By Shruti Goenka Last Updated:
While refined sugar is known to be addictive and detrimental to your health, even artificial sweeteners can do more harm than good for your body. That is why, more and more people are now looking for natural and healthier substitutes for them in order to relish the taste without compromising on their health.
The best way to keep yourself healthy while enjoying the sweet taste is by opting for natural alternatives. Try the following natural substitutes of artificial sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth without sabotaging your health.
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Dates are naturally sweet to taste and hence are a great addition to desserts. They contain potassium, calcium and vitamin B6. You can either use dried dates or date sugar, which too retains many of the nutritional benefits of its fruit. It is rich in flavour and a great alternative to brown sugar. Add them to puddings or cakes and savour the sweet taste without the calories of sugar. Date sugar cannot be used directly, such as in coffee, tea, etc. But, is a great alternative to be added in your desserts.
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Honey has been known to possess antifungal, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Its distinctive sweet taste makes it a highly preferred alternative to artificial sweeteners. To reap maximum benefits of this mineral-rich elixir, procure honey that is locally and organically produced. Certain varieties of honey have more calories than sugar; but since it is sweeter than sugar, you will be using it in a lesser quantity.
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Maple syrup is not meant just for pancakes. This mineral laden, low calorie syrup is an excellent substitute of sugar in your morning coffee as well. Rich in antioxidants maple syrup is a great addition to your baked goods.
Stevia is one of the best alternatives for sugar around. It is a herb, which is about three hundred times sweeter than sugar. It is natural, and low in carbs and calories. Since stevia has very little calories and has practically zero glycemic effect, it is a highly preferred sugar alternative by those trying to shed some weight or those who are diabetic.
Molasses is nothing but the residue left behind when sugarcane is refined into white sugar. The traditional process of refining sugar from sugarcane leaves behind a residue, which is rich in nutrients like iron, calcium, potassium, copper, magnesium and vitamin B6. It is also a good vegan source of iron.
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Agave nectar is a great alternative to artificial sugar. Also known for being the source of tequila, agave nectar has very low glycemic value. It is again intensely sweet, so you won’t need it as much as sugar. It has often been praised as a “gift from god”.
Brown rice syrup is a great way to sweeten your porridge or pancakes. Derived by boiling brown rice, this syrup is mostly wheat and gluten free. It has a slightly buttery and nutty favour. The syrup has a light butterscotch taste to it. A great addition to salads, health bars and muffins, brown rice syrup also passes on the benefits of brown rice to its consumer minus the long cooking time.
When extracted sap of coconut is boiled and dehydrated, the left behind granules are known as coconut sugar. It is nutritious, as it has traces of antioxidants, calcium, zinc, iron and potassium. It is also sweet, yet low on the glycemic index. It is considered quite a good option for those who have high sugar levels. It is a nutritious and convenient substitute for your traditional sugar and artificial sweeteners.
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Fresh fruit juices are also a great source of natural sugar. The biggest advantage of fruit juice as a sugar substitute is that it comes in a wide variety of flavours and strengths. While fruit juices cannot be added to tea and coffee, they are great additions to cookies and cakes.
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Well, give these interesting, natural alternatives a try; and find out which suits your taste buds the best. We would just like to add, if you have any sugar-related problems, then do consult your doctor first before making any change in your lifestyle.
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