Coconut Sugar Natural Sweeteners
Coconut sugar is made of the extracted sap from flower blossoms or buds of the coconut palm tree. Which is also known as coconut palm sugar, coco sap sugar, or coconut crystals.
Coconut sugar has nutrients such as iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, and antioxidants. It also has a low glycemic index, this means it wont spike your blood sugar and stay stable after consuming it. This may be because of the inulin content, which is a soluble fiber.
Is Sucralose As Bad For You As Aspartame
One 2013 study, however, found that sucralose may alter glucose and insulin levels and may not be a biologically inert compound. Sucralose is almost certainly safer than aspartame, says Michael F. Jacobson, executive director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
What Is The Healthiest Sugar Substitute
Saying goodbye to refined sugar may not be an easy thing, but considering its harmful effects, it is worthwhile. However, many sugar alternatives are branded as natural and healthy to use when they are not. So finding a suitable substitute can be quite the task.
So here are the facts to help answer what is the healthiest sugar alternative?
Read Also: Why Would Blood Sugar Be Low
How Can I Reduce My Sugar Intake
Watch my video on how I quit sugar, and youll see that you, too, can reduce your sugar intake. Some of the ways I discuss in the video and in my post are listed below. Honestly, it is not an impossible feat Im proof and you can succeed, too!
- Go through your pantry and remove items with hidden sugars, like ketchup and barbecue sauce
- Dont fall for artificial sweeteners they are bad for you and make foods taste super sweet, leading to sugar dependency
- Read the labels on what you buy leave items with organic cane syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and dextrose on the shelf
- Identify the culprits that lead to your sugar dependency like sodas, chocolate, and sweeteners in coffee
- Start slow and do your best every day
Stevia Vs Splenda: Which Sugar Substitute Is Healthier
Good news for those who are committed to reducing their sugar intake but cant stomach the taste of unsweetened coffee: Sugar isnt the only way to satisfy a sweet tooth. The only bad news is that the sugar substitute scene is a tad complicated. Take stevia vs. Splenda, for examplewhats the difference? And is one better for you than the other? Read on for the full scoop on these alternative sweeteners, including how to use them and which one is healthier.
Also Check: Does Sugar Cause Heart Disease
Saccharin The Oldest Artificial Sweetener
Saccharin, the sweetener sold in pink packets under the brand name Sweet ‘N Low, is calorie-free and is about 300 to 500 times sweeter than sugar, per the Sweet N Low website. It was the first artificial sweetener, with chemists discovering it as a derivative of coal tar by mistake in 1879, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
If youve been using artificial sweeteners since the 1970s, you may remember a previous warning label that warned of saccharin increasing the risk for cancer. But rest assured it’s safe. The research that prompted the label was done on animals, and further studies by the National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health concluded that saccharin shouldnt be on the list of potential carcinogens. Saccharin is currently FDA-approved.
A 132-lb individual would need to consume 45 tabletop packets of the artificial sweetener per day to reach the ADI of 15 mg of saccharin per kg of body weight per day, according to the FDA.
To Assist In Weight Loss
Some people choose to limit their food energy intake by replacing high energy sugar or corn syrup with other sweeteners having little or no food energy . This allows them to eat the same foods they normally would, while allowing them to lose weight and avoid other problems associated with excessive calorie intake.
Also Check: Can High Blood Sugar Cause Tiredness
Stevia A Natural Sweetener Option
Steviol glycosides are sweeteners derived from the leaf of the stevia plant, which is native to Central and South America. Truvia and Pure Via, both brands of stevia-based sweetener, are calorie-free, and stevia is often used as a sweetener in foods and beverages. According to the 2019 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes, published in January 2019 in Diabetes Care, nonnutritive sweeteners, including stevia, have little to no impact on blood sugar. The FDA has approved the use of certain stevia extracts, which it has generally recognized as safe .
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center notes that people have reported side effects, like gastrointestinal symptoms, after eating high amounts of stevia. But to date, there is no solid scientific research to prove these claims.
The FDA recommends an ADI of 4 mg or less of Truvia per kilogram of body weight per day. A 132-lb individual would need to consume nine tabletop packets of the artificial sweetener per day to reach that limit.
Healthy Sugar Alternatives: How To Choose The Right Sugar Replacement For You
It may be difficult to sort through all the sugar alternatives on the market to decide which one is right for you. Here are a couple of things to consider:
Understand the four categories of sugar alternatives. There are four common types of sugar substitutes: artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, novel sweeteners, and natural sweeteners. Each has potential benefits and negatives depending on your goals.
Think about why you want to cut down on sugar. If you have diabetes, for instance, artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols, like xylitol, may be a better choice when consumed in moderation. Natural sweeteners, like honey, can still raise blood sugar. Always consult with a doctor or dietitian if youre not sure of your best option.
Read Also: What Foods Will Not Raise Blood Sugar
Healthy Sugar Substitute In Baking
Our altered lifestyle demands to alter the way we have been eating food. It demands us to reduce the number of calories and sugar we are eating in our food. This calls for finding the substitute for sugar. Today we shall talk about 20 healthy sugar substitute in baking.
