Commonly consumed carbohydrate sweeteners derived from sugar cane, palm, and corn (syrups) were investigated to determine their potential to inhibit key enzymes relevant to Type 2 diabetes and hypertension based on the total phenolic content and antioxidant activity using in vitro models. Among sugar cane derivatives, brown sugars showed higher antidiabetes potential than white sugars; nevertheless, no angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition was detected in both sugar classes. Brown sugar from Peru and Mauritius (dark muscovado) had the highest total phenolic content and 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging activity, which correlated with a moderate inhibition of yeast alpha-glucosidase without showing a significant effect on porcine pancreatic alpha-amylase activity. In addition, chlorogenic acid quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography was detected in these sugars (128 +/- 6 and 144 +/- 2 microg/g of sample weight, respectively). Date sugar exhibited high alpha-glucosidase, alpha-amylase, and ACE inhibitory activities that correlated with high total phenolic content and antioxidant activity. Neither phenolic compounds or antioxidant activity was detected in corn syrups, indicating that nonphenolic factors may be involved in their significant ability to inhibit alpha-glucosidase, alpha-amylase, and ACE. This study provides a strong biochemical rationale for further in vivo studies and useful information to make better dietary sweetener choices for Type 2 diabetes and hypertension management.