Sugar is in just about everything today. While it tastes delicious, that can be a problem. Excessive consumption of sugar can lead to weight gain, poor digestion, and a taste for bad foods. Some studies show that sugar is even more addictive than cigarettes. If you want to reduce your sugar intake, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to skip the sugary treats. There are other options available! In fact, here are 7 healthy substitutes to sugar that you can use when making your favorite sweets.
Honey is a great alternative. It tastes amazing, and it’s naturally found in nature. It even comes with plenty of health benefits as well. For example, it helps control blood sugar and blood pressure. It tastes good in everything from pancakes to pork to homemade ice cream. When you buy honey, you also support the dying honeybee population. You can opt to match the same amount of sugar or use about half for what the recipe calls.
Stevia is a substance found in a bush from South America with super sweet and yummy properties. Unlike sugar, it has been shown to promote a low sugar and low fat diet. There are two types of stevia that taste slightly differently, and you’ll probably prefer one over the other. However, it is an extremely healthy option since it may even lower blood pressure by up to 14%. It can come in both liquid and solid forms, so they can be put in just about anything you need to sweeten. Many people use it in coffee and other drinks.
Made from sweet apples, applesauce can act as a substitute for sugar in a number of dishes. The natural sugars are much healthier and lower in fat. There is also more nutritional value, such as fiber and vitamins. Sugar, on the other hand, has virtually no nutritional value. Put applesauce in some yummy cookies or on top of a pork chop. They say an apple a day keep s the doctor away, but who knew the apple had to be mashed up into a sauce?
4. Yacon Syrup
Featured on The Dr. Oz Show, Yacon syrup comes from a tree in South America. It’s thick and dark in color like syrup. Some people even say it has weight loss properties, but that still needs more research to be proven. As we know it, yacon syrup contains about 1.3 calories per gram. This is roughly 1/3 of the amount of calories in regular sugar. The taste rivals actual syrup, and it’s perfect on breakfast sandwiches. Who cares if your hands get a little sticky?
5. Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is an alternative to sugar that comes from the sap from a coconut tree. While lower in its sugar index, it has the same amount of calories. That doesn’t make it the healthiest option on the list. However, it does have trace amounts of healthy components. It is better than regular sugar if only slightly. A cup of coconut sugar would be the same as a cup of sugar. The sugar will be dark in color, so it might discolor something that’s supposed to remain white.
Xylitol is a plant-based liquid with only 60% of the calories of sugar. It may even help your teeth stay healthy. Generally speaking, you should only need about half as much of xylitol as you would need sugar. This varies by individual taste, though.
Erythritol is another liquid with sweetening properties. Xylitol has more calories than this option. The taste is often preferred, as well, making it quite the popular option. Many people say they can’t even tell the difference between this and real sugar. It does not affect glucose levels or lead to weight gain. Knowledge is power. Now that you know the different options available to you, you can make the right decisions when it comes to the amount of sugar you eat. Choosing food options that use these sugar alternatives are a great way to reduce sugar intake, but be careful not to overdo it.