3 Healthier Sugar Alternatives to Try

Added sugar in food and drinks can be the cause for many health problems among which are high blood pressure, diabetes and weight gain. Although sugar helps in intensifying flavours, too much of it is bad for your health. Fortunately, there are many healthy natural sweetener alternatives you can try instead.

Natural Stevia Blend

Source: conasi.eu

Stevia is a sugar substitute and a natural sweetener. It is made from the leaves of the stevia plant without added compounds so it’s completely natural. It is sweeter 300 times more than regular refined sugar. The plant is also known as “sweet leaf” and it’s native to South America. There are more than a hundred species of this plant and their sweetness levels vary. Stevia is another proof that all that’s supreme nature has wrapped in green.

Stevia sweeteners are popular natural sugar alternatives due to the fact that they contain zero calories and carbohydrates so they are safe for people who have diabetes or other health problems. Many studies have shown that this natural sweetener doesn’t affect (increase) blood sugar levels like regular sugar does. But, pure stevia has a bit of a strange taste, kind of bitter or menthol-like so not everybody likes it.

Plant leaves have been used for years as a natural sweetener and for medical purposes. It was only recently that they gained such popularity. Nowadays, you can find this sugar substitute in any well-supplied market and it comes in liquid, granulated, solid form and powder. You can add it to your favourite drink and even make desserts with it.

Food and beverage manufacturers also accepted this trend and started using natural sugar alternatives instead of regular sugar. The result of it is products that have fewer negative effects on the health when consumed. One famous brand that started using stevia instead of regular sugar in its beverages is Coca Cola. The production later stopped due to poor sales and this product was replaced with another one. This Coca Cola drink was available in Australia for two years only (2015-2017). Today can still be found in some parts of the world.

Usually, stevia comes in a blend with other sugars like erythritol and dextrose. But that doesn’t affect the quality. Actually, it improves the flavour. Blended stevia doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste because the erythritol suppresses the intensity of it. It’s convenient, inexpensive, safe to use and ideal for anyone that has a sweet tooth. You don’t have to cut sugars out of your life completely. Just start using the healthier version of them.

Coconut Palm Sugar

Source: healthline.com

Another alternative to granulated sugar is coconut palm sugar. This one is made from palm sap – a liquid in the coconut plant. In order to collect this sweet liquid, a cut has to be made on the flower of the coconut plant. Then, the sap needs to be heated to the point when all the water evaporates from it. The final product looks similar to granulated brown sugar.

Coconut palm sugar is considered to be much healthier and nutritious. It contains iron, zinc, calcium and potassium although in small amounts, unlike table sugar that supplies only empty calories. And thanks to the fibre inulin, this sweetener alternative is unlikely to cause blood sugar variations when consumed. That’s due to the low GI (glycemic index). Low GI foods release energy slowly thus preventing dangerous spikes. For that reason, it is recommended for people that have diabetes.

On another hand, it can also help prevent blood sugar levels from dropping too low. One tablespoon of coconut palm sugar contains 18 calories, 5g of carbohydrates and 5g of sugar, which is enough to prevent hypoglycemia and coma.

If you’re looking for something healthy and organic to replace the granulated sugar you’re already using, coconut sugar is the right choice for you. It has a subtle caramel flavour and despite being a great addition to every drink, it’s also suitable for baking and making dressings. Vegans can also use it and it is GMO-free. This sweetener is considered to be the most sustainable in the world. But keep in mind that although coconut sugar is a healthier variation you still need to control your sugar intake.

100% Natural Xylitol

Source: medicalnewstoday.com

Same as the previous two natural sweeteners, xylitol looks and tastes the same as regular sugar but has less harmful effects on one’s health. It a product that originally derived from birch bark, but can also be obtained from corn. It falls under the category of sugar alcohols (also known as organic compounds). Naturally, xylitol can be found in many fruits and vegetables. The human body also produces it to some level.

One of the reasons, why many people decide on xylitol, is the fact that it boosts dental health. Even dentists recommend it because it can help prevent tooth decay. Oral bacteria feed on glucose coming from the food we eat. But that’s not the case with xylitol. So consequentially, replacing regular sugar with this natural alternative means you’re less at risk of tooth decay or inflammatory gum diseases.

There are chewing gums containing xylitol that can be quite helpful in reducing bad bacteria but also candies and oral health products like toothpaste, precisely because of the positive effect this sugar has on the teeth.

Same as the coconut palm sugar xylitol’s glycemic index (GI) is quite low compared to refined sugar. It contains zero fructose and has little to no negative effects on the blood sugar and insulin levels in the organism. Also, it contains 40% fewer calories than regular sugar do, so it’s recommended as a substitute for people that are trying to lose weight. Several studies have shown that xylitol can reduce belly fat and prevent future weight gain.

Xylitol meets all the pharmaceutical standards and is certified as GMO-free. It doesn’t have any aftertaste and refreshes the breath. Plus, you can purchase it for a reasonable price.