New Mate drinkers often wonder whether it’s okay to add sugar or other sweeteners in their Mate or not? The simple answer is: sure! It’s your Mate; add whatever you want. If you like sweet flavors, then sweeten your gourd till you’re content. No problema!
But is it healthy? That’s another question, entirely. It’s common scientific knowledge that sugar, at the very least, suppresses the immune system and increase inflammation. Studies have shown sugar to inhibit white cells from doing their jobs properly by ridding you body from harmful bacteria.
So with the science about sugar’s inhibiting effects in mind, and if you’re concerned about your health, it only make sense not to add plenty of refined, white sugar to your Mate.
The safer idea would be to use, if any, unrefined (and organic) sugars such as: raw honey, agave nectar, or raw brown sugar. Adding a few dabs of honey into your gourd before you add the hot water is a perfect way of lightly sweetening your naturally-bitter Mate, as well as not compromising your health.
I personally don’t add sugar to my Mate, as I’ve grown to appreciate the bitterness of the yerba. Theoretically, the pure yerba leaf without any adulterants is the healthiest form of consumption. However, adding a small amount of natural sugar, as far as I can tell, is fine. You’ll still benefit from Mate’s powerful health effects.