Aside from ruining your teeth, the consumption of refined sugar is frowned upon by many due to the numerous negative effects it has on the health. It’s something that can sap your energy, impair brain functioning, and put you at risk of obesity, cancer, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
If you think that reaching for artificial sweeteners is a fantastic idea, think again. Medical experts say that these chemicals are just as bad as refined sugar. In fact, certain studies have shown that the use of artificial sweeteners can aggravate the ill effects of refined sugar on your mind and body.
Luckily, you don’t have to live in a world devoid of sweetness as there are numerous healthy alternatives to refined sugar. All of them come straight from nature and are capable of making treats and beverages taste wonderful. Continue reading to know some of the products that can add sweetness to your life without putting your health in peril.
Aside from actually being sweeter than refined sugar, honey also supplies your body with vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants that counter free radicals. Raw honey is also known to strengthen the immune system and promote a healthy digestion. It’s true that it packs more calories than regular sugar, but you’ll be using less of honey because it is sweeter. It’s recommended for you to opt for organically and locally produced raw honey.
Pure Maple Syrup
When shopping, always look for the word “pure”. This means that the product contains only the evaporated sap of the maple tree — no colorants, flavorings and corn syrup. Rich in zinc and manganese pure maple syrup may be used for cooking. You may also opt for maple sugar which is simply dehydrated pure maple syrup.
It’s similar to the brown sugar when it comes to the taste and appearance. However, the nicest thing about coconut sugar is it contains trace amounts of minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc and potassium. Coconut sugar is particularly good for diabetics because it contains inulin, a type of fiber that helps regulate glucose level in the blood. Opting for coconut sugar is highly recommendable especially if you love whipping up all sorts of sweet and tasty baked treats.
Thick and dark, it’s evidently not as pretty as refined sugar. The good thing about molasses, which is actually the by-product of sugar cane processing to produce refined sugar, is it contains iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, calcium and copper — none of which can be found in refined sugar. The downside to molasses is it contains high level of fructose.
Finally, there’s stevia — an herb originating from South America and is known to be 300 times sweeter than actual sugar. Rather than being marketed as “artificial sweetener”, stevia is actually known as a “dietary supplement”. Aside from buying the product in powdered form, you may actually grow the stevia plant in your garden. There is no processing needed — just pick a leaf, crush it, and add to coffees, teas and other beverages that could use some sweetening.