Natural Sweetener: Your Guide To Healthy Sugar Alternatives
Last week I talked about the dangers of sugar for you and your body and ways to begin a sugar free lifestyle. If you are unsure or want to take baby steps that is totally okay! Big changes can happen in very small steps. You can begin by simply switching your refined sugars for healthy substitutes. A few of my favorite sugar alternatives are honey, agave, and stevia.
Honey is a natural product you might be able to find in your own backyard! Not only can it be used to sweeten tea or coffee but there are additional health benefits to consider. Healing wounds and boosting your immune system are two of the wonderful things honey can do for you. Be mindful of the type of honey you purchase, natural or medical honey will contain the healing properties whereas most common honey containers (the golden bear) will have been heated and no nutrients are left. Honey is also lower on the GI scale making it an option for anyone trying to manage blood sugar.
Agave is a natural plant found in South America, which comes from the same plant as tequila, is used as a sweetener in liquid form. It is sweeter than sugar and has about 20 calories per teaspoon, so it is not the best substitute for baking but fine for tea and coffee. It can also be used as a vegan alternative to honey if that is a concern. Agave nectar has a lower Glycemic Index (GI) meaning it will not spike blood sugar levels which can be harmful for people suffering from diabetes.
Stevia is also a plant found in Central and South America that can be found in several different forms. You will find the most known product, Truvia, on the shelves at many local stores as well as liquid or powder forms in health or specialty stores. Stevia does not add calories to your diet and used in moderation can be a great substitution to sugars in everyday food and baking. It is about 200 times more sweet than sugar, so be conscious of how much you actually need. Stevia is said to be a zero on the GI scale, so it has been called a miracle sweetener for diabetics.
These options are some that I use and feel are great alternatives to sugar. They are low on the GI scale and can be found at most grocery or health food stores near you. There are plenty of recipes to combine these and other ingredients to use for baking if you are looking specifically for those options. If you have other suggestions please add them in the comments below.
With light filled regards,