Sometimes we need to add a little sweetness to our coffee, tea, or baking – but refined sugar is far from a healthy choice. While there are plenty of zero-calorie sweeteners on the market, many of these are artificially made and provide as many negative health effects as traditional sugar. What sugar substitutes are available to support a healthy diet?
Before we look at other healthier options for sweeteners, let’s look at why you should avoid traditional cane sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners are calorie-free synthetic sugars. High-calorie refined sugar and even zero-calorie artificial sweetener offer no nutritional benefits and can contribute to weight gain, inflammatory issues, and heart disease. Avoid these traditional table sugars and chemical synthetic substitutes and opt for something natural!
Many natural sugars and sugar substitutes carry other health benefits in addition to their sweet taste. Try incorporating these sweeteners into your daily coffee, tea, or baking!
Maple sugar is high in minerals and antioxidants that aid in boosting immunity. Though it is high in calories, it has a rich flavor and only requires a small amount to sweeten your beverage or baked goods. Make sure to look for pure maple syrup that isn’t mixed with any other corn syrups or sugars.
Honey is not a low-calorie sweetener, but it is natural and nutrient-rich! Not only is it delicious in tea and baked goods, but raw local honey is also effective at boosting your immunity to native allergies.
Coconut sugar is dense in minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. The flavor of the sugar isn’t very strong, either – so if you don’t like the taste of coconut, there’s nothing to fear. Find this sugar easily in your local grocery store!
Date sugar is a fantastic source for sweetness for those with high cholesterol. This sweetener is rich in vitamins and minerals and helps with the metabolization of fats and carbohydrates. This sugar can be found at many specialty food stores if not carried in your local grocery.
Stevia is a plant-based, calorie-free sugar substitute that offers a sweeter flavor than traditional refined sugar. Pay attention to the ingredients in your stevia products as some will come mixed with other substances such as erythritol. Choose 100% stevia for your healthiest option.
As a rule of thumb, you should use sweeteners in moderation. Even healthy sugars can be overused. Get your sweet fix from fruits like apples and berries to curb your cravings, and avoid processed sugary treats like soft drinks and candy bars.
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