Have you ever wondered if natural sweeteners are better for you than other forms of sugar, the answer is yes! Unlike artificial sweeteners, which have been linked to various health concerns, natural sweeteners offer a healthier alternative that can still satisfy your sweet tooth. That being said, just like processed sugar, natural sweeteners should still be consumed in moderation.
What are sugar substitutes?
To be clear, sugar is not intrinsically unhealthy. This is vital before discussing sugar substitutes. In fact, it is essential for your health because glucose, a type of sugar that is created when your body breaks down carbohydrates, is the main source of energy for both your body and your brain. Contrary to popular belief, cutting off carbohydrates and sweets can lead to health issues and symptoms like poor energy, trouble sleeping, and brain fog.
Instead of trying to avoid sugar, one should focus on choosing the correct quantity and varieties to consume. The majority of added sugars in today’s diet are processed and refined sugars that offer strong sweetness without adding much else. These enter your bloodstream swiftly without providing additional nutrients along the route. These sugars can cause major health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, and fatty liver disease when consumed in excess.
Naturally occurring sugars, like fruits on the other hand, have a healthy balance of nutrients for your body because they are high in fibre and also contain fructose.
In this article, we will discuss a few better sugar alternatives that can be a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Read on to find out more!
What are the health benefits of natural sweeteners?
- Some alternatives are calorie-free or low in calories, which might be advantageous for those trying to reduce weight.
- Most have a lower glycemic index, which helps keep blood sugar levels steady and prevents blood sugar surges.
- Whole fruit can be a source of fibre if used as a sweetener.
- They can offer a depth of flavour that pure sugar cannot.
The good news is that there are still many solutions available to you if you wish to reduce your intake of sugar. Here are the top seven natural sugar substitutes you may use in place of processed sugars in your diet.
- Honey is a natural sweetener that not only tastes good but is also packed with health benefits. It contains antioxidants and plant components that have favourable impacts on respiratory, digestive, and cardiovascular health. Raw or darker honey is high in flavonoids and phenolic acids, which can even help lessen seasonal allergies.
- Maple syrup is a popular natural sweetener that is made from the sap of sugar maple trees. It contains antioxidants and minerals that can benefit your health, just like honey. Maple syrup also has unique compounds that can help combat cancer and diabetes. Plus, the darker the maple syrup, the more unrefined it is, and the more benefits it may provide.
- Stevia is a natural sweetener made from the Stevia plant that can be a great alternative to honey or maple syrup. It’s 200 to 400 times sweeter than sugar but contains almost no calories. Plus, it has been linked to reduced blood sugar and cholesterol levels. However, be sure to check the ingredients before buying stevia products as some may contain processed additives or sugar alcohols.
- Raw fruits are a nutritionally balanced form of sugar that can benefit your health. They contain dietary fiber that aids in digestion, slows down sugar metabolism, and reduces blood sugar spikes. Eating fiber-rich fruits can also help lower your risk of heart disease and reduce your total caloric intake. Pureed fruits are also a great sweetener alternative that offers similar benefits. Applesauce can be used as an egg substitute, and pureed berries make a great addition to plain yogurt.p
- Monk Fruit is a plant-based sweetener that’s 100 times sweeter than sugar. Extracted from the monk fruit found in Southeast Asia, it’s a non-nutritive sweetener that’s low in calories. Although more research is needed, studies suggest that monk fruit could aid in weight management and diabetes prevention. The mogrosides in monk fruit also contain antioxidants that boost immune health and help prevent cancer.
- Jaggery is a natural sweetener made from sugarcane juice or palm sap, which is boiled to create a thick, unrefined syrup. Jaggery has a unique taste that is described as a cross between caramel and molasses, and it is commonly used to sweeten desserts, tea, and coffee. Unlike refined sugar, jaggery contains trace amounts of micronutrients like iron, potassium, and calcium, which may offer some health benefits. However, it is still a form of sugar and should be consumed in moderation.
- Coconut Sugar Coconut palm plants are the source of coconut sugar, a natural sweetener. It has a lower glycemic index than ordinary sugar, which means that it raises blood sugar levels more gradually. The rich, caramel-like flavour is added to recipes when using this flavouring. Coconut palms are a sustainable supply of sugar and the key is moderation just like any other sugar.
It can be challenging to give up sugar, regardless of whether your goal is to improve your health, reduce weight, or follow your doctor’s advice.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be bitter because a range of beneficial natural sweeteners is readily available, make sure you read the labels carefully to understand what you are consuming.
You can choose products from Origin Nutrition that provide increased energy, fewer calories, nutrition, and low-sugar snack cravings as a place to start your natural sugar journey. Therefore, every diet may accommodate a small amount of sweetness and of course NUTRITION!