We all know that sugar isn’t good for us, but sometimes its unavoidable. Many recipes call for some sort of sugar or we just get a craving that we need to satisfy. There are plenty of sugar substitutes out there, but some of them are full of chemicals and just as bad for you as real sugar. This week is sugar awareness week, so let’s talk about what you can substitute for sugar to stay healthy, not just this week, but all year long!
Agave comes from a cactus and has a syrup like consistency. Most people think that it’s healthier than regular table sugar, but you need to be careful. Agave is high in fructose, which is high in calories, and it’s not something produced by the human body. So agave is an OK option in moderation.
Stevia is a natural, no calorie sweetener. It is an excellent alternative to other sweeteners. You can use it on a daily basis. Be picky about the brand you use, though. Make sure it’s not non-GMO.
One common sugar alcohol is xylitol. Sugar alcohols are not calorie free like most artificial sweeteners, but they don’t cause tooth decay. Xylitol has such a great taste even kids will love it! They won’t even know the difference.
Coconut is all the rage right now. People use it for everything. It can also be used as a sugar substitute. It’s easy for your body to digest, low glycemic index and it’s not full of a ton of toxic chemicals like other sugar alternatives.
Believe it or not this tiny dried fruit can act as the perfect sugar substitute. Dates contain sugar (they aren’t a form of sugar), but they’re also high in fiber so they’re a win-win.
As you probably noticed, not all sweeteners are equal. What sweeteners should you avoid?
High fructose corn syrup
It’s no secret that high fructose corn syrup is bad for you. It’s found in many prepacked products and it can lead to weight gain and obesity. Avoid all foods that contain high fructose corn syrup. Be careful: a lot of companies have tried to use different words for high fructose corn syrup to try and trick consumers. Look for words like glucose syrup or maize syrup and avoid products containing them.
Aspartame is advertised as a zero-calorie sweetener. Because of this, people use it–way too much of it. Even though it doesn’t contain any calories, studies have shown that it can cause weight gain and the chemicals in it can even cause cancer! Avoid this type of sweetener at all costs.