Natural Alternatives to Sugar

There is simply nothing good about sugar. It contains no protein, essential fats, vitamins or minerals. What's more, sugar is addictive. It causes dopamine to be released in the reward center of the brain, which is the same response activated by addictive drugs. This leads to cravings and can drive overeating. Sugar is incredibly unhealthy and should be avoided at all costs. Here are some natural alternatives:

 

  • Stevia is a natural sweetener that's extracted from the leaves of a South American shrub. Stevia is 100% natural, contains zero calories and has no known adverse health effects. It has been shown to lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

  • Xylitol is a sugar alcohol with a sweetness similar to sugar. It's extracted from corn or birch wood and found in many fruits and vegetables. Xylitol contains 40% less calories than sugar and is generally well tolerated by the body, but eating too much of it can cause digestive side effects like gas, bloating and diarrhea. Xylitol increases your body's absorption of calcium which can protect against osteoporosis.

  • Coconut sugar is extracted from the sap of the coconut palm and contains a few nutrients, including iron, zinc, calcium and potassium, as well as antioxidants. It also has a lower glycemic index than sugar but is still very high in calories, containing the same number of calories per serving as regular sugar. It is still high in fructose and should be consumed in moderation.

  • Honey is a thick, golden liquid produced by honey bees. It contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, as well as an abundance of beneficial antioxidants. It may offer some health benefits, but at the end of the day, it's still sugar and should not be consumed excessively.

  • Maple syrup is harvested sap of maple trees, which is then boiled down and filtered in sugar houses. It’s generally comprised of 70 percent sucrose, with a low fructose level, and has been found to contain antioxidants. It's slightly "less bad" than regular sugar.

  • Agave Nectar is made from the agave plant, this syrup has slightly more calories than table sugar but is about 25 percent sweeter, so you can get away with less of it. Agave nectar does good things for your gut. It contains a type of dietary fiber, known as a prebiotic, that nourishes intestinal bacteria.

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
— Winston Churchill...

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Winston Churchill