sugar alternatives
Nutrition

What is the healthiest alternative to sugar?

Added sugar is considered the worst ingredient in our daily diet. Medical results have linked it to serious chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Above all; a lot of processed meals contain added sugar. This might result into a person consuming high amounts of added sugar without their knowledge. Luckily, there are couples of natural substitutes for sugar.

Is sugar really bad for your health?

It has been scientifically proven that sugar doesn’t benefit our bodies in any way. It doesn’t have any nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, essential fats or protein. Furthermore, there are numerous reasons on why you should avoid sugar. First, it affects hormones responsible for satiety and hunger. Frequent consumption of added sugar might result into high calorie intake. This might result into weight gain. Added sugar can also affect your metabolism. This results into increased fat storage in the body and increased insulin levels. In the long run, this might trigger obesity.

Medical evidence has also linked intake of high sugar levels with risks of developing cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Above all; sugar is addictive in nature. Sugar addiction can result into overeating and cravings. Below are some natural substitutes for sugar you should consider:

Stevia

Stevia is one of the natural substitutes for sugar. It is derived from leaves of a shrub known as Stevia rebaudiana. This natural sweetener doesn’t contain any calories. Therefore, you cannot gain weight no matter the amounts you take. Medical researchers haven’t found any health condition that is directly linked to Stevia. In fact, it has some health benefits for its users. Stevioside, one of the compounds found in Stevia can greatly help with high blood pressure. This compound can also lower insulin levels in the body. People with high blood sugar levels can also benefit from Stevia. Rebaudioside A and stevioside are the two extracts from a stevia plant. Both have different tastes and are easy to differentiate. They can be found in either liquid or powder form. Choose stevia if you are looking for natural substitute for sugar.

Xylitol

Xylitol can be categorized as a sugar alcohol. It contains the same sweetness as sugar. This makes it a perfect substitute for sugar. Xylitol is extracted from birch wood or corn. It is also found in numerous vegetables and fruits. This natural sweetener contains low levels of calories. These calories won’t have any impact on your health unless severely abused. Medical reports indicate they won’t raise the insulin levels or blood sugar levels. This makes it a perfect choice for anyone who wants to keep healthy. Xylitol doesn’t contain fructose, a substance linked with high blood sugar levels. This natural sweetener presents numerous health benefits. Xylitol can improve the overall dental health. It prevents tooth decay and reduces cavities. Xylitol also improves the absorption rate of calcium. Calcium protects us against osteoporosis. This national sweetener should be taken in moderation or you risk side effects such as diarrhea, bloating or gas.

Erythritol

Erythritol also falls under sugar alcohol. It contains low amounts of calories when compared to sugar and other natural substitutes for sugar. Erythritol tastes the same as sugar. This has made it easy for people to substitute this natural sweetener for sugar. There no enzymes in the body that can break down this natural sweetener. Therefore, it is directly absorbed into the bloodstream and excreted through urine. It doesn’t interfere with your body composition or affect the body negatively. Medical research has also revealed that your insulin levels, triglyceride levels, cholesterol levels, insulin levels and blood sugar levels remain intact whenever you consume Erythritol. Consume this natural sweetener with moderation, or you risk some digestive issues.

Yacon Syrup

Yacon syrup is derived from yacon plant. This syrup is thick and has a dark color. A lot of people compare it to molasses. Yacon syrup has a sweet taste that makes it suitable substitute for sugar. This syrup has gained popularity over the years because of its benefits. First, it has been linked to weight loss. There are numerous testimonials on the internet praising yacon syrup for helping them shed off some extra pounds. Yacon syrup contains a component called fructooligosaccharides. This component helps reduce ghrelin hormone, which controls appetite. Therefore, you will find yourself eating less amounts of food. Fructooligosaccharides also feeds the good bacteria in the gut. The good bacteria promote the wellness of the brain and decreases risks of obesity & diabetes. It also boosts the immunity. Avoid high amounts of yacon syrup because it results into diarrhea, excess gas and discomfort. Yacon syrup isn’t recommended for baking or cooking.

Coconut sugar

This natural sugar is derived from coconut palm sap. Coconut sugar contains different kinds of nutrients. They range from potassium, calcium, zinc, iron and antioxidants. Coconut sugar contains inulin fiber, which slows down absorption of glucose. This coconut sugar contains almost same calories as normal sugar. Coconut sugar also contains high amounts of fructose. High amounts of fructose are linked to increased insulin levels in the body. It can also increase blood sugar levels. Therefore, anyone who substitutes sugar with coconut sugar should use it sparingly.

Honey

Honey is produced by bees. It is one of the popularly used substitutes for sugar. This golden liquid contains minerals and vitamins. Honey also contains different kinds of antioxidants. Frequent consumption of honey can improve the levels of antioxidants in the blood. Antioxidants found in honey help in the fight against some diseases. That’s not all; honey can significantly lower the bad cholesterol in the blood. This automatically increases the levels of good cholesterol in the blood. People who frequently consume honey instead of sugar are less likely to suffer from inflammation. Honey is less harmful on metabolism and blood sugar levels when compared to normal sugar. Despite these benefits, honey contains fructose. This is the reason it should be consumed with moderation.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is made from cooking the maple trees sap. This substance contains different kinds of nutrients such as iron, manganese, zinc, potassium and calcium. In addition to these, maple syrup also contains over 24 antioxidants. Recent studies indicate that it can lower the risks of developing cancer. Maple syrup also contains high amounts of sugar. However, its sugar will slowly raise your blood sugar levels. This is the reason you should consume maple syrup with moderation. The health benefits of maple syrup make it a better option when compared to normal sugar.

Molasses

Molasses is a thick brown liquid that looks like syrup. It is derived from boiled sugar beet juice or sugar cane. Molasses contain several antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Calcium and potassium found in molasses benefit the body in numerous ways. These two minerals can improve the wellness of the heart and bone. This makes it a perfect substitute when compared to sugar.

The sweeteners you should avoid

As we all know, there are different kinds of sweeteners you can use to substitute sugar. Some sweeteners are more harmful when compared to sugar. Therefore, avoid the following sweeteners:

  • Agave nectar- This sweetener is derived from agave plant. It is one of the unhealthiest sweeteners and should be avoided at all cost. It contains high amounts of fructose when compared to normal sugar. High levels of fructose have been linked with obesity and other delicate conditions.
  • High fructose corn syrup- This sweetener is made from corn syrup. It is commonly used in soft drinks and processed meals. As the name suggests, this syrup contains high amounts of fructose. Fructose is linked to cancer, diabetes, obesity and weight gain. This is one of the reasons it should be avoided at all cost.

Bottom line

Intake of high amounts of sugar has been linked to plenty of serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity, among others. There are plenty of good natural substitutes you should consider instead of refined sugar. Stevia, yacon syrup, erythritol and xylitol are some substitutes you should consider.

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