At this point, everyone knows that too much sugar is bad for you. It can lead to a whole list of health issues; tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, the list goes on. We add sugar to our drinks, to the food we eat and who knows how much added sugar is in the products we get out of the food industry. But are you willing to sacrifice taste to reduce the amount of sugar you consume? You don’t have to! There are other natural options out there! Here is a list of the most common sweeteners that can actually be sweeter than sugar.
Apart from fruits, honey is one of the best and most natural forms of sweetness. It’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which are great for the body. Studies have found that when consumed, it gradually raises blood sugar (which is what you want) instead of causing a dramatic spike. The only downside is that honey does contain calories so use it sparingly.
Agave is a plant and when blended creates a liquid sweetener similar to honey. It’s best for hot drinks but is difficult to use for baking since it will brown quickly under high heat. Also, just like honey, it gradually raises blood sugar instead of spiking. It’s also much sweeter than regular sugar and honey so a little goes a long way. Mind you it still has calories like honey so consume in moderation.
There are a number of sugar substitutes like Sweetleaf, Truvia and Sweet ‘N Low that contain stevia, which is a herb found in Central and South America. What’s great about this herb is that it is 40 times sweeter than sugar and has ZERO calories and will not spike your blood sugar. Also, you can add it to anything, coffee, tea, yogurt, and even baked goods. Just keep in mind since it’s sweeter than sugar, less is more.
This is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol. It can be found in food such as berries, corn, and beets. It’s almost as sweet as sugar but it is only partially absorbed into the body thus causes no sugar spike. Again can be used for hot drinks and in baking, for the latter just be sure to use only half the recommended sugar in the recipe. Another plus side is that xylitol helps prevent bacteria from causing plaque on your teeth, which is why it is found in a number of sugar-free gum. Mind you though taking too much xylitol can cause gas and diarrhea so consume in moderation.
Keep in mind these are sugar substitutes, not substitutes for a healthy diet. If you’re still stuffing your face with cake and cookies on a regular basis, sugar substitutes will only go so far. The food industry is loaded with added sugars so unless you meticulously read labels, you could mindlessly eat loads of sugar. Eat as much natural whole food as you can and cook at home as much as possible.
What do you think of these sugar substitutes? Willing to trade sugar for any of these? Have you tried any? Let us know in the comments below!