The alternative sweeteners to white sugar and that we can find today are many, due to the growing search for healthy solutions for our diet, these products can be easily purchased in any store, know what are the best alternatives to finish using sugar refined in your meals.
There are many natural sweeteners today that allow you to replace the toxic and acidic substances that refined sugar contains and that are used in most sweet processed foods, which we eat almost every day or that we use to sweeten our food at home.
But we must be careful, refined sugar is harmful but so are the sweeteners that we often use disproportionately on our food , or which are part of the ingredients in our recipes, because they can have effects contrary to what they promise, such as weight gain, among others.
Artificial sweeteners problem
One of the artificial sweeteners that is used a lot is aspartame , since it is supposedly not fattening . There is now enough evidence that “zero calorie” sweeteners like this one (now banned in Europe) can actually even contribute to weight gain .
Alternative sweeteners to refined sugar
For this we must use natural sweeteners to supplant refined sugar that really provide a health benefit , such as the sweets themselves of certain fruits and herbs that today have become the most widely used alternatives, regaining their place as before. stores will invade all these artificial sweeteners to supplant the harmfulness of refined sugar .
1. Coconut sugar
Produced from the sweet juices of coconut palm blossoms, natural sweetener coconut sugar has been a staple in Southeast Asia and is an alternative to refined sugar. This is certainly not an empty calorie, it is actually high in minerals and compared to brown sugar, coconut sugar has twice the iron, four times the magnesium, and more than 10 times zinc.
It is also rich in enzymes, which helps decrease absorption into the bloodstream. Combined with its low glycemic index (35 compared to 68 for sugar), this sweetener is not a bad choice at all. It is even considered to be the most sustainable sweetener in the world. It can be used as a 1: 1 sugar substitute in cooking.
This really packs a punch. It is 200 -300 times sweeter than sugar but with zero calories. Stevia is actually a green leaf (part of the chrysanthemum family) found in South America and it is comforting to know that it has been used for centuries by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay.
The stevia is not really a sugar at all and has been shown to not feed the candida , and raises blood sugar. The aftertaste can be a bit bitter and checkered and may take some getting used to. You can get stevia in liquid or powder form. The best alternative is of course the unprocessed and crushed green leaves. If it is liquid, a few drops is all that is needed.
This is a true whole meal packed with dietary fiber that helps slow down the absorption of sugar. Dates are also rich in antioxidants, iron, minerals, and tannins. Date sugar is made from dried dates and is used as you would brown sugar. We must bear in mind that it does not dissolve in water so it is better to bake or sprinkle. For a great smoothie just put a date or two in the blender with some raw cocoa and almond milk and you will know what heaven is like!
4. Raw honey
The original caveman sweetener. With antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, carbohydrates and phytonutrients. Raw unprocessed honey could even be considered a super food. And yes, be sure to obtain a crude kind, no benefits remaining in the processed honey or adulterated with other ingredients, but the pure honey is a natural alternative to refined sugar .
5.- Pink Himalayan salt
Believe it or not, adding some unrefined sea salt or Himalayan pink salt to your morning smoothie, sweet potato pie, fruit salad, or other sweet drink or dish can actually increase its natural sweetness without the need for sugar . Not only does salt help cover the inherent bitterness in certain foods, it also makes the natural sweetness of many foods more enhanced, which means less sugar is needed to bring them to the desired flavor level.
This is the exact reason why many people sprinkle a little salt on watermelon, lemon, and other fruits before eating them. Salt essentially increases the brain’s ability to process the sensation of sweetness, which in turn makes naturally sweet foods sweeter.
6.- Bee pollen
Bee pollen is another great and delicious natural alternative to refined sugar . And as an added bonus to its sweetness, bee pollen is rich in protein and carbohydrates and has vitamins and minerals. And just like local honey, eating this sugar alternative can really help treat or prevent seasonal allergies like hay fever. Ideal for shakes / smoothies / smoothies.
7.- Agave Syrup
Agave is a natural alternative sugar derived from the root of the agave plant . It is considered low on the glycemic index, which means that it will not raise your blood sugar levels as high as other higher glycemic sweeteners (such as sugar). However, even though it has this characteristic in its favor, it is composed mainly of fructose and glucose, so it should be used in moderation. They are usually found in liquid form and have a slight flavor as well, so it is not overpowering in flavor.
