their cereal products by reining in sugar content and supporting farmers who are transitioning their acreage to organic. Kashi cereal flakes, toasted oats, whole wheat biscuits, crisps, and crunchy cereals all fall on the lower end of total sugars versus comparable cereals from other brands. The Kashi Honey Toasted Organic Oat Cereal, for example, contains one-half to one-third less sugar than other honey-sweetened Os.

Buy It: Kashi Honey Toasted Organic Oat Cereal ($5, Target)

07 of 10

Theo Dark Chocolate Bar

theo low sugar dark chocolate bar
Courtesy of Amazon

Typical Dark Chocolate Bar = 10 grams total sugar (28 grams)

Theo Dark Chocolate Bar = 4 grams total sugar (28 grams)

Enjoying a square or two of dark chocolate is a popular way to satisfy a craving for sweets. The bitterness of dark chocolate is credited with staving off more cravings for sweets, while also providing health-enhancing flavonoids, as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, along with fiber. But when it comes to dark chocolate bars, you have many choices. Since the whole point of enjoying dark chocolate in moderation is to get that sweet taste without an excess of sugar, why not opt for the lowest added-sugar option—and one that tastes great? Theo Chocolate is ethically sourced and made from organic cocoa beans, organic cocoa butter, and organic cane sugar. The Pure 85% Dark Chocolate Bar and Salted Cashew 85% Dark Chocolate bar contain an impressively low 4 grams of total sugar per serving.

Buy It: Theo Dark Chocolate Bar, Pack of 12 ($47, Amazon)

08 of 10

Solely Fruit Snack Gummies

soley gummies with no added sugar
Courtesy of Amazon

Typical Fruit Snack Gummies = 8 to 11 grams total sugar (in 20 to 25 gram size)

Solely Fruit Snack Gummies = 7 grams total sugar (in 20 gram size)

Whether they're shaped as bears, rings, bunnies, or tiny fruits, chewable gummy snacks are a fast, easy, and portable way for parents to provide a child with a small treat. But it can be disheartening to pick up a box of fruit snacks, only to discover the main ingredients are artificial fruit flavors and corn syrup. Reach for something healthier with Solely whole fruit mango and orange gummies, made simply using organic fruit and vitamin C. The company's single-ingredient fruit jerky is also a healthy step up compared to other brands of fruit leather snacks.

Buy It: Solely Fruit Snack Gummies ($9, Amazon)

09 of 10

Otamot Organic Essential Sauce

otamot essential sauce with no sugar
Courtesy of Amazon

Typical Pasta Sauce = 4 to 6 grams added sugar (½ cup)

Otamot Organic Essential Sauce = 0 grams added sugar (½ cup)

Any Italian cook will tell you that tomato sauce benefits from the addition of a pinch of sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. But most pasta sauce companies add far more than a pinch, resulting in sauce that contains 4 grams or more of added sugars per ½ cup. Instead, Otamot (that's tomato spelled backward) employs veggies like carrots, red bell peppers, and beets to add natural sweetness, keeping cane sugar far away from the pot. The addition of 10 organic vegetables to every jar also ups the fiber content to an impressive 6 grams per serving with zero added sugars. Otamot has also released a pizza sauce with zero added sugar.

Buy It: Otamot Organic Essential Sauce, 4-Pack ($32, Amazon)

10 of 10

Chef's Cut Zero Sugar Jerky

chef's cut no sugar jerky snack
Courtesy of Amazon

Typical Beef Jerky = 2 to 3 grams added sugar (1 ounce)

Chef's Cut Zero Sugar Jerky = 0 grams added sugar (1 ounce)

Beef jerky connoisseurs know the texture, spices, and thickness they're after in each high-protein bite. What they don't often find appealing is the addition of added sugars from high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. Chef's Cut crafts their perfectly chewy and thick jerky from premium cuts of beef, sugar-free marinades, and a proprietary smoking process. Available in Original, Original Biltong (spice-forward), and Spicy Chili Biltong, as well as beef sticks, chicken jerky, and turkey jerky.

Buy It: Chef's Cut Zero Sugar Jerky, Pack of 4 ($25, Amazon)

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