What Are Good Healthy Sugar Substitutes?
Sugar that is added to your #diet has the potential to cause some pretty bad health problems. According to authoritynutrition.com some of these problems include: Tooth decay, liver problems, fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, cancer, weight gain and heart disease.
Don’t despair because there are several natural healthy sugar substitutes available. Real sugar is not bad taken in moderation but the more often you can use alternatives the better your health can be.
According to Dawn Combs, a certified herbalist and author. There are some great healthy sugar substitutes to add to your diet and some not so great.
Agave nectar has a low glycemic index and therefore is believed to help keep blood sugar levels in check and thusly prevent fluctuations in hormones. Worrying solely about the glycemic index of a food is not a good indicator of health. Unfortunately, agave syrup contains the highest fructose amount of any commercial sweetener, even worse than high fructose corn syrup. High levels of fructose create insulin resistance, an even bigger problem than a temporary spike due to sugar intake. Further, agave nectar is mostly produced from Agave americana.
Some of the natural sugar alternatives that Dawn writes about are:
- Maple syrup – Great for baking and we like to use it in our oatmeal as well as the lower gluten einkorn pancakes that we love to have for breakfast.
- Honey – Find local raw honey for an excellent sugar substitute. We use it in our tea and it is great to bake with. Honey baked ham, honey dips and honey in bread is wonderful. I personally like honey for its extra antibacterial benefits.
- Agave – This is a popular sugar substitute but not always the best choice for healthy eating as it contains the highest amount of fructose that any of the other alternatives. Not my favorite flavor.
- Coconut sugar – You are probably aware of the benefits of coconut oils and coconut sugar is no exception because of the low fructose content. Make sure you get pure coconut sugar if you choose this alternative .
- Brown rice syrup – Good if it is #organic. This sugar substitute is mostly used in baking or cooking.
Some other natural sugar alternatives are products made from stevia which is an herb commonly found in Central and South America and is sweeter than sugar without the blood sugar spike. There is however a bitter aftertaste that is a bit like licorice but there are some good products out there like Sweetleaf and Truvia that are good sugar alternatives.
Another healthy sugar substitute is Xylitol. This is not one that I think of as a great alternative because of the way that it is processed. Xylitol is basically processed birch sap. Anything that is processed and hydrogenated I try to stay away from. Also the name makes it sound like a cough medicine.
I like to stick with honey, maple syrup and raw sugar for my sweet tooth because I know where they come from and that the process from nature to the store is very simple.