5 natural substitutes for sugar

Natural substitutes for sugar
White sugar. Image via pixabay.

To add sweetness to a drink or food we would most likely reach for some sort of sugar. The type of sugar an individual may reach for may differ from that of another simply because there are so many options available. This is so because sugar can be derived from different sources and as a result, we have different types. There are artificial sweeteners, natural sweeteners, and refined sweeteners. It's better to reach for certain sweeteners than others. Natural sweeteners are the best choice instead of unhealthy refined sugars. 

There are natural substitutes for sugar (refined) but you must understand that these substitutes are still sugar and so they must be eaten in moderation. Do you want to know of some natural substitutes for sugar? In this post, I'm going to list some much healthier options (natural substitutes) for sugar so keep on reading.

What is sugar?
Sugar is basically a carbohydrate that has no nutritional value.

There are:
Simple sugars are - fructose and glucose
Complex sugars are - sucrose
Plants make fructose and glucose.

fructose + glucose = sucrose
sucrose (can be broken down into) = fructose + glucose

There are:
- Natural sugar
- Refined sugar

Facts about these sugars.
Refined sugar
- It is processed in factories so it's a processed sugar.
- Comes from/extracted from a whole food. For example, sugar from sugarcane.

Natural sugar
- Is not processed in factories or is slightly processed (e.g. honey)
- They come from whole foods (e.g. fruits)

Why is refined sugar bad for you and why I prefer to eat mostly natural sugar rather than refined sugar?

Both refined sugar and natural sugar will add sweetness to your drinks and foods, but natural sugars are better for your body. These refined sugars are processed sugars which are not good for the body because they have been linked to a number of diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc.

The good thing about natural substitutes is that they contain nutrients in addition to sweetness which is needed by the body and that's why I prefer them.

Always remember:

The more processed a sugar -> The more unhealthy it is for you
So, therefore, you should always use sweeteners that are as close to their natural state as possible.

Why not refined sugar
- Provides no nutritional value towards your body.
- These sugar use vitamins and minerals from your body to metabolize them.

Why natural sugar
- Provides nutritional value for your body.
- Brings nutrients to your body along with the sweetness.

5 natural substitutes for sugar:

1. Coconut sugar

This type of sugar is derived from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm tree.

Has a low glycemic index- will not spike blood sugar levels.
Rich in magnesium, potassium iron, zinc and vitamin B1, B2, B3, and B6.

2. Molasses

Molasses is the by-product you get when you refine sugar cane. The processing of sugarcane to make sugar will cause all of its nutrients to remain in the molasses.

As a result, molasses is rich in calcium, magnesium, copper, and iron. Potassium, manganese, selenium and vitamin B6 is also present.

Blackstrap molasses is the most nutritious, but it's bitter.

3. Honey

Honey. Image via pixabay

This sticky yellowish-brown liquid is made by bees that collect nectar from flowers. Bees store honey in their hives and humans gathers honey from there.

- has vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6), minerals (calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron), amino acids and antioxidants.

- is sweeter than sugar so less is needed.
- is high in calories, so you should use it in moderation.
- is more easily digested than refined sugar.
- has a lower Glycemic Index (GI) than sugar

Raw honey is the best because it has more nutrients

4. Date sugar

  Image via pixabay.

Made from dates. The dates are grounded to produce this sugar.

Is very sweet, but doesn't melt (great for baking).

Contains fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, selenium and manganese.

5. Fruits 

Fruits. Image via pixabay

Fresh fruits are sweet and can be used to sweeten foods (great for baking) and drinks also.

These natural substitutes for sugar are much better than those highly processed sugars that are out there!