Sugar, we all know it, most of us love it. Yet the body of evidence that excess sugar is a serious health risk is growing all the time. Studies show that added sugar is perhaps the single most damaging thing to affect our health- and more importantly our waistlines. This makes finding healthy alternatives to sugar more important than ever.
Even if you are not adding a spoonful to your coffee – added refined sugars lurk everywhere. Your ‘healthy’ morning orange juice can contain as much as a can of coke. Processed foods like ready-meals and tinned soups / beans are minefields – and that is before we get to cakes and pastries!
If I could advise only one change in your diet is would be to take excess sugar seriously. Become aware of the levels in different foods and cut out the worst offenders. You’ll feel the effects very quickly.
Cutting out processed sugars completely is difficult – especially if you have a sweet tooth. A mix of declining the worst offenders (pop, chocolate bars and so on) and switching to alternative sources is the key to a healthier outlook. Here are 5 suggestions for quick and easy sugar substitutes:
Looks like Winnie the Pooh could have been onto something. Honey does have more calories than sugar, but it is packed with vitamins and the fact that it is sweeter means you can use less. Go for Honey that is organically produced for the most benefits.
There is also a huge variety of honey available all with slightly different flavour profiles meaning that you can find one that works for you and also means you can mix it up occasionally.
Stevia is a natural herb that has been used as a sweetener for centuries in various parts of the world. It is said to be 300 times sweeter than sugar, which makes it a viable alternative without using buckets of the stuff.
Zero calories and no glycemic impact makes stevia a viable choice for diabetics and weight watchers and is now one of the most popular alternatives on the market.
Coconuts are all the rage these days. Many of you will have experimented with coconut butter, oils and water, so why not give sugar a go?
Coconut sugar has considerable nutritional value and has a low score on the glycemic index. In other words you won’t get an almighty rush followed by a huge crash after consumption. It has a similar taste to Brown sugar and can be used as a replacement for anything where White sugar would be used.
Agave Nectar is another natural sweetener that is similar in taste and texture to honey. Agave works very well with stronger teas and the majority of coffee’s. Being in liquid form means it also goes very well with iced drinks.
I personally swear by Agave, while I have no sweetener in my tea’s and coffee’s I do use this regularly on my cereal and would highly recommend you to try the same.
Molasses are a byproduct of the sugar production process. Producing sugar from sugar cane has a detrimental effect on the environment, but it is not going to stop anytime soon and not utilising all of the byproducts just compounds the negative impacts, so it makes sense to use everything we can from the process.
Due to the way that sugar is produced a lot of the natural benefits are left in the molasses and Blackstrap Molasses in particular are a good source of Iron and Calcium.
It has quite a rich and bold flavour, so is best used for baking or stronger coffee’s. Like Honey and Agave this is a liquid sweetener, so goes well with iced drinks.
As you can see, there are lots of natural alternatives that are much better for you than white sugar. Having said that these should also be consumed in moderation. If you can go without do, but if you have a sweet tooth that needs satisfying try some of the alternatives mentioned here.
I found that sugar awareness gave me a big health boost. After years of adding sugar to tea and coffee, I cut it out and now find both just as enjoyable without. No chocolate bars, cakes or pastries is a small sacrifice. Fruit and fresh juices make a delicious alternative. With no ‘sugar crashes’ to worry about, the long-term positives for health are the icing on the (sugar-free) cake!
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