There are so many sugar alternatives that there is really no excuse to be addicted to sugar. Ideally, we would like you to have a penchant for other flavour profiles, but if you’re looking to take baby steps, then you’re in the right place. Instead of poisoning your body with processed sugar, try using natural sweeteners instead.
Natural sweeteners are lower in calories and are chock-full of vitamins and minerals. But the best part is, some of them are sweeter than sugar!
5 natural sweeteners to opt for as sugar alternatives.
1. Coconut sugar
The ubiquitous coconut is all the rage these days, from its water to its milk and, now, coconut sugar, this tropical plant is filled with nutrients, making it a superfood of choice. Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the coconut plant which is harvested and heated till the water evaporates. That’s right, ‘milking’ a coconut tree is one of the best ways to get natural sweeteners. Apart from giving you a burst of sweetness, it contains potassium, zinc, iron, and calcium and it also has a low glycemic index, ensuring you don’t suffer from a sugar crash.
Derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant native to South America, stevia is available all over the world in different forms — from powder to liquid extracts. Beverage behemoths like Coco-Cola and LiHo have jumped on the bandwagon, using it as one of the natural sweeteners in their drinks. Although it has a little bitter aftertaste, it is free of calories and 200 times sweeter than processed sugar, making it the perfect sugar substitute that is still better than consuming low-fat products.
3. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is god’s gift to us and no, we’re not talking about commercially-made ‘maple syrup’ which is actually laced with corn syrup, processed sugars, hard-to-pronounce additives, and chemicals. Organic maple syrup is packed with antioxidants, magnesium, calcium, and zinc! Opt for a lower grade of B or C as they taste more earthy.
4. Rice Malt Syrup
Rice malt syrup is a thick, sugary liquid made from fermented brown rice. It contains a mix of complex carbohydrates, glucose, and maltose. Unlike processed sugar, it is fructose-free, ensuring that your liver won’t a take a beating. If you’re wondering why fructose is bad for you, you can read about its menacing effects on your body over here.
As much as its moniker sounds alien-esque, it is not an artificial sweetener. This natural sweetener is derived from corn but small traces of it can be found in fruits and vegetables. If you don’t like the bitter aftertaste of stevia, this could be your best option. Its sweetness is on par with processed sugar, sans the extra calories. This low-cal alternative is fructose-free so don’t worry about spiking your blood sugar or insulin.
As mentioned earlier, it would be best to avoid sugar but if you have to get a quick sugar fix, then natural sweeteners are the way to go — they’re the lesser of two evils.