We know it’s best to avoid sugar in all forms besides those that comes from natural fruit sugars, but occasionally we want to cook with it or have a treat and that’s not the worst thing in the world. But when possible it’s best to use a natural alternative to classic white sugar to treat the body the best we can.
While they are a lot of artificial sugar options out there that are calorie free, there is a lot of mixed information out there about how healthy those options are. Besides the thought that some artificial sugars can lead to cancer, some studies show that they can still make you gain weight since the body thinks they are sugar and continues to crave more. In general it’s best to use sugar alternatives that comes from plant sources just to cut down on some of the potential risks. Here are the best alternatives to sugar and when to use them.
Some people don’t love the taste of Stevia, but if you don’t mind it it can be a good alternative to sugar since the body doesn’t digest it. It has little to no caloric effect on the body and is a low glycemic choice. Since it is a plant it’s also a good source of some antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Stevia is about 300 times sweeter than sugar and it can be baked with, you’ll just need to adjust the ratio to make sure you don’t over do it.
The monk fruit might not be the most popular option quite yet, but it’s popularity is expected to increase over the next couple years. Again the sweetener comes from a plant but has no calories. The monk fruit is 150 times sweeter than sugar and has been around for centuries in central Asia.
Yacon syrup comes from the root of the yacon plant which grows in South America in the Andes. It does not have much effect on the blood sugar since the body can’t digest the type of sugar polymer that it contains. It’s also a prebiotic and helps us to absorb calcium better.
Dates aren’t going to be much of a help when you’re trying to sweeten a drink, but they are when you’re cooking or baking and trying to sweeten up a dish. The natural sugar in dates makes them a perfect option for adding into protein bars and desserts instead of other sweeteners. Plus being a fruit dates are healthy in a lot of other ways.
Dates are a good source of fiber, potassium, and copper. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which we need to keep the digestive system working well. The magnesium in dates makes them a powerful anti-inflammatory, and the mineral might also be able to help reduce the blood pressure. Just keep in mind that they are high in sugar natural or not, so they should be incorporated as an alternative to sugar, not in addition.