Six Natural Substitutes for Sugar
Sugar is commonly found in a lot of the foods and drinks we consume on a daily basis. Take for example one can of cola – it contains 9.75 teaspoons of sugar, which is equal to 39 grams of sugar. That’s remarkably more than the American Heart Association suggests adults get in a full day! Consuming more than the daily recommended amount can create potential health risks affecting your liver, oral health, skin and aging, weight, and even your heart.
1. Honey – It’s probably one of the healthiest and well known alternatives for sweetness. While it’s often used in tea, it can be used for so much more. You can bake cookies and cakes with honey. It is also often sold at Farmer Markets in flavored little straws for children (and adults!) as healthy treats. There are many healthy honey recipes that you could give a try! Try the Honey Gardens or Y.S. Eco Bee Farms honey.
2. Stevia – Another popular sugar alternative is Stevia. Stevia is a sweetener that comes from the leaves of a plant. The active compounds have 30 to 150 times the sweetness of sugar. Unlike sugar, stevia doesn’t add calories, affect blood sugar or insulin levels, or contribute to bad oral health.
3. Coconut Sugar – Coconuts are almost like these magical drupes with so many health benefits. Coconut oil is probably more popular and well known for use in cooking and in use for hair and skin. But few people realize that coconut sugar exists as well and that it is a nice alternative to sugar. While it unfortunately contains the same amount of calories as regular sugar, it does offer some nutritional value such as iron, zinc, calcium and potassium, as well as some short-chain fatty acids like polyphenols and antioxidants.
4. Erythritol – While it has an odd name and looks like something you’d see on lab notes, Erythritol has been around for a long time! It was discovered in the 1800s! It’s made when yeast ferments glucose from corn or wheat starch. It’s very low on calories – 95% less calories than sugar per equal serving. When consumed in moderation it can be a great alternative to sugar.
5. Xylitol – Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in some plants. Our bodies even produce a small amount of it naturally. Xylitol looks and tastes like sugar, but it has 40% less calories. Studies suggest it even helps fight against plaque and tooth decay, so you will see it used in a lot of sugarless chewing gums. It doesn’t add nutritional value like coconut sugar does – but it doesn’t have any of the harmful effects of sugar either; However – be aware! It is very toxic to dogs and it is important to keep it, or any foods made with it, out of reach of pets.
6. Fruits – Fruits contain natural sugars and can be used to sweeten desserts, snacks, and drinks. Since we drink most of the sugar we intake – a great alternative to soda, juices and teas would be water with your favorite fruit added in it. You can even mix them up and get creative with the flavors, such as Lime & Cucumber, Lime & Oranges, Lemon & Blueberry and Pineapple and Mango just to name a few. Fruits also work well in homemade sugar-free desserts and dried fruit is a popular snack choice for when you have a craving for something sweet.
In conclusion, there are many options for going sugar free or drastically cutting down the amount of sugar you consume in each day. Many people who are successful at this feat boast of weight loss, higher energy and overall just feeling healthier! Give it a try!
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