We are all aware of the dangers that sugar represents to our health. It has been linked to numerous problems ranging from obesity to tooth decay. Dr. Robert Lustig, presenter of Sugar: The Bitter Truth, has called for a tax on sugar liked the on placed on alcohol and tobacco in the US, because of its toxic nature and the way it is being used.
Sugar can be found in almost everything on store shelves these days. From cereals that claim to be healthy, but filled with sugars to fruit juices marketed to young children. It’s no wonder that Americans consume, on average, 22 teaspoons of sugar a day – twice the recommended daily amount.
Avoiding excess sugar in your diet can be easier if you begin to eliminate it in your daily life. Here are 6 alternatives to sugar that you can start using today!
6 Sugar Alternatives
Stevia is an herb native to South America, and is 300 times sweeter than sugar. It has be used for centuries as a sweetener in South America and it makes up 41% of the sweetener market in Japan! In fact, before Coca-Cola decided to ‘standardise’ the recipe, stevia was used in Japanese Diet Coke.
Recently, this herb ran into some trouble with the American Food and Drug Administration over the label ‘sweetener’, but has come back to become the second most popular sugar alternative in the United States under the category of ‘dietary supplement’. Stevia is calorie free and has no impact on the glycemic index making it perfect for diabetics and people who are concerned about their weight. It can be grown at home, but turning it from a whole leaf to the granular product is not very easy.
Coconut Palm Sugar
Created from sap of the coconut palm, coconut sugar is nutritious and has a low score on the glycemic index, which means you don’t feel a high followed by an immediate crash. The sap is cultivated and then heated to evaporate it’s water content and reduce it to usable granules. Coconut sugar tastes similar to brown sugar, but it is slightly richer.
Coconut sugar can be substituted anywhere regular sugar is used without having to change measurements, making it easy to use in baking. The coconut palms, once tapped, can continue to produce sap for 20 more years and produce more sugar per hectare than sugar cane, and is better for the health of the soil.
An oldie but a goodie, raw honey has been used by many different cultures for many health issues from ulcers and digestive problems to seasonal allergies. Studies have discovered that raw honey has antibiotic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. You can even use honey to topically treat cuts and scrapes to help fight infection.
Raw honey is considered a superfood by many because of its antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids,enzymes, carbohydrates, and phytonutrients. It can be incorporated in different remedies to help heal a multitude of issues. It is important to only buy raw, organic honey and not the commercially produced variety.
Molasses is a by-product of the sugar production process. Although making sugar out of sugar cane has a negative environmental impact, by not using all the products that comes from the process compounds it. Because of the way regular sugar is produced (heating the top layer which forms the crystals), many of the nutritional benefits are left in the molasses.
Blackstrap molasses is the most beneficial form for you health as it is high in iron and calcium. It is very thick and viscous, making it best used in baking. It’s also sweeter than sugar so you can use less of it, but still have a sweet treat.
Rich in inulin, a type of fiber that feeds the friendly flora in your intestinal tract, artichoke syrup is a great alternative to sugar. It has a very sweet taste and is low on the glycemic index, making it perfect for people with candida-conscious diets and diabetic blood sugar awareness. Researchers have also found that the inulin in artichoke syrup can improve gastrointestinal health and improve your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
Lucuma powder is sweet and fragrant with a subtle maple-like taste that adds a great touch to homemade desserts, without spiking your blood sugar. Lucuma is a great source of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is also packed with beta-carotene, making it a powerful immune booster as well. It is also rich in iron, and vitamins B2 and B1. It has a low sugar content making it a healthy alternative for those suffering from diabetes.
I suggest trying out each one of these alternatives to see which fits best for you. They’re all great alternatives to harmful sugar, and can be used in place of it quite easily. Life is sweet, enjoy it!