Sugar is our side kick and our muse. We get it. Broccoli didn’t stand by you when things went wrong- sugar in the form of ice creams and desserts did. Wouldn't it be amazing if you could consume sugar without fear of affecting your health? All you have to do is pick the right sugar or a correct sugar substitute.
The truth is that refined sugars can be harmful to your health. Refined sugar is highly addictive, spikes blood sugar levels, interferes with nutrient absorption, and can also cause heart diseases, weight gain, and other degenerative diseases. However, there's no need to be sugar celibate.
Substituting less processed, more natural sugars for the white stuff might be healthier for your body—and your recipes. There are some surprising benefits of sugar alternatives that aren't refined. Although these alternative sweeteners are still sugar, they are much easier to produce and provide a variety of other nutrients and health benefits.
Good sugar and bad sugar
To understand the difference between bad and good sugars, it's first essential to understand and differentiate between your sugars- fructose, glucose, and sucrose. Better carbohydrates such as maple syrup, coconut sugar, and date syrup have a low glycemic index and contain less fructose. Insulin levels increase when sucrose (cane sugar) and glucose are ingested but not when fructose is consumed.
Fructose is a sugar that can be contained in fruits (for the most part). On the other hand, too much fructose can be difficult for the liver to process. The maximum amount of fructose that should be consumed every day is 50 grams. If the amount of fructose ingested reaches this level, the liver's fructose metabolism generates free radicals. (This is one of the reasons high-fructose corn syrup is so bad.)
In essence, a better sugar should have a low glycemic index, a moderately high fructose content, and additional nutrients that cane sugar does not have.
Here's a rundown of the best natural sweeteners and sugar substitutes you can use if you're looking for sugar alternatives for baking, cooking, or sweetening your morning coffee.
The best sugar substitutes
1. Date Syrup
Date syrup is more than just sugar; it's a fruit-based snack. Date syrup has a low glycemic index, as shown by a clinical study that examined its effect on blood sugar in real-time on human clinical subjects. It also has a lower fructose content than most sweeteners. Date syrup is also high in minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. It also has the same amount of antioxidants as maca or raspberries, making it the most nutrient-dense sweetener available. This sugar substitute contains potassium, which aids in the slow absorption and regulation of sugar in the bloodstream.
2. Unprocessed Honey
Raw honey, specifically raw local honey, is just like dates that have both food and nectar of the gods. Honey contains amino acids, electrolytes, and a plethora of antioxidants in addition to sugar. It's known for its natural antiseptic properties and its ability to relieve allergy symptoms. Although honey has a higher fructose content than sugar, it has a low glycemic index, making it one of the best sugar substitutes. According to one study, replacing sugar with honey can lower blood sugar levels, prevent weight gain and help weight loss.
3. Maple Syrup
It is a sweetener made from maple trees. True maple syrup has many characteristics of a healthy sugar substitute, such as glycemic index and fructose content that should be low. It's minimally processed, sourced directly from trees and contains many more minerals and antioxidants than honey, including manganese, riboflavin, zinc, and magnesium. It also has fewer calories than most sugar substitutes. The only caveat is that when purchasing maple syrup, make sure the label says "100% maple syrup"; otherwise, you're getting corn syrup with "maple flavouring".
4. Sugar Made From Coconut
Coconut sugar, which comes from the blossoms of the coconut tree and contains high levels of potassium and electrolytes, is the perfect substitute for white sugar in recipes since it behaves similarly. It is, however, also highly refined and lacks the nutrient density of the others. On the plus side, it includes inulin fibre, which has been shown to help slow glucose absorption and maintain stable blood sugar levels. It's probably one of the best sugar substitutes for baked goods.
5. Molasses Made From Blackstrap
Molasses Blackstrap molasses, which is high in iron, potassium, and calcium, is another sweetener that is nutritionally superior to many others. One tablespoon of iron is equal to a 3-ounce serving of beef, supplying more than 10% of the daily recommended iron intake. Blackstrap molasses, a by-product of refined white sugar, is the darkest grade and is processed three times to extract as much sucrose as possible.
6. Stevia Sugar
Stevia is a natural sweetener that’s derived from the leaves of the South American shrub Stevia rebaudiana.
This plant-based sweetener can be extracted from one of two compounds called glycosides — stevioside and rebaudioside A. These compounds don’t contain any calories, are up to 450 times sweeter than sugar, and may taste slightly different than sugar.
Human and animal research indicates that replacing sugar with stevia may help prevent weight gain and reduce blood sugar levels. While stevia is considered generally safe, some studies suggest that it may harm your gut microbiome. Overall, more research is needed.
So, these are the alternatives you can choose from. If you're looking for something that sounds the same and, in fact, better than sugar, you can opt for these alternatives for sure. You can try our zero calorie and zero sugar drink- ZOiK.
ZOiK uses water sourced from the foothills of Himalayas and preserves the natural minerals in their raw form. Zoik is natural, delicious on its own and can be used as a mixer for your favourite drinks or can be used as one of your many experiments. Fizzy drinks have a reputation of being harmful and rightfully so. Sodas are really bad for your health if you consume it regularly but Zoik is an exception and even though we fall under the fizzy drink category, you will realise we are the good guys with bubbles, sparkles, fizz and a whole lot of minerals.
We travelled all the way to the Himalayas to craft it to perfection so that you can avoid the bad ones without a second thought without settling or compromising on the taste or feel. And you can surely replace your regular water intake with these if you want more nutrients! Visit us at https://drinkzoik.com/
Staying healthy is a lifestyle and not low carb diets you follow when you start feeling bad about your body and health. We ensure that you will cherish not having sugar in your drinks as far as your healthy diet routine. So skip sugar in your drinks and step into a nutrition filled diet.