NATURAL SUGAR SUBSTITUTES
It is difficult to avoid sugar in today’s processed food era. Many packaged foods have sugar as one of the three key ingredients, adding calories to our diet without our knowledge. Sugar is turning out to be the root cause of obesity, diabetes, hormonal imbalance, hair fall, acne and many other health problems. The question, however is can we rid our diet of the processed, bleached, calorie laden sugar and still satisfy our sweet tooth? Of course, we can. This can be done by using natural sugar substitutes.
Honey is sweeter than sugar and can sweeten food without spiking blood sugar levels. Organically and locally produced honey is rich in enzymes, minerals, amino acids, and phytonutrients, antibacterial components, and vitamins. It does have more calories than sugar, but since it is sweeter little is required. Add it to tea, desserts, fruits, cereals, oatmeal and enjoy its natural goodness and not empty calories like sugar.
It is said to be 300 times sweeter than sugar by volume. Stevia extract is rich in antioxidants such as apidenin, kaempferol and quercitrin. It has a zero glycemic index and can be safely used by diabetics and those avoiding sugar. (Glycemic Index is a unit which measures the amount of glucose released into the blood by a food source. Foods which release more glucose into the blood will have a high Glycemic Index Value and vice versa) It is one of the easiest ways to sweeten up foods, especially beverages. Be sure to use pure Stevia extract and not the processed ones.
They contain natural sugars like glucose, sucrose and fructose and are healthier than processed white sugar. They are rich source of protein, dietary fiber and Vitamins and iron. Date paste and date sugar can be used instead of sugar in salad dressings, baked goods, desserts. 3 dates after meal satiates the sweet tooth or have it as a mid morning snack.
It is also known as Jaggery or Gur. In India, sugarcane juice, dates and palm sap are commonly used for different varieties of jaggery. Molasses is 65% as sweet as sugar, produced during the refining of sugar. (The syrup remains after the available sucrose has been crystallized from sugar cane juice.) Many of the nutritional benefits are left in the molasses. There are three types of molasses. Light molasses is obtained from the first boiling of the cane juice. Dark molasses is obtained from the second boiling and blackstrap is obtained from the third. Blackstrap molasses is perhaps the most beneficial and is a good source of iron and calcium. It is a wise choice to use unsulfured molasses. Many sweetmeats are made in India using molasses.
Himalayan pink salt:
This might come as a surprise! Can Salt be used as a sugar substitute? It enhances the natural sweetness of the food without adding sugar. Sprinkling a little bit of salt on watermelon, lemon, and other fruits before eating them increases the brain's ability to process the sensation of sweetness and cut out bitterness. This in turns makes naturally sweet foods taste sweeter.
It is another substitute for sugar. Lactose in raw cream is a type of natural sugar. Add to coffee, soup, stew and various other foods for the touch of sweetness. This however, cannot be used by people who are lactose intolerant.
If you really cannot do without using sugar try unrefined organic brown sugar or raw sugar. It is slightly purified, crystallized evaporated cane juice. It is caramel-flavored and comes in a variety of flavors including demerara, dark muscovado and turbinado.