All-Natural Sugar Substitutes
Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 at 4:14 pm
Sugar is found in a majority of processed foods on the market today. While the sweet stuff tastes great and gives us a boost of energy, it’s not the best thing for our waistlines or our health. It poses an even greater risk for an increasing number of diabetic Americans. Zero-calorie alternatives like aspartame or sucralose are available, but some research has shown they could be hazardous to your health.
Luckily, if you’re looking to avoid pure sugar, there are several natural alternatives you can turn to. Some are even low in calories, making them a great choice for anyone who is diet-conscious.
Stevia has recently grown in popularity, but it’s been popular in other countries for years. Commercially, stevia is packaged as Truvia or PureVia. Stevia is up to 300 times sweeter than table sugar, so a little goes a long way. Plus, it contains zero-calories and has a negligible glycemic index, which makes it a popular choice for diabetics. Stevia is great in coffee or tea and can be used to sweeten your favorite fruits!
Unprocessed honey in its raw form is loaded with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, phytonutrients, and carbohydrates. While honey has slightly more calories than table sugar, you generally need less of it. Be sure to buy raw unprocessed varieties. Processed honey is stripped of the additional nutrients that make honey good for you and is pretty much the same as eating table sugar.
Made from the same plant as tequila, agave nectar is a great natural alternative to sugar. This sweet nectar has slightly more calories than table sugar, but it’s sweeter, so you won’t need as much. It also contains a prebiotic, which helps nourish intestinal bacteria for better stomach health. It dissolves easily in beverages both hot and cold, so enjoy it in everything from coffee, to iced tea, to your favorite cocktails!
Black Strap Molasses
Black strap molasses is the concentrated byproduct of sugar cane processing. In traditional sugar processing, the juice from the sugar cane is extracted and boiled three times. While traditional table sugar comes from the first boiling, black strap molasses comes from the third. It contains nutrients such as iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, and potassium. It’s great when used in place of refined brown sugar in baked goods or baked beans.