Today’s market offers many sweeteners from various natural sources. The customer can choose whether to sweeten the food with cane sugar, agave syrup, or stevia powder. Growing raw materials for the production of sweeteners takes its toll – a significant impact on the environment.

Sugarcane Occupies Habitats

Sugar cane harvest. Image by Bishnu Sarangi from Pixabay

According to World Wildlife, the sugar industry produces large amounts of emissions and wastewater, which often pollute and damage the environment. The sludge from the mills decomposes in freshwater streams, absorbs oxygen, and this leads to massive fish deaths. The conversion of tropical habitats into sugar cane plantations leads to the loss of biodiversity.

Agave Premature Harvest of Deprives Bats of Nectar

Agave plants, Mexico. Image by Efrain Hernandez from Pixabay

Agave syrup, a popular sugar substitute due to its lower glycemic index, is made from a succulent plant native to Mexico. High demand and pressure on farmers have caused farmers to harvest plants before they start blooming. The lack of agave flowers causes a lack of food for bats, which feed on this nectar. Another potential problem that can occur is that some agave varieties will be endangered. Growers propagate plants with genetically identical shoots.

Date Palms Need Copious Watering to Produce Enough

Date palm tree. Image by ivabalk from Pixabay

Although date palms can withstand long periods of drought, they require regular watering to provide quality fruit for commercial production. Flood irrigation is still used in many areas – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United States. High orchard concentrations can disrupt local groundwater supplies.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), it is almost impossible to define the “most sustainable sweetener” because conditions vary widely around the world in terms of soil, plants, farming methods, and weather. Certified organic products are the most appropriate option, as these certifications ensure that the products have been produced without the use of pesticides and are in compliance with certain labor standards.

Source:, featured image: Image by Th G from Pixabay