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Our Top 5 Sugar Substitutes

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If you’ve been reading our nutrition blog, then you’ve seen us discuss the dangers of eating too much sugar. But how do you create tasty foods for you and your family without feeling like you’re being deprived? Here we’ll discuss some alternatives to white sugar that you can use in your baking and cooking a bit more liberally. So why is white, refined sugar so bad for you in the first place? Well nutritionists consider it lethal and harmful when ingested by humans because it provides only that which they describe as “empty” or “naked” calories. White sugar lacks the natural minerals which are present in the sugar beet or cane and it drains and leaches the body of nutritious vitamins and minerals like calcium and magnesium since the process of digesting, detoxifying, and eliminating sugar requires so much of the body’s resources. So check out our sugar substitutes and get on the path to health and wellness this year!

1. Honey

This sweet, golden liquid has been a kitchen staple for thousands of years and it’s got some amazing health benefits. A tablespoon of raw honey contains 64 calories, is fat-free, cholesterol-free, and sodium-free, and its composition is roughly 80 percent carbs. The sweet amber nectar is full of antioxidants that may help prevent cellular damage and loss within the brain, while also helping the body to absorb calcium which promotes brain health. Honey also works as natural relaxer and sleep aid since it can cause a rise in insulin and release serotonin, the neurotransmitter that improves mood and happiness. Your body then converts serotonin into melatonin which produces healthful, quality sleep. Aaaahhhh! Here’s a recipe for a honey fruit salad that has some of this tasty sweetener in it…yum! 

2. Coconut Sugar

Gaining more popularity as a natural sweetener is coconut sugar. Made from a cut on the flower of the coconut palm where the liquid sap is collected into containers and then dried, coconut sugar is also known as coconut palm sugar. This can be a healthful alternative to refined sugar because coconut sugar, unlike white sugar, contains some nutrients like iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium. Coconut sugar also contains a fiber called inulin, which slows glucose absorption and gives it a lower glycemic index than regular table sugar. But be careful; as with all sugars you want to have small amounts!

3. Agave

Agave, besides being a white sugar alternative, has its history in medicinal uses with native cultures. Long used as a dressing for wounds and skin infections, agave has a low glycemic index, which provides sweetness without the typical “sugar rush” and unhealthful blood sugar spike caused by many other sugars. But the processing of agave, depending on how it’s made, may take out some of the health benefits. It is best to get your agave from a health food store where you can find out about any processing techniques. And as always, use agave in moderation as you would any other sweetener.

4. Molasses

Blackstrap molasses is a nourishing sweetener which contains a considerable amount of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are essential for the functioning of the body such as iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium. It also helps to improve bone health, strengthen the immune system, provide electrolyte balance, hair care, sexual health, functioning of the nervous system, and wound healing. Wow – what a list of benefits! If you have any sensitivity towards the sulfite that is present in sulfured molasses, opt for unsulfured molasses, which is free of sulfur dioxide and safe to use in most cases.

5. Maple Syrup

Made from the sap in maple trees, maple syrup is another healthful alternative to white sugar with nutrients like calcium, potassium, iron, and zinc. If you’re baking, buy Grade B maple syrup and look for a bottle that says “pure maple syrup” and doesn’t have any added glucose or corn syrup in it. This pretty brown sweetener also has lots of antioxidants in it to help with the prevention of many diseases. If you’re curious about how to make the switch from white sugar to maple syrup, try our recipe for carrot oatmeal cookies that uses this nutritious sweetener for a healthy treat!

As with all sweeteners and sugar alternatives, use them in moderation. And add fruit when you can to add an even better and more natural source of sugar. Your body and your waistline will thank you!

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About the author

Viance Nutrition

Hi! I'm Walt Landi the founder and CEO of Viance Nutrition. Welcome to our Blog. I maintain this Blog as a free resource for anyone wishing to improve their health. Your comments and feedback are always welcomed and you can email me direct at walt@viance.com if you have any suggestions. Thanks. Ps. Spread the word and check out our products at viance.com. :)

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