Do we really do have a big choice when we want to get that satisfying sweet taste without the host of health problems normally associated with refined white sugar? Well, the good news is yes! Read on for top 10 sugar alternatives.
- Coconut sugar and coconut syrup
Coconuts have an endless number of health benefits. So the fact that they have been made into a sugar alternative is another perfect way for us to get coconuts into our diet. In sugar and syrup form it has a caramel-like flavour and I use it to top off a stack of pancakes or porridge.
- Agave Nectar
Derived from Mexico’s Agave plant this nectar has a runnier consistency than honey but tastes a lot like it! You can get it in supermarkets which is great because you don’t have to go hunting around health food shops to find it. Tastes great on cereal and can be used in your cup of tea too.
- Raw honey
Not the same as the cheap honey you can buy in the supermarkets, as this is simply refined sugar, you need to spend a bit more to get all the wonderful health benefits of the raw version. It hasn’t been refined yet so it’s packed with antioxidants which help fight potentially harmful cells in your body and contains antibacterial properties.
- Date syrup
As you probably guessed this syrup is derived from lovely sweet dates. It’s perfect mixed into smoothies to take the edge off any bitterness from the fruit, or put onto porridge. But only put a little though as it has quite a strong deep flavour!
Looks like refined sugar, tastes like it too but it doesn’t spike your insulin levels and this means you won’t start craving more junk food. It’s derived from a plant grown mainly in Brazil and Paraguay. It’s best suited as an alternative in recipes when you’re baking some treats.
- Pure maple syrup
Just like honey you have to be careful not to get tricked. Cheap maple syrups aren’t made from the maple tree at all but are made of refined sugar with flavourings to make it taste like the real thing. Read the label to check it is made with real maple syrup and drizzle it on your Sunday morning pancakes.
Hear me out on this one. Thanks to its fibre content the natural sugar that is in fruit doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels and gives your body lots of much-needed nutrients. The best fruits for a sweet taste are ripe bananas, medjool dates and melon. Mashed up ripe bananas and dates used in recipes are also a fantastic way to put a healthy spin on a delicious treat.
- Dark chocolate
This is one of my personal favourites because eating two squares of 70% dark chocolate when you want sugar really does kill the cravings. The higher percentage of cocoa, the better it is for you, and yes of course it does have sugar in it but its boost of antioxidants means it does more good than bad when consumed in moderation.
Thanks to its treacle-like taste, molasses are best baked into cookies and cakes and is made during the process of producing white sugar. Because it hasn’t been refined is still contains some nutrients and vitamins.
- Barley Malt Syrup
Meridian, the same company who produce date syrup, also sell Barley Malt Syrup in some specialist health food shops. It isn’t as sweet as sugar so probably won’t be your go-to sweetener. But a teaspoon mixed with warm milk is a comforting nutritious bedtime drink and it’s also used commonly in bread to give it more taste.
So, you see these alternatives not only nourish your body but also taste sooo much better. Result!