For decades, with its heavily sugar-dependent diet, the United States has seen an alarming increase in obesity, especially among children. There is no denying that the United States has a serious problem with sugar; however, the good news is there are ways to satisfy a sweet tooth without resorting to destructive ingredients. Here are some healthy alternatives to sugar you should try.
Scientifically known as Stevia rebaudiana, Stevia is completely natural, contains no calories, and has no known negative health effects. As an added bonus, this substitute can be even sweeter than sugar.
Stevia’s leaves are full of nutrients and phytochemicals, which has led some to believe it is linked to low blood pressure, blood sugar, and insulin levels. More research must be done to decide if Stevia brings sustained health benefits, but the current science says this sweetener is safe for consumption.
Although honey, like sugar, is high in calories, it contains more nutrients, such as antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. It is also easier to digest than sugar, with prebiotic oligosaccharides that help support stomach health.
Honey is an excellent way to receive vitamins E and C, but it still affects a person’s weight in much the same way sugar does. It is best used as an ingredient in smoothies, marinades, baked goods, sauces, and salad dressings.
Another healthy alternative to sugar you should try is xylitol. This sugar alcohol is extracted from corn or birch wood. It also appears in many fruits and vegetables. Xylitol is known to contain a fraction of the calories found in sugar.
The primary benefit to xylitol is it contains zero fructose, which is the component of sugar that causes high blood pressure and insulin levels. While more testing is necessary to determine xylitol’s full effects, when consumed in moderation, it is generally well-tolerated. Xylitol can even improve dental and bone health—just be sure to keep it away from dogs because it can be highly toxic.
Rich in fiber and vitamins and easy to make in your home, date paste is an excellent way to add some sweetness to your life without damaging your body. All it takes is water, vanilla extract, and pitted dates. When blended together, this combination creates a tasty addition to smoothies, baked goods, and sauces.