Xylitol is an excellent natural alternative. It is found naturally in mushrooms, fruits, vegetables, and the birch tree. Similar to some of the other sweeteners here, it is considered to be low on the glycemic index, so it only slightly raises blood sugar levels when consumed.
As an added bonus to its sweetening abilities, xylitol prevents cavities and ear infections, promotes weight loss, and helps strengthen bones and teeth. It is usually found in powder form at your local health food store. It is recommended to try a sample or buy a small packet first to make sure you like the taste before buying a large bag, as it costs much more than sugar.
Molasses is a natural alternative sweetener to refined sugar that is extracted from various cereals (rice, barley, corn, etc.), berries, fruits or vegetables by a fermentation process. Of all the sweeteners, it is the one that takes the first place in matters of health and nutrition. Molasses is usually much smoother, more digestible, and more nutritious and healthy than any refined sugar or artificial sweetener. It is very high in carbohydrates and B vitamins, as well as minerals, mainly potassium, calcium, phosphoric acid, iron, copper and magnesium.
The high content of carbohydrates makes molasses useful for athletes, as a remedy against soreness and for a quick recovery, as well as for those who perform intense physical and mental work. For example, molasses or cane honey, is obtained by extracting cane juice, which is subjected to a cooking process until the water evaporates and the natural sugar of the fruit is concentrated. Its flavor is similar to licorice. The darker this molasses is, the more intense its flavor will be and the more nutrients it will have. This molasses can be used as a sweetener for teas, smoothies, juices, waters or desserts. (At Easter it is usually eaten with the typical Andalusian pestiños).
10.- Whole muscovado sugar
Unrefined muscovado sugar is a food that, consumed in moderation, is beneficial for our body since glucose provides us with the energy necessary for the proper functioning of our body . But not all sugar is equally healthy, as refined sugar is lacking in nutrients . Only when the energy provided by sugar is slow-release, which occurs with whole sugar, does our body benefit from the action of its vitamins and minerals. While refined sugar has lost all its nutrients and becomes a simple carbohydrate, it does not benefit our health at all.
Sugar, which is obtained from sugar cane ( Saccharum officinarum ), provides us with 386 calories per 100 grams, being it advisable for a healthy person to consume 70 grams per day. Whole or brown sugar is very rich in carbohydrates, contains almost 95%, provides us with B vitamins (B1 and B2) and high contents of Vitamin A as well as pantothenic acid. The brownish color of muscovado sugar reveals the presence of soluble fibers that are easily absorbed and digested .
The energy provided by sugar and glucose is necessary for the proper functioning of our brain, eyes, nervous system, muscles, red blood cells, and they give us the necessary energy to face our daily tasks. But these benefits are lost when it comes to refined sugar as it has lost its nutrients in the bleaching process.
Whole grain sugar, also called brown sugar, has a caramel color due to the presence of molasses (cane honey), which also gives it a licorice-like flavor and sticky texture. Unlike white sugar, whole sugar is practically unrefined and thus manages to maintain its nutritional qualities. To obtain it, it begins by crushing the sugar cane and by means of the evaporation of its juice, the crystallization of sucrose is obtained, it is reduced to a fine powder after washing with hot water.
On the other hand, panela sugar, widely consumed in South America, Asia and the Philippines. It is obtained from the juice of sugar cane and is not subjected to refining, only crystallized and centrifuged, which is why it is considered the purest sugar. This integral product owes its color to a film of molasses that surrounds each crystal.
On the other hand, fruits such as mango, banana, grape extract, orange juice, and other fruits, can be elements to sweeten your smoothies or juices, especially. Do the test every time you prepare one, simply adding a portion of these fruits or juices to your smoothie and you will see how it makes a difference.
Moderation of the consumption of these natural sweeteners
The key to sugars and sweeteners in your diet is moderation. Having a candy once a week is not going to sabotage your health goals. Ditching sugar altogether just to live on artificially sweetened snacks and drinks isn’t a good idea. So, knowing these healthy alternatives to refined white sugar, you can start to test which one can best suit your body and palate. The key in everything is moderation, do not abuse any food and always see the labels before consuming them.