We all crave a sweet little something from time to time, but it can be hard not to feel guilty about the empty calories, blood sugar spikes and other adverse effects that come with processed sugar.
Thankfully, there are now many great natural alternatives to processed sugar with various health benefits. Here are a few alternatives to sugar to try.
1. Agave Nectar
Made from the agave plant (which also gives us tequila), this syrup with notes of caramel has slightly more calories than table sugar but is about 25 percent sweeter, so you can get away with less of it. Plus: Agave nectar does good things for your gut. It contains a type of dietary fiber, known as a prebiotic, that nourishes intestinal bacteria.
2. Maple Syrup
Pure maple syrup is high in manganese and zinc: 100 grams of syrup provides 22% and 3.7% of their RDVs respectively. Manganese is necessary for several enzymes that are needed for energy production and antioxidant defenses while zinc is essential for optimal immune system function. (For some variety, try our new blueberry and cranberry maple syrup flavours!)
Molasses is a thick syrup produced when the sugar cane plant is processed to make refined sugar. One serving (2 tablespoons) of molasses has about 30% of the daily iron requirement for premenopausal women, as well as 14% of our RDV of copper, whose peptides help rebuild the skin structure that supports healthy hair. It is also high in vitamin B6, magnesium, calcium, and antioxidants.
Coconut sugar contains traces of iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium, we well as antioxidants. It also contains a fiber called inulin, which may slow glucose absorption.
Sweet Stevia leaves have been consumed by humans for hundreds of years. While it is not a significant source of nutrition, the great thing about stevia is that it will not affect blood sugar levels at all, making it a great all-natural sugar alternative for diabetics. It is also calorie-free.
6. Raw Honey
Sweeter than sugar, get honey that’s been organically and locally produced to reap the full benefits. Packed with vitamins, honey also has antimicrobial properties. It does have more calories than normal sugar but because it’s sweeter you use less of it.