Everyone knows that refined sugar is bad for health. Not only is it addictive but eating too much of sugar can even cause diabetes. Luckily there are some healthier natural alternatives to refined sugar which are extracted from a range of products, such as fruit, brown rice and more. For example, stevia is a great natural alternative to regular sugar as it contains no calories and carbohydrates.
It is the most traditional natural substitute for sugar that has been widely used by people for centuries. Raw honey is considered to be the best as it contains iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, vitamin B6, riboflavin and niacin, and stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. Manuka honey is more expensive but it boasts the highest anti-bacterial properties and can even cure infection. Many types of dark unpasteurised varieties like buckwheat feature more nutrients and antioxidants. 1 tablespoon of honey equals 22 calories.
Stevia is a powdery sweetener that has been traditionally used in South America. It tastes exactly like regular white sugar but stevia is 30 times sweeter than sugar so less amount of this sweetener is needed. Besides it contains no calories and no carbohydrates so it is the top choice for people suffering from diabetes since it does not raise blood sugar. Scientists also claim that stevia helps decrease blood pressure and has a strong anti-inflammatory effect.
COCONUT PALM SUGAR
This coconut by-product is becoming more and more popular these days. It is produced from the sap received from the flower buds of the coconut palm tree. The sap is heated until the liquid gets evaporated. Coconut palm sugar can be solid and liquid, however it is best used in granule form, looking identical to regular table sugar. Unlike traditional white sugar, coconut palm sugar contains such nutrients as iron, zinc, calcium and potassium. Another advantage of it is a low glycemic index. 1 tablespoon contains 45 calories.
LO HAN KUO (MONK FRUIT)
This fruit is crushed and infused with hot water to produce sweet powder of light brown color. The sweetener is incredibly sweet so it can be added in smaller amounts. Recently it has become quite popular as it contains no calories and has antioxidant properties. In addition, due to low gyclemic index it helps manage diabetes.
It is produced from maple trees. Its production requires intensive heat treatment that ensures much of the water evaporates and the concentrated sticky syrup forms. Maple syrup is not as sweet as honey but it preserves its unique taste under high temperatures so it is widely used in cooking. The pure maple syrup boasts more than 50 antioxidants. The darker it is the more antioxidants it has. Maple syrup can be used in the same ratio as sugar, but keep in mind that 1 tablespoon contains 50 calories.
This type of sugar contains lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre. It can be used up to five times a day and is an excellent alternative to white refined sugar. In fact, fruit sugar looks exactly like table sugar and has the same amount of calories, but is considerably sweeter. Is also has a low gyclemic index. 1 tablespoon of fruit sugar contains 24 calories.
This type of sugar is a sort of brown powder produced from dehydrated, ground dates. The production process involves little processing, however the finished product tastes even sweeter than white sugar so a smaller amount of it can be used. Date sugar contains lots of fibre, vitamins, and is characterized by energy-boosting properties. Its thick consistency makes it ideal for adding in baked products. The only drawback of date sugar is that it doesn't melt, so it can't be added into drinks like tea or coffee. 1 tablespoon has 43 calories.
Agave nectar is a natural sweetener which is extracted from the plant. The nectar has a very nice taste and is much sweeter than white sugar. It also has a low gyclemic index which means that it won't increase blood sugar levels. However it contains lots of fructose which is bad for liver and can lead to gaining excess weight. 1 tablespoon of agave nectar contains 60 calories.
Also referred to as black treacle, molasses is a sort of thick syrup of darkish color. It is a by-product which is received during the processing of sugar into refined sugar. Molasses are commonly used for making bread, cakes, biscuits and such savory foods as chutney and sauces.
It is recommended to use dark syrup for people who suffer from painful menstruations, excess weight, diabetes and acne. Regular molasses are received during the first boiling of cane sugar syrup. There are also blackstrap molasses which are the result of the third. Blackstrap molasses feature more nutrients. For example, a tablespoon of it will provide a person with 20% of recommended daily intake of calcium and 40 per cent of the recommended iron intake. 1 tablespoon has 47 calories.
BARLEY MALT SYRUP
It is a thick and sticky sweetener made from barley. It has a dark brown color and is twice less sweet than refined sugar, plus it features a rich, toasted taste. It can also be available in a granulated form, so it can be used as a healthy alternative to brown sugar. It is a slow-digesting product, but contains gluten and a lot of calories. 1 tablespoon of barley malt syrup has as many as 60 calories.
BROWN RICE SYRUP
Produced from whole grain rice this complex carbohydrate tastes like honey. An important fact to consider is that brown rice syrup has a very high gyclemic index of 98 (for instance, white refined sugar has gyclemic index of 64). 1 tablespoon of this syrup contains 55 calories.
One should know a simple, irrefutable fact: sugar is a healthy part of the diet. Carbohydrates that include sugar are the preferred source of the bodies feel for brainpower, muscle energy and all the natural processes that go on in each functioning cell.
You must have heard countless times that refined sugar is really bad for your health. But what is a healthier product you can buy to replace white sugar offered for sale at the grocery store? Is evaporated cane juice better and more nutritious than white refined sugar? Does raw sugar really have a beneficial impact on your health?