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There are alternatives to white sugar. Date sugar, maple syrup, and other sweeteners retain some nutrients required by the body to metabolize sugars - there is no doubt, natural sweeteners are better than processed ones.
Every now and then you get a craving for something sweet. The American diet is typically composed of highly processed foods that are sweetened with white sugar or corn syrup. These highly refined sugars do not contain any fiber, vitamins, or minerals, making them unhealthy choices. The good news is, there are alternatives. Date sugar, maple syrup, and other sweeteners retain some nutrients that are required by the body to metabolize sugars. These are absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream making them less likely to cause fluctuations in blood sugar, too. This does not mean that wholesome sweeteners do not affect blood sugar. Even the best can alter blood sugar stability and compromise the immune system. It is quantity that matters so the good news is that the less refined the sweetener is, the more likely you will be satisfied with smaller amounts. There is no doubt, unrefined, natural sweeteners are better than processed ones. This guide is an introduction to various natural sweeteners that are available for personal use.


Replace White Sugar

Did you know that the local grocery store is hiding some of the best natural sugar substitutes on the shelves? They are not easy for you to find, but they are out there. Going to a health food store or shopping online are ways to find these sugar replacements, as well. If your recipes call for white sugar, there are many alternatives. These not only are delicious, but they add fiber and texture to your foods.


Agave Syrup

This is an interesting sweetener that is a bit like corn syrup. It is extracted from the agave cactus plant and is marketed as being more suitable for diabetics. Several companies were fined for adulterating their agave syrup with corn syrup because they taste so similarly. This sweetener has high fructose levels, making it good for diabetics. It has been found to not elevate the blood sugar as bad as the refined sugars do. It is recommended that you do not eat this on an empty stomach, however, because it loses it’s low blood sugar effect.

Applesauce

Diabetics have used applesauce for years in cookies, cakes, breads, and other baked goods. This replaces white sugar and is a healthy alternative. Not only does it have vitamins and fiber, it has a low sugar content that stabilizes blood sugar.

Apple Juice

This has been used similarly to applesauce for many years. People put apple juice in sauces, cakes, baked goods, and other items where they want a sweet taste but not a strong apple taste. When using apple juice, remember that it is a liquid sweetener, so you may have to adjust the amounts of water or other liquid the recipe calls for.

Bananas

If you mash bananas up, they can sweeten anything. Many add them to hot or cold cereals, put them in breads, or add them to peanut butter sandwiches.

Barley Malt Syrup

This sweet alternative comes from the sprouted barley that is roasted and cooked down to a syrup. Not surprisingly, it has a malt-like flavor and is good for baking with barbecue, squash, and making sweet-and-sour sauces. You can mix some into milk for a ‘malted’ flavor. You can Barley Malt Syrup cup for cup to replace white sugar. The distinct flavor blends well with breads and other baked goods, hot cereals, and more.

Brown Rice Sugar

This sweetener is made with brown rice and a culture that is cooked into a syrup. It is only half as sweet as white sugar and has a mild flavor that is much like butterscotch. Many find that it is good for baking and making drinks or marinades. Read labels to avoid products that contain corn syrup.

Cane Sugar

This sweetener is made from the sugar cane. The process involves the cane being crushed mechanically to extract juice. There are several unrefined or unbleached forms available and they are excellent in any recipe.

Coconut Palm Sugar

This is a sweet alternative to refined processed sugars. Depending on how it is made, it can have a robust, caramel flavor. Many say that it is actually lower on the glycemic scale, making it good for diabetics.

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