A senior enjoying a sugar substitute at an assisted living home.

The Best Sugar Substitutes for Seniors in Assisted Living

As we age, the digestive system in our body becomes weaker and it cannot process sugar as well as it used to. A high amount of sugar is bad for seniors and can lead to many health complications, which is why you need to ensure that your elderly loved one follows a sugar-free healthy diet. Yet if your senior parent or grandparent craves something sweet, then you can ask the assisted living caregivers to substitute sugar with the following ingredients to fulfill their desires.


Applesauce has plenty of essential vitamins, fiber, and minerals, which make it a great alternative for sugar. A cup of unsweetened applesauce contains around 100 calories, which means that replacing sugar with unsweetened applesauce in your senior’s diet will significantly lower the amount of calories without having to sacrifice sweetness. As applesauce has plenty of moisture, it can be a good choice for making cookies and muffins too.

Raw Honey

Raw honey comes with powerful antioxidant qualities, while it can also help to fight allergies, colds, and common infections in seniors. You can use raw honey in place of sugar in any type of food, ranging from smoothies and hot beverages to oatmeal and salad dressings. Raw honey is even sweeter than cane sugar, which means that you will need a lesser amount of honey to get the same sweet taste.


Rapadura or panela is the Latin American name for unrefined, dried sugar cane juice. It gives the same flavor and taste like regular sugar but it comes without heavy processing and retains more vitamins and minerals found in sugarcane. Rapadura also contains critical nutrients like phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and it is a great source of vitamins A, B1, B2, and B6 as well.


Reb-A, or Rebaudioside-A, is a type of sweetener (steviol glycoside) that is made from the stevia plant. It is said that Reb-A is the sweetest of all stevia components and around 240 times sweeter than regular cane sugar. That makes it a perfect alternative for seniors who cannot live without eating something sweet every day. It can be easily added to morning tea or coffee or used when making baked items.

Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar, or coconut palm sugar, is unrefined, natural sugar made from coconut palm sap. It contains all of coconut palm’s vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy choice for your elderly loved one. Coconut sugar does not lead to high blood sugar or any other starch-related problems either. However, diabetic seniors should consult with their doctors before using coconut sugar in their diets. Caregivers at an assisted living center can also help your elderly loved one establish a regular exercise schedule.