Healthy Sugar Substitutes
Almost everyone likes a sugary snack. But if you often have foods and drinks with lots of added sugar, the empty calories can add up. Granola bars, juices, and crackers all contain their fair share of added sugars, which is bad news for your health. Refined sugar is inflammatory, high in calories, and contains no nutrients. Worst of all? It’s linked to several diseases, such as heart disease, fatty liver disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Consider your sources of sugar
There’s a big difference between added sugar and naturally occurring sugar. Much sugar is added to processed foods such as donuts, bread, sweets, fizzy drinks, fruit punch, sweet tea, and even condiments like ketchup and barbeque sauce. The result is that many people consume a large amount of added sugar that has no nutritional benefits.
What are sugar substitute
Sugar substitutes taste sweet but don’t contain sugar. They have fewer calories than sugar, and some have no calories at all. Foods labeled “sugar-free,” “keto,” “low carb” or “diet” often contain sugar substitutes, which fall into three categories: artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols and novel sweeteners.
Artificial Sweeteners – Most artificial sweeteners (also called nonnutritive sweeteners) are created from chemicals in a lab. A few are made from natural substances like herbs. They can be 200 to 700 times sweeter than table sugar. These sweeteners don’t contain calories or sugar, but they also don’t have beneficial nutrients like vitamins, fiber, minerals or antioxidants:
- Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K)
Sugar Alcohols – Similar to artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols are created synthetically (typically from sugars themselves). Sugar alcohols are used in many processed foods. They’re not as sweet as artificial sweeteners, and they add texture and taste to foods like chewing gum and hard candies. They can cause gastrointestinal irritation like bloating, gas or diarrhea in some people. Unlike other sugar substitutes, sugar alcohols must be listed on nutrition facts labels:
Novel Sweeteners- are derived from natural sources. This relatively new group, sometimes called “plant-derived noncaloric sweeteners,” provides many of the benefits of both artificial and natural sweeteners like fruit or honey. Novel sweeteners are not a significant source of calories or sugar, so they don’t lead to weight gain or blood sugar spikes. They are also typically less processed and are more similar to their natural sources compared to artificial sweeteners:
- Monk fruit
Stevia and monk fruit are both naturally derived from plants and some people feel they have a flavor very similar to regular sugar.
To identify added sugars, look at the ingredients list. Some major clues that an ingredient is an added sugar include:
- it has syrup (examples: corn syrup, rice syrup)
the word ends in “ose” (examples: fructose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose)
- “sugar” is in the name (examples: raw sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, confectionary sugar)
- Other examples of added sugar include fruit nectars, concentrates of juices, honey, agave and molasses.
What are artificial sweeteners’ possible side effects?
According to multiple animal studies, food additives such as saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose can cause weight gain, brain tumors, bladder cancer, and other negative side effects. Not only do they continue to be studied for links to cancer, but researchers believe that those who consume artificial sweeteners regularly tend to develop an addiction to them.
Other side effects of artificial sweeteners may include: digestive issues, increased blood sugar levels, a higher risk of cancer, increased blood pressure and adverse effects on those with pre-existing mood disorders. Artificial sweeteners may also have an effect on some people’s immune systems.
3 natural sweeteners: a healthier alternative
When choosing natural sweeteners go with real, organic ingredients, because in nature sweet equals extra nutritious! Here’s 3 of our favourites to use in any recipe.
Maple syrup isn’t just for pancakes! Replacing white sugar with maple syrup is a great way to add flavor, sweetness, and texture to your foods and drinks. Plus, it contains essential minerals such as copper, calcium, and potassium. Add it to lattes, baked goods, or homemade dressings for natural sweetness.
Helpful tip: Use maple syrup at a 1 to ⅔ ratio to replace sugar, and reduce the added liquids by ¼ to maintain the correct consistency.
Coconut sugar is made from the nectar of coconut blossoms, not actual coconuts. And because of its mild caramel flavor, it makes a great brown sugar substitute. This alternative sweetener is low on the glycemic index, which makes it a healthier option to regular cane sugar. Try coconut sugar in your favourite desserts and baked goods!
Medjool dates are a naturally sweet fruit loaded with fiber, magnesium, iron, potassium, and antioxidants. They’re soft, chewy, and have a rich caramel taste. And unlike white refined sugar, your body can break them down without spiking blood sugar levels.
There are a ton of ways to use medjool dates in place of sugar. Try them in baked goods, snack bites, and smoothies!
What Is Organic Tapioca Syrup?
Tapioca syrup is made from cassava root and is gaining popularity fast as a healthy alternative to high-fructose corn syrup. This vegan sweetener contains fewer carbs and calories than most sweet liquids. Therefore, tapioca syrup is a healthier substitute for sugar, corn syrup, and other sweetener products.
Tapioca syrup is a healthier alternative to sugar. It contains about 15 percent fewer calories than white sugar and has a lower level of carbohydrates. It also contains lower glucose levels, so tapioca syrup is better than sugar in terms of blood-sugar management.
There are no chemical preservatives in organic tapioca syrup. Therefore, it is a healthy alternative sweetening agent with no artificial flavours, colouring agents, or artificial dyes. Many artificial sweetening agents have demonstrable adverse health effects when consumed in large amounts.
The sugary liquid comes from the cassava root, which makes tapioca syrup vegan. So, if you follow a plant-based diet, this sweetener can help to replace some key ingredients in baking and cooking.
What is organic cane sugar?
Organic Cane Sugar is grown without chemicals, herbicides, or pesticides, and is minimally processed. These substances are very damaging to your body, and they’re also terrible for the environment. Organic sugars are also high in polyphenols, which act as potent phytonutrients, as well as antioxidants. Organic cane sugar is made from sucrose, fructose, and glucose, while refined sugar is just made up of sucrose and unneeded calories. Refined sugars also may contain chemicals used in the refining process like lime, sulfur dioxide, and phosphoric acid. Organic cane sugar is considerably healthier to consume every day than refined and inorganic sugars.