5 sugar alternatives and how healthy are they?
Sugar damages your teeth and your figure. A piece of chocolate here, a piece of cake there: the average Swiss often consumes too much sugar. That can have serious health consequences. But does that mean that you have to forego sweetness in your dishes? Diet-conscious people, therefore, like to use sugar alternatives such as stevia or maple syrup.
Sugar alternatives could be the solution. You can easily find them on the shelves in supermarkets or on the internet. These products often have a high price but are significantly healthier than normal household sugar. Which sweeteners are there? And are they really a useful substitute? Let’s take a closer look.
Steviol glycoside is a calorie-free sweetener that is taken out of the stevia plant. The stevia plant belongs to the chrysanthemum family and originates from the northeast of Paraguay. Hundreds of years back, the native inhabitants of Paraguay and Brazil realized the powerful sweetening power of this plant and since then have used the leaves to sweeten their own food and beverage. Stevia is also known as a honey capsule in these states because of its irresistible sweetness. Today, stevia has been cultivated in huge parts of the world and has been approved as a calorie-free sugar substitute from several countries.
Stevia is up to 300 times sweeter than conventional sugar and is obtained from the stevia plant. In addition, it is considered healthy because it does not contain any calories.
What could be more beneficial when choosing the best natural sweeteners than a product derived from the bees? Why? Because honey contains neither fat nor cholesterol and have anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effects on the body. In addition, it is a natural product devoid of any calories or other substances that could lead to weight gain.
Furthermore, as a sweetener, it has a plethora of health benefits that have been proven through centuries of use. Raw honey contains high concentrations of antioxidants and other healthy compounds that can help you lose weight faster.
Just a teaspoon of this sweet nectar, for example, can easily spice up dishes.
Maple syrup comes from Canada, the country with the maple leaf on the flag. Not only can it be a delicious sugar alternative, but when enjoyed in balance, it can really have some incredible health benefits. Furthermore, it contains calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and manganese, together with at least 24 antioxidants. Maple syrup provides your body with the energy it needs during the digestion process and is absolutely low in calories and high in nutritional value.
Similar to honey, the syrup is said to have anti-inflammatory properties but is no less damaging to teeth than sugar. However, when you consume maple syrup, your blood sugar rises slowly. Also, due to the high water content, the syrup has fewer calories. Keep in mind when buying maple syrup: the lighter the color, the better. Use it for salad dressings, desserts, or classically for pancakes.
Coconut sugar comes from the nectar of the flower buds of coconut palms. It belongs to the group of palm sugar. Asian small farmers produce the sweetener painstakingly by hand: They cut the flower buds until the coconut nectar comes out. This is collected and then boiled down.
A simple swap for any sweet recipe would be coconut sugar. You still need to consume it in moderation, but coconut sugar carries far more nutrients than refined white sugar. In addition, it keeps nutrients like the minerals iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium, together with some short-chain fatty acids like polyphenols and antioxidants. That why this sweetener is a great sugar alternative!
This sweetener tastes like caramel and is only suitable for baking to a limited extent – as it does not dissolve as well as conventional sugar.
In addition to the conventional sugar alternatives, xylitol is being used more and more frequently. It belongs to the sugar alcohols.
In terms of taste, xylitol can score because it is similar to normal table sugar and is also lower in calories. In addition, it doesn’t promote tooth decay. Like all sugar alcohols, xylitol has a flatulent and laxative effect in large quantities. Therefore, observe the indicated dosages.