Natural Sugar Substitutes

Sugar (the added, refined stuff) is one of worst ingredients of our diet and it has been linked to various problems including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.

It seems that we like things sweet but unfortunately, we are eating way too much of sugar which contains no protein, essential fats, vitamins or minerals. The truth is there is simply nothing good about it and although we might want it, we definitely don’t need it!

But don’t worry there is no need to forego the sweetness (if that’s what you like) because there are many ways to sweeten the food without a single pinch of sugar.

Let’s explore some of the alternatives you can use to make sure your food is healthier yet still sweet.

Stevia

Stevia is probably the healthiest choice out there. It is 100 % natural herbal alternative to sugar. It comes in both powder and liquid form and its compounds are extracted from the stevia plant.

It has been shown to lower both blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Stevia is suitable for diabetics, vegans, those on a low carb diet and anyone who wants to reduce their sugar consumption.

Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that offers sweetness that is very similar to the regular sugar. It is natural and comes from corn or birch wood and is found in many fruits and vegetables.

Xylitol is a great sugar replacement and offers several benefits. It aids weight loss and helps to improve oral health (yes you read that right!) by reducing plaque, caries and cavities. Also, it doesn’t raise blood sugar or insulin levels. Because it contains zero fructose it has none of the harmful effects associated with sugar.

Coconut sugar

Coconut sugar is extracted from the sap of the coconut palm and contains a few nutrients such as: iron, zinc, calcium and potassium. It has a lower glycemic index than sugar (meaning less effect on the blood sugar, lower rise in blood glucose).

However, it’s worth remembering that although it is a ‘less bad sugar’ it is still a sugar which is high in calories and fructose (the reason why the regular sugar is unhealthy in the first place). So, although it might be a bit better it is still advised to be consumed in moderation

Maple syrup

Maple syrup is made by cooking down the sap of maple tress which gives us a thick sugary liquid.

It’s made up of quite a few minerals such as: calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and manganese. It also contains number of antioxidants. Similarly, to coconut sugar it has a lower glycemic index than regular sugar and it’s a better option than the regular white stuff but again to be consumed in moderation.

Bottom line is that Eating too much sugar is bad for us and sometimes we might not even realize that sugar has been added to products that we buy. Checking labels is once again a key to make the right decision.  But it is also important to watch the sugar content whilst preparing your own meals. And remember even with when you are using healthier alternatives, like everything else, it’s all about moderation.

Karolina Scott