In baking, sugar does a lot more than just adding sweetness to baked goodies. Sugar is the food for yeast and I have written more on this in taming the yeast. Sugar is also used in caramelization which is a type of non-enzymatic browning reaction.
The Less Worse Sugar Substitutes
#5 Brown Sugar
Brown sugar is white sugar with some molasses remaining in it or added back after processing. Yep, its that simple!
And the difference between light and dark brown sugar? The amount of molasses in them. Molasses is also what makes brown sugar soft and moist. Turbinado sugar and evaporated cane juice are essentially less processed versions of brown sugar.
Pros: Because of the molasses, brown sugar offers more nutrients than white, like small amounts of calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
Cons: The nutrients brown sugar contains arent enough to write home about. One ounce contains 0.2 mg of iron, whereas the RDA of iron for the average person is at least 8 mg per day. And it has almost all the negatives associated with white sugar.
#6 Barley Malt
Barley malt is an unrefined sweetener thats made from sprouted barley. It contains 65% maltose , 30% complex carbohydrates, and 3% protein.
Pros: Barley malt isnt as sweet as many other sweeteners. Because it has some complex carbohydrates and a bit of protein, it is milder in its impact.
Cons: Since its high in maltose, barley malt can contribute to rapid blood sugar spikes. Also, barley contains gluten. This makes barley malt inappropriate for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
#7 Maple Syrup
Best known as a pancake topper, maple syrup is a thick, dark sweetener made by boiling down maple tree sap. Im talking about pure maple syrup, not corn syrup imitations, like Log Cabin or Aunt Jemima.
Don’t Miss: Are Bananas Bad For Blood Sugar
Which Sugar Substitutes Should You Avoid
Aspartame tops our list of sugar substitutes to avoid, because it caused cancer in three independent studies using laboratory rats and mice. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer and government agencies around the world, a chemical that has been shown to cause cancer in animals should be assumed to pose a cancer risk to humans.
Based on those studies, the FDA should ban aspartame. We also recommend avoiding saccharin because of evidence from human and animal studies, albeit inconsistent, that it may increase the risk of cancer. Acesulfame-K also gets our avoid rating since two 1970s-era, industry-sponsored studies in rats suggested that it may cause cancer, and it lacks high-quality, modern-day safety studies.
Is A Spoonful Of Honey A Day Good For You
Keep in mind that honey should only be consumed in moderation, as it is still high in calories and sugar. The benefits of honey are most pronounced when it is replacing another, unhealthier sweetener. At the end of the day, honey is simply a less bad sweetener than sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
Don’t Miss: How Do Carbs Convert To Sugar
Natural Sweeteners That Are Good For Your Health
Reducing your intake of refined sugar can be tough, but given how incredibly harmful sugar can be, its definitely worth the effort (
Fortunately, quite a few sweeteners found in nature are actually healthy.
Theyre low in calories, low in fructose, and taste very sweet.
Here are 5 natural sweeteners that could be healthier alternatives to refined sugar.
Stevia is a very popular low calorie sweetener.
Its extracted from the leaves of a plant called Stevia rebaudiana.
This plant has been grown for its sweetness and medicinal purposes for centuries in South America.
Several sweet compounds are found in stevia leaves. The main ones are stevioside and rebaudioside A. Both are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, gram for gram.
Therefore, stevia is very sweet but has virtually no calories.
Additionally, a few human-based studies suggest stevia may have health benefits, including for the following health parameters:
- Blood pressure. Stevia may help lower high blood pressure in people with hypertension. However, it doesnt affect normal or only mildly elevated blood pressure levels (
- 4 ).
Many people greatly dislike the taste of stevia. The flavor depends on the brand, though, so you may need to experiment to find a type of stevia you like.
Stevia is a natural, zero-calorie sweetener that may help lower both your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Whats Bad About Stevia
Stevia sweeteners are broken down by bacteria in the large intestine, but gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating and diarrhea havent been reported in studies. However, some products containing stevia also include sugar alcohols like erythritol, which can cause digestive complaints if consumed in large amounts.
Don’t Miss: What Blood Sugar Level Is Too High
Types Of Sugar Substitutes
Here are the main types of sugar substitutes along with their pros and cons:
Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose , are used to sweeten drinks and other foods without adding calories. Theyre useful for those who may want to avoid added calories but who still want to enjoy sweet beverages and treats. Theres some evidence, however, that artificial sweeteners may have unintended effects on our bodys processes, including hormone production. Some artificial sweeteners may also cause digestive issues in specific individuals.
Artificial sweeteners typically have zero or very limited calories and also tend to be extremely sweet, much sweeter than sugar, so less is required to sweeten foods. Most artificial sweeteners are a poor choice for baking, however, despite being ultra sweet.
Sugar alcohols, such as xylitol and erythritol, have fewer calories than sugar and occur naturally in fruits and vegetables. Theyre often used to sweeten processed foods, and research shows that certain sugar alcohols actually improve dental health. The downside? Sugar alcohols may lead to gastrointestinal distress if consumed in large quantities.
