Quitting refined sugars can be really tough. And with so many side effects of artificial sweeteners, it becomes really tough for those having a sweet tooth to be on a low-sugar or no sugar diet.
There are few natural sweeteners that are low in calories, low in fructose, have a very sweet taste and also do not harm health. They contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. They are still sugar and should be consumed in moderation, but better than the nasty chemicals and highly processed alternatives.
Natural Sweeteners & Their Benefits
Few of the natural sweeteners are:
Stevia is a sweet herb and has been used for centuries. It is 100-300 times sweeter than the refined sugar and can be used in cooking and baking.
Stevia does not affect the blood glucose level and also has a low glycemic index. Also, it’s a calorie-free sweetener.
This herb is known for the following health benefits:
- Lowers Blood Pressure: Stevia lowers the blood pressure in people with hypertension. It does not affect those with normal blood pressure or those with slightly elevated range.(1)
- Lowers Blood Sugar: It is also known to lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.(2)
Studies done on rats show that stevia can improve insulin sensitivity, reduce LDL cholesterol and reduce plaque build-up.(3)
Raw Local Honey
Honey is one of the oldest natural sweeteners. It contains enzymes, minerals, and vitamins. Always look for raw on its label as pasteurization would kill most of the good stuff present in it.
It is beneficial in building immunity against the most common allergen.
Molasses is one of the most nutritious sweeteners which are derived from sugar cane or sugar beet. It is made by clarifying and blending the juices extracted from them.
Longer the juice is boiled less sweet and more nutritious it is. Also, such a product is darker in color.
Molasses gives a dark color and a distinct flavor to the food.
Blackstrap molasses is a rich source of iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It is known to boost bone health, prevents anemia, eases muscle cramps, and also improves hair health.
Real Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is made by boiling the maple tree sap. It is a great source of manganese and zinc.
40 gallons of tree sap are required to make one gallon of maple syrup.
Maple syrup gives a pleasant flavor to the food and is also used for baking purposes.
It is a rich source of antioxidants and is a good replacement for refined sugar.
Coconut sugar is made from the nectar of flower buds of the coconut palm tree. It is also known as coconut palm sugar or coco sap sugar, or coconut crystals.
The coconut flower nectar is heated until all water in it evaporates and the nectar caramelizes, it is then dried and grounded into granules.
Coconut sugar is a very good source of iron, vitamins, and potassium. Although it has the same calorie and carbohydrate content as regular sugar, the glycemic index is lower. A low glycemic index releases glucose slowly into the blood.
Yacon syrup is a unique sweetener and is harvested from the yacon plant. This plant grows natively in the Andes in South America.
A study found it significant in causing weight-loss in overweight women and has become popular as a weight loss supplement.(7)
It has a high content of fructooligosaccharides, which have a function similar to soluble fibers that feed bacteria in the intestine.
It helps prevent constipation due to a high amount of soluble fiber.
For those who really have a taste for sugar and cannot resist it, using natural sweeteners can solve the purpose. Using small amounts of these natural sugars would not cause any harm to the body and would satiate the craving for sweets.