The overconsumption of processed sugar and carbohydrate intake make us look today at alternatives to sugar. Alternatives still have sugar but they are easier for your body to process. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently dropped the recommended daily allowance of sugar from 10% to 5%. (or roughly 25 grams, 6 teaspoons). Read on for these 5 Great Sugar Alternatives!
This is extracted from birch wood and is a naturally occurring alcohol found in plant material such as vegetables and fruits (eg. cauliflower, berries and plums). Xylitol benefits include the fact that it doesn’t raise your blood sugar level, helps prevent tooth decay, has the same sweetness of regular sugar and might even prevent ear infections in preschool children. (A note of caution however: if you have dogs, be careful with the handling and storing of birch sugar as evidence suggests it can cause severe liver damage in animals.)
2. Raw honey
If you decide to swap out refined sugar and use honey, better to make sure you pick the raw variety. Raw honey (contrary to most of the honeys consumed nowadays that are filtered and heated) is unpasteurized, unfiltered and pure so it keeps its wonderful nutritional values intact and maintains many health benefits, is antibacterial, antiseptic and has anti-inflammatory properties. Despite its many advantages, honey has a similar effect on your blood sugar level as regular sugar, making it unsuited to diabetics. Children under one-year-old should not eat honey since it may contain a bacteria that could grow in the child’s undeveloped digestive system. According to research, honey might reduce allergy symptoms, so if you buy local honey it could actually help with allergies since it may make your body adapt to local pollen strains.
As other fruits can be an alternative to sugar, the pluses of using dates are that its high potassium content, vitamins, minerals and fibre are even higher than that of honey. The fibre and low glycemic index in dates help to slow down sugar absorption. Dates have been shown to relieve constipation, decrease cholesterol and boost energy. Dates are a great, versatile ingredient used in baking.
4. Stevia (steviol glycoside)
This all-natural sweetener amongst our sugar alternatives is extracted from the plant species Stevia Rebaudiana, a South American plant. Stevia is a good alternative for people suffering from diabetes and overweight since it’s zero-calorie. Stevia is sweeter than sugar but has a bitter aftertaste. The stevia added to food is a chemical extract (E960) so unfortunately, doesn’t contain its valuable nutrients.
5. Maple syrup
This is extracted and usually made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees, with the Quebec province (in Canada) being the largest global producer. It is one of the healthier alternatives to sugar, as it’s all natural, contains a high number of different compounds such as antioxidants (phenolic compounds) that reduce the damage caused by free radicals. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties in addition to calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Look for Grade B or even Grade C quality product that is USDA-certified organic.
I for one, have already started using maple syrup and dates to bake cakes and biscuits with amazing results! What healthy sugar alternatives have you tried and found most satisfying? Let us know by commenting below, joining in the conversation on Facebook and following us on Twitter and Instagram. (Check out more Top 5’s and we’ll help get and Keep YOU Fit in no time!)