What are the Healthier Sugar Substitutes?
Do you have a sweet tooth? Sugar is considered to be as addictive as a drug and is linked with numerous health problems. Replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners isn’t any better- artificial sweeteners are actually more unhealthy than regular sugar and should be avoided completely.
While it is best to keep sugar to a minimum in your diets, when that sweet craving does hit, reach for natural sweeteners that provide some nutritional benefits:
Honey: Pure, raw honey has many health benefits. It has antimicrobial properties, is a source of antioxidants and other nutrients, and can boost your immune system. Buying local raw honey even helps reduce allergy symptoms. Be sure to only buy raw unpasteurized honey, and use it in moderation as it is still very high in sugar.
Maple Syrup: Made from cooking down the sap of maple trees, real maple syrup is rich in antioxidants. Look for brands that contain only 100% pure maple syrup and is free from any artificial colors, flavors, or high fructose corn syrup.
Dates: Naturally very sweet, dates are high in fibre potassium, and other nutrients. The fibre in dates actually slows down sugar absorption. They are great to use in baking, smoothies and raw foods.
Coconut Sugar: Extracted from the sap of the coconut plant, coconut sugar contains minerals and antioxidants. It has a lower score on the glycemic index which means it will not cause a spike in blood insulin like regular sugar. Coconut sugar is a great cup for cup replacement for regular sugar when baking.
Stevia: A calorie-free, all natural sweetener that is Native to South America and comes from the leaf of a flowering plant. Stevia is great if you have blood sugar issues as it does not affect blood sugar levels. Look for full green leaf stevia without any fillers.
Monk Fruit: One of the sweetest fruits around, monk fruit is also known as Lo Han Kuo. It comes from a small type of melon in tropical and subtropical regions. Monk fruit is an all-natural, calorie-free sweetener that does not affect blood sugar levels, and is heat stable, so you can bake with it. Monk fruit contains high amounts of antioxidants and is therefore known as the “longevity fruit”.
Asha’ari, Z. A., Ahmad, M. Z., Jihan, W. S., Che, C. M., & Leman, I. (2013, September-October). Ingestion of honey improves the symptoms of allergic rhinitis: Evidence a randomized placebo-controlled trial in the East coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Annals of Saudi Medicine, 33(5).
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