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6 Best Evidence-Based Natural Sugar Substitutes You Can Definitely Rely On

by SATHI 7 months ago in health
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Want to lose weight and also suffer from diabetes? These substitutes will be the magical answer for you!

6 Best Evidence-Based Natural Sugar Substitutes You Can Definitely Rely On
Photo by Kobby Mendez on Unsplash

Let’s face it guys, — quitting sugar isn’t that easy. And when it’s about our favorite desserts, we can’t stop ourselves, right? Yeah, that’s OK, but what about our health, can we compromise with it? Well, of course not. However, there’s one way, where you can satisfy your sweet tooth and still stay healthy at the end of the day.

It’s nothing but to replace your table sugar with some healthier alternatives. What’s more, these natural alternatives are easily available and cost-friendly. And will serve the same purpose — our cravings for sweets.

Sounds good? Let’s dig into it!

Why Eating Refined Sugar Is Bad For Our Health?

One of the worst foods that we consume daily is refined sugar. It isn’t only unhealthy but as much addictive as cocaine. No nutritional value, just empty calories.

By ELISA KERSCHBAUMER on Unsplash

One of the main ingredients most of the packaged food industries are thriving on. Soda, chocolate, pastries, ice cream, candies, flavored cereals — you name it, all are loaded with refined sugar. Long-term consumption of such foods comes up with a bunch of health problems. Like,

  • One of the major factors causing obesity.
  • Interfere with our metabolism and may lead to increase insulin and fat storage.
  • It hampers the effect of hunger and satiety regulating hormones. That results in high-calorie intake and weight gain.
  • High intakes of refined sugars have some role in poor oral health and some deadly diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
  • They are also addictive. Whenever we consume sugar-laden foods our brain starts to release dopamine. And we crave for it again and again.

Best Natural Sugar Substitutes We Can Go With

By Mae Mu on Unsplash

1. STEVIA

A natural sweetener extracted from leaves of the stevia plant. It gets recognition from the U.S. food and FDA. About 200 times sweeter than sugar. It contains zero calories and has antioxidant and anti-diabetic properties. Tastes slightly different than sugar and has zero glycemic indexes ( lower the glycemic index slower the rise of blood sugar level). It has been used in ayurvedic medicine for a long time.

The Journal of the Nutrition indicates stevioside, a compound found in stevia, link to reduce blood sugar, weight, and insulin levels.

The leaves of stevia are also power-packed with phytochemicals and nutrients. In a word, a healthy alternative for weight watchers and calorie-conscious persons.

2. MONK FRUIT SWEETENER

A natural sweetener extracted from monk fruit. It has been popular for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. Although, it was approved as a sweetener by FDA in 2010. This fruit contains natural sugars like fructose and glucose. Surprisingly, they aren’t responsible for its sweetness. It’s full of a unique antioxidant, Mogrosides — a source for its intense sweetness. It is zero in calories and about 100–250 times sweeter than regular sugar.

As it’s a low-calorie sweetener, it may lead to the reduction of our body weight. A study indicates replacing regular calorie sweeteners with a low-calorie one can reduce the weight of fewer than 2 pounds (0.9 kg).

Recent studies also state that it has minimal influence on daily calorie intake, insulin, and blood sugar level than any other sucrose-sweetened beverages.

3. YACON SYRUP

We can extract it from the roots of yacon plants. A sweet-tasting syrup with a thick consistency similar to molasses. It has been used for medical purposes in South America for hundreds of years. They’ve got a decent amount of Fructooligosaccharides(FOS) — a soluble dietary fiber. It is good for our gut health and plays a key role in weight loss. It contains only one-third calorie of the table sugar.

A study published in The Nutrients states fructooligosaccharides can reduce body weight, glycemic index, and the chances of colon cancer.

In a study, women taking yacon syrup for about 4 months lost their weight and also reduces insulin resistance — a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease. Although we have to keep in mind, this is just a small study. More studies are required to claim its effectiveness on weight loss.

By Hayley Maxwell on Unsplash

4. HONEY

This golden liquid has no fiber, fat, or proteins. One tablespoon(21 grams) of serving gives 64 calories and 17 grams of sugar — glucose, fructose, sucrose, and maltose. It’s low in vitamins and minerals but high in powerful antioxidants like flavonoids — drop down the chances of heart attack, diabetes, and cancer.

A study published in Science Direct in 2011 indicates replacing sucrose with honey can help you to reduce weight.

The role of honey in the case of diabetes is a bit controversial. It reduces the risk of heart disease for people having diabetes. As it lowers down the level of bad cholesterol and increases the level of good cholesterol.

On the contrary, some studies show it enhances the level of blood sugar — although not as much as regular sugar.

Honey has a lower glycemic index (58) than sugar (65), way better than refined sugar. But it is still sugar and not totally harmless. So consume in moderation.

5. MAPLE SYRUP

A thick sugary liquid collected from the sap of maple trees. It’s famous among North American people. What makes maple syrup different from table sugar is its low glycemic index — 54. It is loaded with minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, zinc and has more antioxidants than honey.

Maple syrup contains oligosaccharides — a type of complex carb. These oligosaccharides are effective against type-1 diabetes in mice.

The journal of Biomedical Reports indicates — it is beneficial for having anti-cancer properties — thanks to high numbers of antioxidants. Although, some further studies are also needed.

As maple syrup has a lower glycemic index than table sugar, it may not spike blood sugar as quickly. But it is still high in sugar, so satisfy your cravings in moderation.

6. COCONUT SUGAR

Last but not least — coconut sugar is power-packed with some essential nutrients and antioxidants. We extracted it from the sap of coconut palm.

It has a lower glycemic index — 54, thanks to inulin. A soluble fiber — slows down glucose absorption. It also increases fullness and improves our gut health.

However, it’s still high in calories and should be used sparingly.

Here I mentioned the top 6 natural substitutes of sugars. They are quite harmless and also have myriad health benefits. However, apart from them, some others like xylitol, erythritol, date sugar, molasses also come with few health benefits. If you want to read about them, just click on the names.

Take home message

There is no doubt, finding suitable sugar substitutes can easily cut down our calorie intake. Nevertheless, using these alternatives excessively can also cause some serious health issues.

Some sugar substitutes may increase our cravings more for sweet and sugary foods.

Few studies found no link between the alternative sugar substitutes and long-term health improvements regarding obesity, diabetes, or our regular calorie intake.

In the end, sugar alternatives are lower in calories than refined sugar and way more effective. But, they’re not the magical answer for our health. We’ve to keep in mind the keyword here, SUBSTITUTE meaning, we can use it instead of sugar — but in MODERATION.

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About the author

SATHI

A writer on Medium.MSc. in Biological Science. Write about Science, Wellness, Travel, Food & Health. Bookworm. Love to travel. Trying to learn German but ist Nicht gut.

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