5 Alternatives To Sugar

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Where would we be without sugar? The world would certainly be less sweet without our favorite naturally-occurring substance. For many of us, the idea of foregoing a little sugar in our tea or coffee, or on our breakfast cereal, is unthinkable. It gives us a pick-me-up, and it makes the challenges we face in our daily lives a little more bearable. It’s just a shame that it’s so bad for us. As all of us know, sugar basically destroys our teeth. It causes tooth decay, and tooth decay leads to cavities. That, in turn, leads to expensive dental procedures – and that’s an expense that we could all live without!

Are you looking for sugar options?

In truth, tooth decay is only one of several health problems and complications that can be caused by sugar. Some of them, like Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol, lead to consequences that are far worse than having to go and see a dentist. It’s just a shame that we’re so obsessed with it as a substance. Sugar holds such strong appeal that it’s been used to market online slots games. That sounds too ridiculous to be true, but if you logged into an online slots website right now, you’d probably find “Sugar Train” and “Fluffy Too” among the options presented to you. There’s even a festive version of that online slots game called “Sugar Train Xmas,” which reminds us that we’re even more likely to over-indulge with sugar over the Christmas period!

A sweet tooth can be hard to shake off, but the good news is that you don’t need sugar to indulge your sweet tooth. There are a few all-natural sugar alternatives you might wish to consider introducing to your diet, and here are some of the easiest to lay your hands on.

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Xylitol is a substance that’s pretty close to sugar but isn’t actually sugar. It’s known as ‘sugar alcohol,’ and its chief benefit over regular sugar is that there’s no known connection between Xylitol and tooth decay. It doesn’t cause sudden spikes in your blood sugar level either, which makes it an excellent choice for anybody who’s battling diabetes. As a cherry on top of the cake, it also contains fewer calories than most sugar forms. You’re most likely to find Xylitol in your chewing gum, but that’s not the only way you can consume it. Look far enough, and you should be able to find Xylitol in granular form. That means you can sprinkle it over the top of your breakfast cereal or use it as a dessert topping just as easily as you’d be able to use sugar from a bag.

Date Paste

Many fruits contain sugar, but dates aren’t among them. Dates don’t need to contain any sugar because they’re already sweet enough without it! Date paste is frequently sweeter than sugar, so you’re fine to use less of it than you would with sugar when you’re putting together recipes. Aside from being far better for your teeth and your health than sugar, dates come packed full of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function correctly, along with a good dose of fiber. You might not be able to find date paste in many shops, but you can make it at home by blending warm dates with vanilla and water. Just remember to take the pips out first – you don’t want to get them caught between your teeth!

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Coconut Sugar

It might sound crazy on the surface to suggest switching one form of sugar for another, but if you really want something that looks, feels, and tastes like the kind of sugar you’re used to, coconut sugar is your best option. The difference between this kind of sugar and the type that you probably have in your cupboard at home is that coconut sugar is unrefined, and therefore still contains all of the vitamins and minerals that occur naturally within it. Your blood sugar levels won’t fluctuate after consuming coconut sugar in the same way that they would when you consume regular sugar. It’s a coarse substance, so you might want to dispense it through a pepper grinder. Be aware that it still contains a lot of carbohydrates and fructose, though, so while it may be better for you than everyday sugar, it still comes with significant downsides.

Agave nectar

The biggest downside of agave nectar is that it’s a liquid, and therefore it won’t work out as a sugar replacement when you’re baking unless you’re very adaptive when it comes to putting recipes together. Stirred into tea or coffee, though, it works fine. Agave nectar tastes a lot like honey and provides your body with more nutrients than sugar can. As we’ve seen with the other candidates we’ve put forward, though, there are still downsides. The calorie count of agave nectar is high, and it comes packed full of fructose, too. It’ll look after your teeth a lot better than sugar will, but if you’re trying to control your weight or you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s probably advisable to give it a wide berth.

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Monk Fruit Extract

If you’re looking for a sugar replacement that comes with zero downsides, monk fruit extract is the one for you. It tastes sweet – far sweeter than any natural sugar, in fact – but it doesn’t contain any sugar at all. It doesn’t contain any calories, either. As far as the FDA is concerned, there are no negative side effects that come from consuming monk fruit extract at all. The only thing you have to be conscious of when you’re using it is how much you include with your recipes. Monk fruit extract is generally more than two hundred times sweeter than sugar. You’re definitely going to notice that in your coffee if you use too much! Getting your hands on it isn’t always easy either. While branded versions of monk fruit extract products exist, they tend to have been processed, and so some of the health benefits might have been lost.

The safest and healthiest alternative to consuming sugar is not to consume any excess sugar at all. We like to think that we’re realistic on this website, though, and so we know that not everybody can or wants to follow that guideline. For those people, we hope that this article has given them a few ideas about things they could try instead and potentially cut down on some of the harmful effects of sugar in the process. Thanks for stopping by and reading it!

Andrew Ellis

InnoVision Health Media reports on health content that is supported by our editorial advisory board and content published in our group of peer reviewed medical journals.

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