Sugar is one of the most important carbohydrate sources that are extracted from sugar cane, sugar beet and plants. There are many types of sugar, the most common one being table sugar. Table sugar provides you almost nil nutritional value and adds empty calories to the plate. Recognizing this fact, more and more people are turning away from table sugar and opting for other sweeteners. At the same time, even artificial sweeteners have been found to have a number of disadvantages, one being increased craving for sweet foods. So, the best alternative in such a case comes out to be natural sugar substitutes instead of synthetic sweeteners. They usually have low glycemic index and being sweeter than table sugar are also consumed in less quantities. These are available in all major departmental stores and have no side effects, when compared to artificial sweeteners. In the following lines, we have provided a list of natural substitutes for sugar.
Stevia with FOS
Stevia is one of the most popular substitutes used in place of sugar. It is native to South America and is available in the form of liquid as well as powder. FOS, on the other hand, stands for fruit ogiliosaccharides. It has been found to be beneficial for the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria, inside the body. Stevia with FOS is a nonnutritive powder, which can be easily used in place of sugar.
Single Blossom Honey
Single blossom honey is another natural substitute for sugar. It includes those forms of honey which are low-glycemic, like red clover honey and orange blossom honey. Even Agave nectar can be used for the purpose of sweetening beverages. However, since both of them are high in calories and carbohydrates, they shouldn’t be used in excess.
Xylitol is also known by the name of birch sugar and is mainly used for the purpose of baking and sweetening beverages. One of the best features of Xylitol is that it has a low-glycemic index and doesn’t lead to blood sugar imbalances or yeast overgrowth, unlike table sugar. At the same time, it is said to be good for bone health as well as dental health. However, excess consumption of Xylitol might lead to gastrointestinal discomfort and also diarrhea.
Fructose is a natural low-glycemic sugar that is extracted from fruits and made available in granulated form. Since it is much sweeter than table sugar, you need less of it to make a particular dish or beverage sweet. It is best used for the purpose of baking. At the same time, avoid using too much fructose as it might lead to an increase in your lipid count, creating trouble for heart.
There is a great demand for coconut sugar in today’s world, since it is extremely nutritious and has a low glycemic index. The sap from the coconut palm is heated to vaporize the water content and is condensed to small granules. These make great substitutes for regular table sugar but are different in size, texture and taste. These are a little less sweet and go well for making unsweetened desserts.
Just as the name suggests, date sugar is made from dried dates, where the fruit is pounded and ground to produce fine sugar. Date sugar has a rich, sweet taste and is a great alternative to brown sugar. This sugar also goes well with milk; however, it does not go too well with baking recipes.
Also known as cane sugar, jaggery is traditional, unrefined cane sugar popularly consumed in Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia. These huge blocks of sugar can vary from golden brown to dark brown in color and form a natural sweetener for many recipes. Sometimes, jaggery is also mixed with white sugar, coconut, condensed milk and peanuts for richer taste.
Maple syrup is a very common sugar substitute and is used in place of sugar for cakes and other baking recipes. Similar to honey, maple syrup has a more distinctive taste and is also available in the form of maple sugar granules.
Brown Rice Syrup
When you boil brown rice and vaporize the water used for boiling the rice, you are almost always left with gluten and wheat-free syrup, which goes well with pancakes and porridge. Brown rice syrup tastes a bit like melted butterscotch and is now picking up as a favorite alternative to maple syrup and regular table sugar.
Barley Malt Syrup
Barley malt syrup is similar to molasses and as the name suggests, tastes like malt! This has a low glycemic index and is a perfect natural condiment for hot beverages like tea and coffee. It is believed that barley malt syrup is a lot healthier than maple syrup and also aids digestion.
List Of Some Other Natural Sugar Substitutes
- Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates
- Lo Han Guo
Sugar is an inevitable part in all our lives. Whether in the form of granules, spoonfuls, cubes or syrups, sugar dominates major parts of our diet. However, if you are looking for a healthier and a more natural alternative, go through the article once more to understand the natural sugar substitutes better.