Splenda Is Sweeter Than Stevia
You might think of pure table sugar as existing at the top of the sweetness chart, but thats not the case. Both Splenda and stevia are sweeter than sugar, and the former is the sweetest of all. Splenda is a whopping 700 times sweeter than sugar, while stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar. Still, its safe to say that, for all intents and purposes, both these products are plenty sweet.
Recommended Reading: What Juice Has The Least Sugar
How Can I Enjoy Natural Sugar At Home
Im not saying that you cannot have sugar at all, just not the bad-for-you refined sugars found in processed foods. Eat clean its as simple as that, and you will be on your way to a healthier you.
- Get your sweet fix from healthy fruits and vegetables that contain natural sugars
- Remember that whole foods contain fiber, something your body really needs
- Use my go-to sugars when you cook instead of refined sugars
- Replace sugar in your day to day pleasures, such as coffee and tea, with my go-to favorites, or even slowly wean yourself off sugar in these drinks
- Make sweet treats at home that you can enjoy without adding sugar, like yummy 1 Ingredient Banana Ice Cream
You can expect that you may have headaches and cravings, and you may not even feel that great. But soon, you will feel amazing. Then, sweet foods will not appeal to you like they once did.
What Makes Sugar So Addicting
Sugar, and its many derivatives, actually trigger the release of opioids and dopamine in the body – the neurotransmitters that trigger the reward circuit, andaddiction. Regardless of the trigger, the chemical reward we experience is the high that feeling of euphoria that were so naturally inclined to want more of. The addictive quality of sugar compared to prescription drugs has been the cause of much debate, however, the easily accessible sugar fix impacts our biochemistry in much the same ways. Like amphetamines and alcohol, too much added sugar can actually change the wiring in the brain and lead to withdrawal symptoms, cravings and binging.
So why does sugar cause so much harm? To start, refined sugars , sugar alcohols, and sugar substitutes were absent from the human diet for much of human history meaning we have not evolved to tolerate sugar in the amounts that many Americans are consuming them today. While there are many biological commonalities between sweetened diets and drugs of abuse, the addictive nature of sugar was largely unknown, which is why one study aimed to find out just how troublesome this substance may be
Recommended Reading: How To Fix Low Sugar Levels
The 4 Safest Sugar Substitutes And A Few To Avoid Completely
The best and safest sugar substitutes are erythritol, xylitol, stevia leaf extracts, and neotamewith some caveats:
- Erythritol: Large amounts of this sugar alcohol sometimes cause nausea, but smaller amounts are fine. Erythritol, small amounts of which occur naturally in some fruits, is about 60 to 70 percent as sweet as table sugar and has at most one-twentieth as many calories. Unlike the high-potency sweeteners, erythritol provides the bulk and mouthfeel of sugar.
- Xylitol: This sugar alcohol, which occurs naturally in birch and some other plants, is about as sweet as table sugar and has about three-quarters of the calories. Too much xylitol could produce a laxative effect and/or gastrointestinal distress.
- Stevia leaf extracts: Stevia leaves have long been consumed in Japan, and we rate the extracts made from those leaves as safe, although additional safety tests should be conducted. Thats because some short-term tests found that some stevia-related substances caused mutations and other changes in DNA, yet stevia has been tested for cancer in only one species instead of two species, as usually recommended.
- Neotame: We also rate this among the safest sugar substitutes, but taste problems limit its use.
What about sucralose?
We rate sucralose as caution. The same lab that found that aspartame caused cancer also announcedbut has not yet publishedits findings that sucralose caused leukemia in mice that were exposed to it from before birth.
What Is The Healthiest Sugar Substitute For Table Sugar
First it was splenda, then it was stevia, next came xylitol and erithritol, and now it’s allulose. But, one must ask, are these sugar alternatives even healthy?They barely check the box of natural, but that’s only because the criteria for what it means to be “natural” is so vague and misleading.Each new sweetener comes with the same inticing allure zero calories, no impact on blood glucose, and undigestible “good for you” fiber!Take the energy and proetin bar market as an example.Many manufacturers have formulate products around the idea that isomalto-oligosaccharide is a non-digestible carbohydrate that had zero impact on blood sugar.The truth?While true that IMOs are found in certain foods like chicroy root, tapioca, and inulin, the form in commercial production is typically IMO syrups which have a more deceptive impact than their whole food counterparts.This is because the sugars from the natural source are extracted and concentrated to magnify the sweetness component.As a result, IMO syrups have been show to spike blood glucose and can cause digestive distress, especially in those that suffer from small intestine bacterial overgrowth .In summary, the devil is ALWAYS in the details. Feeling a bit unwell after sipping a fizzy beverage or snacking on a protein bar?Check the label to see what type of sweeteners are being used and be especially wary of anything that sounds like a chemical and is difficult to pronounce.
Recommended Reading: How To Neutralize Sugar In The Body
What Is Better Stevia Or Splenda
Splenda is much sweeter than stevia
Stevia and Splenda sweeten foods and drinks to varying degrees. Stevia is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar and gets its sweetness from natural compounds in the stevia plant called steviol glycosides . Meanwhile, Splenda is 450650 times sweeter than sugar.