Foods like honey and coconut sugar, and natural sweeteners like Stevia and Xylitol are some of the natural alternatives to replace white sugar to help with weight loss and improve health, favoring the prevention and control of diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity.
It is important to avoid the use of sugar because its excess favors weight gain and stimulates the production of fat, which increases the risk of problems such as dental cavities, heart disease and liver fat, for example. Here are 10 natural alternatives to change sugar and be healthier without losing the sweet taste of food.
Bee honey is a natural sweetener and rich in nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium, bringing benefits such as strengthening the immune system, acting with anti-oxidants, improving digestion and maintaining healthy intestinal flora.
In addition, honey has a medium glycemic index, which means that small amounts of this product do not stimulate the production of fat as happens with sugar. Each spoonful of honey has about 46 calories, it is important to remember that it cannot be given to children under 1 year. See more about the benefits and contraindications of honey .
Stevia is a natural sweetener obtained from the Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni plant, which can be found in supermarkets and health food stores in the form of powder or drops. It has the ability to sweeten about 300 times more than ordinary sugar, while also having the advantage of not having calories.
Stevia can be used in hot or cold preparations, as it is stable at high temperatures, being easy to use in cakes, cookies or sweets that need to be boiled or baked. See the 5 most common questions about Stevia sweetener .
3. Coconut sugar
Coconut sugar has a low glycemic index, which means that it does not cause a large increase in blood glucose and does not stimulate fat production, helping with weight control.
In addition, coconut sugar is rich in nutrients such as iron, calcium, zinc and potassium, but because it has a high fructose content, it should be used in moderation, as its excess can cause problems such as liver fat and weight gain. Each teaspoon of this sugar has about 20 calories.
Xylitol is a type of alcohol sugar, as are erythritol, maltitol and sorbitol, all of which are natural substances obtained from fruits, vegetables, mushrooms or seaweed. Because they have a low glycemic index, they are a healthier natural option and have a sweetening ability much like sugar.
Another advantage is that xylitol does not harm teeth and has fewer calories than sugar, having about 8 calories for each teaspoon of the product. As its power to sweeten is similar to that of sugar, it can be used in the same proportions as a substitute in various culinary preparations.
5. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup, also called maple or maple syrup, is produced from a tree widely found in Canada, and has health benefits due to its high content of antioxidants and nutrients such as calcium, potassium and zinc.
Maple syrup can be used in preparations that will be heated, but because it contains calories as well as sugar, it should also be consumed in small amounts.
6. Try it
Thaumatin is a natural sweetener composed of two proteins and has the power to sweeten about 2000 to 3000 times more than ordinary sugar. As it is composed of proteins, it does not have the ability to increase blood glucose and does not stimulate the production of fat, and it can be used in weight loss diets and for controlling diabetes, for example.
Thaumatin has the same calories as sugar, but as its sweetening power is much greater than that of sugar, its use is made in very small amounts, which adds few calories to the diet.
7. Sugar-free fruit jelly
Adding sugar-free fruit jellies, also called 100% fruit, is another natural way to sweeten foods and preparations such as yogurts, vitamins and pastas for cakes, pies and cookies.
In this case, the natural sugar of the fruit is concentrated in the form of jelly, which increases its sweetening power, in addition to giving flavor to the preparations according to the flavor of the jelly. To be sure that the jelly is 100% fruit, just check the list of ingredients on the product label, which should contain only the fruit, with no added sugar.
8. Brown sugar
Brown sugar is made from sugar cane, but it does not undergo a refinement process like white sugar, which means that its nutrients are conserved in the final product. Thus, it contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.
However, it is important to remember that despite having more nutrients, brown sugar has practically the same calories as white sugar, and should not be consumed frequently or used in cases of diabetes.
9. Cane molasses
The molasses is a syrup produced from the evaporation of the sugarcane juice or during the production of rapadura, having dark and a strong sweetening power. Because it is not refined, it is rich in the same minerals as brown sugar, with calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.
However, it should also be consumed only in small amounts due to its high calorie content, and should be avoided in cases of diabetes and kidney disease. See more about molasses and learn about the sweetening power and calories of natural sweeteners .
Erythritol is a natural sweetener that has the same origin as xylitol, but contains only 0.2 calories per gram, being almost a sweetener with no caloric value. It has about 70% of the sugar-sweetening capacity, and can be used by people with diabetes or who want to lose weight.
In addition, erythritol does not cause cavities and can be found in health food stores or nutritional supplements, being sold in powder form.