Want the sweetness of sugar but do not want the empty calories ? or may be you just have to have sprinkled sugar on the top of your cake . Who does not like sugar , but it really does more damage to us than favor . Since I learned that its doing no good to my health I looked and tried a lot of alternatives . Artificial sweeteners are not the answer . They may be calorie-free but amount to health problems including weight gain, fatigue, anxiety, depression , short-term memory loss etc. In this post I have written about the natural sugar alternatives that can be used daily and would help reverse sugar related problems .
Top 3 Natural Sugar Substitutes
Raw Honey – It is the natural sweet liquid produced from the concentrated nectar of flowers extracted by honeybees . Raw Honey is unheated, unfiltered , unpasteurized & unprocessed honey. It tends to granulate and crystallize to a thick consistency after a few months . Honey in its raw form preserves all the natural enzymes , vitamins , B complex . The GI of raw honey is 30 vs. regular honey at 50 . Raw and unfiltered honey has higher antioxidant level & anti – inflammatory properties. It is one of the best natural sweetener available that does not spike blood sugar level.
Coconut Sugar – It is made from the sap of coconut palm tree. It is the crystalized nectar of the flower . It serves as an ideal substitute for those who are watching their glucose levels. It’s a great substitute for women with PCOS owing to the low glycemic index of 35. Thought it has almost the same amount of calories as regular sugar but unlike the white sugar it is naturally made n has good amounts of potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron, as well as vitamin C and many of the B vitamins. I use it all the time in baking n my coffee . It tastes a little bitter but tastes great in cakes n pies . I have been sneaking this into my husbands coffee and he hasn’t even noticed it . Indeed this is my favorite alternative .
Date Sugar – This is a rather new type of alternative in market . Dates have a glycemic index of 46 to 55 approx. depending upon the type of date . It is made of pitted dates by drying them n then grinding them into small pieces . Date sugar looks like brown sugar, but it doesn’t melt like regular sugar in tea and coffee . But you can use it into baking or for sprinkling over oats , smoothie bowl n desserts . It gives baked goods a different texture . I make my own date sugar from Medjool dates because of its sweet, honey-like taste and soft texture . You can also get date puree that can be used instead of white or brown sugar. It is natural and can be made at home . You can get date sugar at mass retailers now .
Other Natural Sugar Substitutes
Yacón Syrup – It is extracted from the roots of the Yacón plant . The juices from the roots are extracted, filtered and evaporated in a chemical-free manufacturing process . It is a sweet-tasting syrup , dark and opaque . Yacón syrup has about 20 calories per tablespoon . The dried leaves of the plant is also used to make tea for anti-diabetic properties . A large part of Yacón syrup isn’t digested so it can be used as a low-calorie alternative to sugar. It is also high in antioxidants and potassium. The GI of Yacón syrup is 1 and that makes it diabetes friendly too . Yacón syrup is also effective against constipation .
Maple Syrup – The most common and known sugar substitute . With A GI of 54 , maple syrup has the ability to lower inflammation, supply nutrients that manage blood sugar . When purchasing , select darker, grade B maple syrups as it contains more beneficial antioxidants . Also, make sure to get the actual maple syrup, not just maple-flavored syrup. The dark syrups has a stronger maple flavor and is good for baking too. Maple syrup’s plant-based compounds reduce oxidative stress .
Stevia – It is a naturally occurring, zero-calorie sweetener. Its dry leaves possess roughly 40 times more sweetness than sugar . The two major sweet compounds in stevia are called Stevioside and Rebaudioside A. Stevioside is a plant-derived phyto-chemical compounds that help control blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure in addition to its use as natural sweetener . Stevia has a good shelf life and is stable at high temperature so can be used for baking too . Always look for a brand that is organic & has no unnatural additives .