Image Source: Jumpstartmd
There are variety of natural substitutes for sugar out there. You just need to look for substitutes that have been derived naturally, with minimal processing and contamination and have some antioxidants and nutrients in them.
- Raw Honey
The flower nectar collected by bees and then broken down into simple sugars is stored in honeycombs. A natural sweetener, honey has been used since ancient times due to its natural antibacterial properties. It also promotes digestion, boosts the immune system, balances blood sugar levels and stabilizes blood pressure; its health benefits are many. Honey is a rich source of antioxidants especially the raw honey which has a higher content of antioxidants.
Use this natural sweetener to sweeten your tea, yogurt or your dessert recipes.
The leftover, while sugar cane is being refined into white sugar, are the molasses. This by-product is rich in nutrients like copper, iron, zinc, potassium and calcium. Blackstrap molasses, which is obtained from the last press during the refining process, is especially rich in minerals. It is the sweetener which is richest in nutrients loaded with iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and potassium.
When using molasses as a sweetener blend it with other sweeteners since it has an acidic flavor. Use a few tablespoons of molasses to baked beans and enjoy the sweet taste of molasses.
Stevia is a naturally derived sweetener from a shrub found in Central and South America and is calorie-free. Its sweet leaves have been used since ages and has found use by diabetics in Asia for decades. While not significantly rich in nutrients, it is good for diabetics since it does not affect blood sugar levels. So this natural sweetener has no calories, no carbs and does not raise the blood sugar.
It can be used as a substitute for sugar in tea and coffee and can also be used to make desserts. Add a sweet finish and dust it on top of muffins.
- PureMaple Syrup
The sap of maple trees is boiled into the concentrated and sweet maple syrup. This natural sweetener contains antioxidants and is high in zinc and manganese content.
This delicious and natural substitute of sugar can be used to make ice creams and to sweeten plain yogurt.
- Coconut Sugar
The sap of the coconut palm is heated so that it loses its water content and forms granules which we know as coconut sugar. Coconut sugar tastes more like brown sugar than white sugar and contains traces of zinc, iron, potassium and calcium. It also contains antioxidants and a fiber known as inulin, which slows the absorption of glucose. This makes it ideal to be used by diabetics.
Coconut sugar may not be sweet enough to be used in tea or coffee but is perfect for baking as the consistency of the baked food is not affected by its use.
Xylitol is obtained from plant fibers like birch, berries and cornhusks. Unlike most sugars, which are 6-carbon sugar, xylitol is a 5-carbon sugar. This difference, though slight, is what helps it to prevent bacterial growth. It is found in fibrous fruits and vegetables.
This organic sweetener does not raise blood sugar levels and is good for diabetics. Though costlier than sugar, it is ideal for weight loss as it contains very few calories.
- Date Sugar
Dried dates are pulverized to powder to make date sugar. It has a sweet flavor and contains nutrients like vitamin, A, vitamin B6, calcium and potassium.
Since date sugar does not melt, it cannot be used to sweeten tea or coffee. Instead use these natural sweeteners in the preparation of desserts.
Sugar is as bad as you have been hearing; so for all of you with a sweet tooth, try these organic substitutes for sugar and continue to make it a part of your life.