Natural choice of Sweeteners | Sugar Alternatives
Did you know that the recommended daily intake of sugar, by the American Heart Association, for women should not exceed 6 teaspoons (approximately 25gram), and 9 teaspoons (38 gram) for men? Did you know that the average American is consuming 19.5 sugar teaspoons?
Although it feels like everyone are making healthier life choices, the consumption of refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners (such as aspartame) are on the rise. This should be alarming for everyone. The food we buy these days contains sugar. Fitness experts always advice to read the label at the store before buying.
I know sugar is addicting! That’s why it’s so hard to quit refined sugar. But given how incredibly harmful sugar can be, it’s definitely worth the effort to at list substitute to a healthier choice. Luckily, there are quite a few natural sweeteners found in nature that are healthy and tasty. These are good alternatives to all the bad sugar and artificial sweeteners.
A study by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association,
found that substituting refined sugar could increase the amount of antioxidants
you consume each day, in amounts similar to that of consuming berries and nuts.
Top natural sweeteners
Stevia (0 calories)
between 200 and 300 times sweeter than sugar. It is also
keto-approved sweetener. It has zero calories and 0 carbohydrates and no nasty
side effects like the artificial sweetener. You can find stevia as a liquid
drops (good for baking), baking blends, packets and tablets that dissolve.
Some people are experiencing a metallic aftertaste when
using stevia. If that’s the case for you I suggest adding a pinch of salt to level
that after taste. Another good idea is to look for a brand that is high in
Monk Fruit (0 calories)
Raw Honey (1 tablespoon = 64 calories)
Raw honey is a superfood (i.e. totally unprocessed) and contains lots of beneficial nutrients like B vitamins enzymes, antioxidants, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous. It’s higher in calories than most of the other alternatives (64 per tablespoon) and higher on the glycemic index than some, but still has less impact on the glycemic load than
Use it in small amounts, especially drizzled in tea just make sure the tea is cooled off first because the hot water will ruin the raw honey and you will not enjoy the great nutrients benefits. Add it to your yogurt, coffee,
Dates (1 Medjool Date = 66 calories)
Dates are a well-known Mediterranean treat. Although high in sugar they also contain potassium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium and vitamin B6. They are digested easily and even some evidence shows that dates may help reduce LDL cholesterol. You can find silan syrup, which is basically the dates syrup. Since it’s liquid, you can easily use it as a sugar replacement in anything including for baking and even to make at home raw chocolate.
Yacon Syrup(1 tablespoon = 20 calories)
Yacon syrup is
extracted from the roots of the Yacon plant, which grows throughout the Andes
Mountains in South America.Yacon does contain a small amount of sugar through
fructose, glucose and sucrose but the rich fiber within it makes it a very
low-glycemic sweetener. The use of
Yacon syrup has been shown to reduce obesity and insulin resistance.
Coconut Sugar (1 tablespoon = 45 calories)
The benefits of coconut products are very well known. The coconut sugar is no different, it has a low glycemic load and it’s packed with nutrients. The fructose levels are very low at 10% and it contains a wide variety of anti-oxidants, minerals,
Maple syrup(1 tablespoon = 52 calories)
Maple syrup is native to North America. It is rich in antioxidants, manganese and contains calcium, potassium, and zinc. It is recommended to select the darker syrup, grade B since it contains more antioxidants than the light one. Maple as a great taste and can be added to tea, baking, and cooking.
It is important to remember that we
need to limit our sugar and sweeteners consumptions, but since no one really
completely avoids them it’s better to choose the sweeteners that come from
nature. These natural sweeteners although, containing sugar and carbs in most
cases are also packed with nutrients and antioxidants. These nutrients helps
level the glycemic load and help consume needed nutrients.
Keep limiting your sugar consumption
and replace the refined sugars you use with natural ones.