Numerous studies on sugar and its effects on health have led to the search for new ways to sweeten our diet without resorting to white sugar. The options are many more than we think and its benefits are beyond doubt. Below, we have collected some of them.
Honey is a natural and very healthy alternative to sugar. It contains fructose, glucose and a little sucrose, while sugar is pure sucrose.
Fructose makes honey much sweeter and we use less quantity. In this way, we reduce the number of calories ingested.
Honey is rich in antioxidants that protect the heart and are also attributed properties such as improved memory.
2. Natural stevia
It is one of the most known and widespread natural sweeteners among those who have already eliminated sugar from their daily diet.
Use it to give sweetness to infusions and other drinks and make compotes, coulis or fruit salads.
Some studies suggest that stevia can help reduce blood pressure and is considered a good alternative to sugar because it does not affect blood sugar levels, which makes it suitable for use by diabetics.
Remember that stevia sweetens much more than sugar. 1 tablespoon of sugar, is equivalent to a quarter of stevia powder or 6 drops of liquid stevia.
3. Coconut sugar
Coconut sugar is obtained by heating the fresh juice of the coconut flower. It tastes like caramel and is very nice. Its fructose content is low (2-9%) and the content of minerals is relatively high.
You can use it where you added sugar: coffee, milk, yoghurt… and as an ingredient for confectionery recipes such as custards, biscuits, muffins or cookies.
4. Natural fructose
It is characterized by sweetening more than white or refined sugar, providing only four calories per gram. Keep in mind that although natural fructose is not harmful, when it is ingested in high quantities through commercially produced products it can become a problem for cardiovascular health.
Choose it natural or organically farmed. It is easy to find it in herbal shops and natural products stores.
5. Maple syrup
This syrup, and others like agave, serves to sweeten infusions and coffees, fruit salads or different dairy desserts such as yoghurts and curds.
It can also be used as an ingredient in the preparation of salad dressings. Mix with vinegar, salt and pepper and you get a different touch.
6. Molasses rice
It is extracted from round rice grains and serves as a natural sweetener with few calories and a high calcium content (273 mg/100 g).
Its uses are similar to those of agave syrup, but having the consistency of honey you can also use it to fill cakes.
Although you can prepare it homemade, being a somewhat complex elaboration, it is better to buy it in organic supermarkets.
This sugar unlike white, is not subjected to any refining, centrifugation, purification or any other type of processing, so it retains all the vitamins and minerals present in sugar cane.
It has fewer calories than white sugar, since it contains 310 to 350 calories per 100 grams compared to 400 calories of white sugar.
8. Yacon syrup
Yacon is a tuber that grows in the Peruvian Andes. A syrup is extracted from this root, it is not as sweet as sugar or honey, but with half the calories, a very low glycemic index and significant proportions of minerals.
The usual thing is to find it in the form of syrup, but you can also buy a powdered version that is easy and convenient to use in many recipes.
9. Birch sugar or Xylitol
Its appearance is equal to that of table sugar, in white or brown and is used in the same amounts.
Its flavor in infusions, coffees, teas or juices is the same and sweetens the same with an identical amount to the classic envelope of white sugar from cane or beet.
This natural sweetener is a great ally to fight tooth decay.
10. Agave syrup
Its sweetening power is double that of sugar thanks to its composition which includes fructose in 70% and glucose in 25%.
It is easy to use as a substitute in yoghurts or smoothies because it dissolves easily in cold liquids. Not so much in baking, where the baking times differ with respect to sugar.
You can find it in the form of liquid sweetener and also in powdered form. In this way it is the perfect substitute for icing sugar.
Within The Limits Of Health
According to the World Health Organization, sugar should not contribute more than 10% of the daily calories in both children and adults. To get a clearer idea: for a 2,000-calorie diet (ideal for a healthy adult), it's about 50 grams of sugar, the equivalent of about 12 teaspoons of coffee.
- It is important to emphasize that when the WHO talks about sugars it does not only refer to refined products such as the one added to coffee (sucrose), it also refers to glucose or fructose. Whether it is artificial additives in refreshing drinks and all kinds of processed foods or if they are naturally in fruit juices or syrups.
- So if we follow the advice of the international organization, most people will probably have to adjust their diet. Now, to improve the diet by reducing free sugars, why not go further and choose the healthiest, those who provide useful nutrients and not just empty calories such as refined sugar. In the gallery that you have just seen we have selected some of the natural sweeteners that present themselves as a good range of options compared to white sugar.
Is Saccharin Consumption Safe?
Among artificial sweeteners, without a doubt, saccharin is the star. Who has not been given a choice between sugar or saccharin when ordering a coffee at a bar? A little varied offer that, on the other hand, is totally logical, since this artificial sweetener is one of the most consumed, both between people who follow a diet of weight control and those who simply want to reduce the presence of sugar in their feeding.
However, the arguments for and against emerge and face recurrence both among the scientific community and among consumers themselves. The point is that today saccharin is a sweetener authorized by the EFSA (Food Safety Authority), which should be enough to appease criticism.
On the other hand, the saccharin is assigned a value (maximum) of Admissible Daily Intake (known as ADI), specifically 5 mg of saccharin per day per kilogram of body weight. So, within these margins. the use of saccharin can be understood as safe.