My Top 5 Sugar Substitutes

We know that going completely free can seem incredibly daunting and really, how fun is it to live a “Sweet free life” anyway? But sugar has been proven over and over again to be one of the biggest health sabotages of all times so I think we can all agree that if you want to be healthy and disease free then eliminating processed sugar is one of the best ways to start.

So to help you out here are our Top 5 Sugar Alternatives:

DATES:

Dates are one of my favorite sweet snacks because you can chop them up and mix them with nuts, stuff them with almond butter or raw cheese for a sweet and savory snack, or blend them up with cashews, water, and a pinch of Himalayan Sea salt for a delicious coffee Creamer.  They also have that wonderful sticky consistency which makes them a perfect binder for raw treats and desserts. Besides their delicious taste, dates are full of fiber, potassium, and iron among other minerals they are rich in. They help with bowel regularity, intestinal health, anemia, and muscle growth. They are high in calories so I wouldn’t promote eating them by the handfuls (which I can sometimes be at fault for doing.)  But using this as a sugar substitute is a win.

Tip: Medjool Dates are the only way to go as they are the juicy, jewels of the date family.

 

COCONUT SUGAR:

Coconut sugar comes from the sap of the coconut palm’s flower buds and has a deep flavor that I think enhances the flavor of the food that I have it in. I could happily never have processed sugar again if I could just use this in everything but don’t forget that even though it is a better option, you are still continuing to feed the beast that our sweet tooth is. So use in moderation! Coconut sugar has a lower Glycemic Index rating which means that it does not cause our blood sugar to spike as high as normal sugar would. It also has been found to contain amino acids, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and B vitamins.

Tip: I particularly love using it in my turmeric, matcha, and chai lattes *We will be doing a blog post about coffee alternatives. It's also amazing for making a healthy Hot chocolate. Or you can simply use it to sweeten your coffee too!

 

FRUIT:

Fruit is Nature’s Candy and filled with fiber, vitamins, anti oxidants, minerals, and is my favorite thing to use when I get a sweet craving. I always keep frozen bananas, blueberries, and strawberries on hand to make smoothies and smoothie bowls as a substitute for ice cream and ice pops.

Tip: The key to a creamy, ice cream like texture is freezing your bananas when they have lots of spots and don’t freeze them with the skin on!

 

RAW ORGANIC HONEY:

They key here is, “RAW and ORGANIC” Honey. Standard, commercial honey that you find in your local grocery store is just as bad for you as sugar and has none of the health benefits that the marketing would have you believe. You get what you pay for and honey is no exception. Raw, organic, and local honey has amazing health benefits such as being an anti oxidant, anti inflammatory, and an anti allergenic. It’s a fantastic substitute for sugar in most recipes but remember that it does have a similar effect on your Glycemic index so it will spike your blood sugar in almost the same way sugar does. Honey has a long history of being used as an external salve for would due to it’s anti microbial properties as well being a common cure for the cough and sore throat.

Tip: The darker the honey the higher the concentration of anti oxidants and health benefits.

 

STEVIA:

Stevia is actually an herb that has been used for thousands of years in Japan and South America as a herbal remedy and natural sweetener. Because Stevia is an herb it does not spike your blood sugar at all and in its natural form (a dried leaf, ground up) is 40-90 times sweeter than sugar.  However the Stevia products that are everywhere now being advertised as a health food barely look anything like the actual Stevia plant which has huge health benefits. Truvia and those other Stevia packets you buy in the stores or are included in the sugar basket at your local coffee shop contain as little as 1% of actual Stevia leaving the rest to be filled with Erythritol (a GMO byproduct of corn) and a part of the Stevia plant that is no longer beneficial once it is isolated and chemically processed beyond any recognition of its natural state.

So Stevia is probably the best substitute if you are trying to break a sugar addiction. But the important thing to remember is that Stevia products are not created equal. You want to buy Green Stevia Powder and stay away from the highly processed versions.

Tip: Because Stevia is so much sweeter than sugar you must add it slowly and in very small quantities otherwise you will ruin whatever you put it in because it will be so sweet it will be unpalatable.

Author
Dr Aaron Rose Chiropractic Doctor at Rose Family Chiropractic and Founder of Prosperous Health with a degree in Nutrition and Exercise Science.

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