Natural sugar alternatives

Reducing the amount of sugar in the diet is a difficult task if you’re used to sugary sodas, sugary sweets, and sugar on just about everything. It’s time to realize that sometimes the sugary “good” stuff isn’t actually the good stuff. If you’re watching your blood sugar with Diabetes, you want to lose weight, or you just want to eat healthier, choosing a natural sugar alternative is a good start. Sugar is an energy (but not nutrient) dense food, at 40 calories per tablespoon. Sugar alternatives are derived from completely natural sources, and although they have equal or a greater number of calories per tablespoon, they are full of more nutrients than table sugar even has on the surface. You tell me what sounds like the better option. Also, many natural sugars have a more subtle effect on blood sugar levels and don’t cause a rapid spike. In small amounts, natural sugar gives you the sweet taste you’re craving, and also a bout of energy for your body. For some people, choosing a natural sugar that still has calories is better than choosing an artificially made sugar alternative because the latter seems to be linked to some health problems. Here is everything you need to know about natural sugar alternatives.

Natural Fruit Sugar

Sugar from fruit is as natural as can be. That type of sugar is a lot better for you than refined sugars and even just straight granulated white sugar. Many fruits have their own sweet taste and they definitely don’t need any added sugar!

Honey is another natural alternative to sugar. Although it is high calorie (60 calories per tablespoon), a little bit goes a long way because it has such a strong flavor. It can be used in baking, cooking, as a topping for bread or crackers, and even a little squirt in tea tastes great. You can try eating a spoonful for a tasty nighttime treat. Honey, since it is naturally made by bees, provides many health benefits of its own, including but not limited to: maintaining blood sugar levels, providing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and it can be used as an antiseptic on cuts, burns, and wounds.

Agave, sometimes called agave nectar, is a thick liquid (not as thick as honey) derived from the Agave plant. It has a sweet, yet simple flavor, and can be used in place of sugar or honey. Agave nectar has a fairly low glycemic index, meaning it is released into the blood stream slowly and doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar.

Brown Rice Syrup
This sweetener is most commonly used in cooking and can be used in some baked goods; it is best to experiment first when using it in baked goods because sometimes the flavor doesn’t turn out as expected. It’s made from brown rice that is cooked for a long time until it makes a sweet syrup with a nutty, mild flavor.

Stevia is very very very sweet sugar alternative extracted from a sweet-leaved plant. In fact, it is so sweet that just 1 teaspoon is equivalent to the sweetness of 1 cup of table sugar. Stevia comes in a powder and liquid form. The best part: it’s calorie free and doesn’t cause a blood sugar spike!

Date Sugar
This is a dry natural alternative sugar made from grinding dates. Since it is made straight from dates, it contains all the vitamins, minerals and fiber present in the same amount that was present before being grinded. Date sugar is a great substitute for brown sugar and measures cup for cup in baking!

This natural sugar alternative comes in syrup form and, as the name implies, is derived from the sorghum grain. It tastes similar to molasses and is rich in calcium, potassium, iron, and antioxidants. Use it in place of maple syrup, honey, or molasses since the textures are so similar.

Last updated on Nov 25th, 2010 and filed under Healthy Eating. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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