Best Healthy Alternatives to Sugar 

Sugar is a type of carbohydrate famous for its sweet taste and usefulness in producing pastries, drinks, and some foods. Another name for it is sucrose. It has gained the reputation of being unhealthy, but this is not entirely true. 

The body needs sugar for energy. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) poses a greater risk than hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Sugar can even be found in fruits and some vegetables. 

Refined sugar is a form of sugar that has been processed so that it no longer contains the other nutrients that natural sugar contains. Therefore, it is often cited as an unhealthy source of sugar. No arguments here.

However, there are alternatives to refined sugar, alternatives with lower glycemic index (a value that gives information on the absorption rate of sugar into the blood) and more nutritional value than refined sugar. 

Dates 

You may have heard of dates once before. It is a fruit, and its popularity increases during Ramadan. 

Dates are a source of natural sugars. They are a healthier choice than refined sugar for a couple of reasons. One is that they are a whole food. Because they are not processed, they still contain their fibers and minerals. Dates also have antioxidant properties, which, unlike refined sugar, have more nutritional value. 

According to research, dates do not spike blood sugar levels and they have no negative impact on weight. This makes them a safe choice for people with diabetes or on a weight loss journey. 

image 1

Honey

This is probably the most commonly used alternative to sugar in households. Honey is sweeter than sugar. A tablespoon or less of honey can achieve what two tablespoons of sugar may need to achieve. 

Apart from adding sweetness to anything you add it to, honey is also a good anti-inflammatory agent. This means when you use honey instead of refined sugar, you are not only doing your taste buds a favor but your overall body health too. 

Both honey and refined sugar have similar amounts of carbohydrates. However, honey is the healthier choice because of the minerals, proteins, and nutrients it contains. 

Fun fact: Tea tastes better with honey than with sugar. 

image 2

Artificial sweeteners 

Artificial sweeteners are often used in the pharmaceutical industry to sweeten drugs that may be unpalatable to consumers. 

Artificial sweeteners have a sweetness range of 200 to 700 times that of refined sugar. Although they have zero nutritional value, they also contain zero sugars and calories. Although they may be used by diabetics, their effect on weight loss is minimal, if effective at all. 

Examples of artificial sweeteners or non-nutritive sugars, as they are also called, include aspartame, saccharin (commonly used in bread), and acesulfame-potassium. 

image

Agave 

Another alternative to refined sugar with growing popularity is agave. Teas, cocktails, pancakes, smoothies, and even tequila, agave sweetens virtually anything! 

If you’re looking for a natural alternative to sugar, agave syrup is your answer. It is obtained from the agave plant and is one-and-a-half times sweeter than refined sugar. 

This alternative sugar source has also been found to have a glycemic index as low as 17, which is more than three times lower than the glycemic index of honey. This means that it poses a very small risk to blood sugar levels and does not spike them. 

You can check out Kirkland Signature’s Organic Blue Agave All-Purpose Sweetener. Customers like the taste and quality of the syrup. 

image 3

Coconut sugar

If there is any fruit that is 100% useful, it is the coconut. From its husk to its water, a coconut can produce a whole lot of products, including sugar.

At first glance, coconut sugar can be easily mistaken for brown sugar. It is obtained from the sap of the coconut palm tree. Like every other item listed in this article, it is often advertised as a diabetic-friendly and safer choice than sugar. This is not completely right, but it’s not completely wrong either. 

Dietician Victoria Taylor says coconut sugar contains the same calories as refined sugar. So, it is not as safe as people claim it is. However, it has a low glycemic index, reducing its chances of spiking blood sugar. 

Moreover, because coconut sugar requires less processing, it retains most of its micronutrients. These benefits are why people prefer this sugar to white, refined sugar. 

image 4

Comparative analysis

Unlike honey, which is obtained from animal sources, alternatives like agave or coconut sugar are suitable for vegans who eat only plant-based foods. 

Adding dates or honey to your fruit or vegetable salad may be a better choice than artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners may end up over-sweetening the salad or changing the overall taste of the food. They are better off used for baked food. 

For your pancakes, agave syrup or honey is best suitable. Another option not on this list is maple syrup. 

Coconut sugar is a great choice for foods like cinnamon rolls or cookies. Also, coconut sugar is useful for recipes that require granule-like sugar instead of syrups. Plus, it doubles as flavouring for coconut flavour lovers.  

Conclusion 

Fruits are the best source of sugar. As healthy as these alternatives may seem, they still have side effects that can be grossly detrimental to your health. 

Even good things can become bad when taken in excess. Be careful not to take any of these excessively. Frequent consumption of these sweeteners is discouraged. 

Related Posts

Leave a Comment