There are healthy, natural alternatives for refined sugar to help you kick your sugar habit while still enabling you to satisfy your sweet tooth. Below, I’ll be discussing 5 alternatives to refined sugar. Use them to sweeten your coffee or tea, add extra flavor to your yogurt, or just whenever you want to add a touch of sweetness to your dish without indulging in refined sugar.
5 Natural Alternatives to Refined Sugar:
Stevia is one of the most popular natural sweeteners. This herb which comes from South America, is 300 times sweeter than refined sugar. It contains zero calories, so is a great choice if you’re trying to lose weight. Plus, it has no glycemic impact, so it’s a perfect alternative if you’re diabetic. Stevia is also very easy to digest which means you won’t suffer from any of the digestive problems that are often associated with sugar substitutes.
Coconut sugar is created by heating the sap from coconut palms. Unlike refined sugar, coconut sugar doesn’t de-stabilize your energy levels, so it is ideal if you want to stay productive and focused during the day. Like stevia, it’s also a great choice if you suffer from diabetes because it won’t disrupt your blood sugar levels. Another great thing about coconut sugar is that it supplies your body with nutrients as it sweetens and is a good source of calcium, iron, potassium and zinc.
Date sugar is made by grinding down dehydrated dates into sugar sized granules. As you’d expect from the production process, it has the same rich and sweet flavor of fresh dates, and shares all their health benefits. These health benefits include promoting healthy digestion, strengthening your heart and lowering your blood pressure. The main negative of date sugar is that it doesn’t melt or dissolve easily, so it’s not a good choice if you want to sweeten your drinks.
Honey is sweeter than refined sugar and has a much greater range of health benefits. It contains high levels of vitamins and minerals which support many vital processes within the body. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, so is a perfect sweetener for boosting your immunity. Unlike refined sugar, honey is also great for your skin and can help make it brighter, smoother and more radiant. It tastes great in tea and can also be used as a replacement for sugar in many recipes. Look for raw, organic, never-heated honey.
Maple syrup contains around half the calories of refined sugar and is a much more nutritious choice. It’s loaded with antioxidants which protect your body’s cells from damage and reduce the visible signs of aging. Maple syrup is also a brilliant source of the manganese and zinc which boost your metabolism and your immune system. In addition to this, it’s great for your skin and can protect against skin blemishes, dry skin and redness. Finally, maple syrup has been shown to protect against a range of chronic ailments and diseases including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and heart disease. Look for pure maple syrup with no extra ingredients.
Strawberry Maple Smoothie
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1/2 ripe banana
- 1/2 cup dairy and sugar free yogurt
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp pecans, toasted, plus more for garnish
- dash freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish
- 1 cup ice (to desired consistency)
- Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with toasted pecans and grated nutmeg; enjoy!