Would you like to be able to kick your sugar habit to the curb and still satisfy your sweet tooth? Then you are in luck. We’ve have five healthy, natural alternatives to refined sugar. You can use them to add extra flavor to yogurt, sweeten your coffee, or whenever you want to add a touch of sweetness to your dish without adding refined sugar.
Stevia is one of the most popular natural sweeteners. This herb which comes from South America is 300 times sweeter than refined sugar. It contains zero calories, so is a great choice if you’re trying to lose weight. Plus, it has no glycemic impact, so it’s a perfect refined sugar alternative if you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic. Stevia is also very easy to digest which means you won’t suffer from any of the digestive problems that are often associated with sugar substitutes. We recommend you spend a little bit extra and buy organic stevia to get a non genetically modified (GMO) product without any unwanted additives. Just like with other products, you’ll want to turn over any package and read the ingredient list. You’re likely to see more than just stevia on that list, especially if it’s an inexpensive brand. Most stevia products at the store contain one or more additives in order to bulk up the product and create a more free-flowing powder. Liquid stevia products may also be in a base of alcohol (much like vanilla extract), though many alcohol-free varieties are available.
Honey is sweeter than refined sugar and has a much greater range of health benefits. It contains high levels of vitamins and minerals which support many vital processes within the body. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, so is a perfect sweetener for boosting your immunity. Unlike refined sugar, honey is also great for your skin and can help make it brighter, smoother and more radiant. It tastes great in tea and can also be used as a replacement for sugar in many recipes.
Coconut sugar is created by heating the sap from coconut palms. Unlike refined sugar, coconut sugar doesn’t de-stabilize your energy levels, so is ideal if you want to stay productive and focused during the day. Like stevia, it’s also a great choice if you suffer from diabetes because it won’t disrupt your blood sugar levels. Another great thing about coconut sugar is that it supplies your body with nutrients as it sweetens and is a good source of calcium, iron, potassium and zinc.
3. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup contains around half the calories of refined sugar and is a much more nutritious choice. It’s loaded with antioxidants which protect your body’s cells from damage and reduce the visible signs of aging. Maple syrup is also a brilliant source of the manganese and zinc which boost your metabolism and your immune system. In addition to this, it’s great for your skin and can protect against skin blemishes, dry skin and redness. Finally, maple syrup has been shown to protect against a range of chronic ailments and diseases including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and heart disease.
4. Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is created by heating the sap from coconut palms. Unlike refined sugar, coconut sugar does not de-stabilize your energy level, so is ideal if you want to stay focused and productive throughout the day. Like stevia, it’s also a great choice if you suffer from diabetes/pre-diabetes because it won’t upset your blood sugar levels. Another great thing about coconut sugar is that it supplies your body with nutrients as it sweetens and is a good source of calcium, iron, potassium and zinc.
5. Date Sugar
Date sugar is made by grinding down dehydrated dates into sugar sized granules. As you might expect from the production process, it has the same sweet and rich flavor of fresh dates, and shares all their health benefits. These health benefits include strengthening your heart, lowering blood pressure, and promoting healthy digestion. The negative of date sugar is that it doesn’t melt or dissolve easily, so it’s generally not a good choice to sweeten drinks.
What’s your favorite alternative to sugar?