5 Healthy Sugar Substitues- Are They Really Worth Trying

Enjoyed a sugar rush during Diwali? Or had a sudden urge to reach out for a candy bar? Emptied a whole tub of ice cream to chase away blues? Had an extra cup of tea to stay awake? Whether you like eating desserts, popsicles or baked goodies at home or eat a lot of processed food, refined sugar is lurking everywhere. Even found added in unexpected market bought foods like peanut butter, sauces, pickles and jams, we all love these tiny white crystals.

Increased consumption of refined sugar may be cause of several health ailments. Being highly processed, sugar also has a lot of chemicals that help remove impurities. Sugar metabolizes quickly and makes us put on extra calories and leaves us with a sugar rush that feels like a temporary energy surge.

One can also try sweetening foods like desserts, pies, salads and more with natural alternatives like bananas, apples, berries and more. 

Since it's not possible to completely stop using sugar, let's look at 5 healthy sugar substitutes:

Coconut Sugar

Extracted from sap of coconut plant, coconut sugar is low on the glycemic index and a rich source of minerals and vitamins. It may take a while to get used to the taste as it is very different. But, coconut sugar can be easily included in daily cooking. Though not a calorie free option, coconut sugar is not processed like normal sugar. Hence it does not have any added chemicals or preservatives. Moreover, due to the earthy taste, it's a great sugar alternative for baking.


Stevia 

Stevia, a plant native to South America has leaves that are about thirty times sweeter than sugar. With zero calories, Stevia is a great alternative to refined sugar. One needs lesser quantities but be careful to buy it in pure form. Crushed green leaves of the plant or green powder is better than processed Stevia. It is one of the best sugar alternatives for tea & coffee. But, do remember that it has shorter shelf life compared to other sugars. Do check with your doctor if Stevia is one of the best sugar substitute for diabetics.



Khandsari Sugar (Desi Khaand)

Khandsari Sugar or Desi Khaand is unrefined sugar that is not bleached of its properties by addition of chemicals. A raw form of sugar, Desi Khaand is more nutritious with presence of trace minerals.  For better results, while buying look for the variety that is made from organically grown sugar canes. Moreover, the sugar should have almost powder like tiny brown crystals.  
 
Image source - himjoli


Gur Shakkar

Gur Shakkar is made from juice of sugarcane that is boiled until solidified. Also known as Ayurvedic sugar, its is one of the best examples of natural sugars. There are many health benefits of including gur shakkar in our diets. Regular consumption of gur shakkar helps alleviate digestive issues, helps with the detoxification of the liver and reduces digestive issues. Gur is rich in minerals such as magnesium, zinc, iron and unlike refined sugar does not contain empty calories. Can be added to beverages & for daily cooking.

Image Source - himjoli


Demerara Sugar

Demerara Sugar is large-grained raw sugar with origins in Guyana. Now widely produced in Mexico, India and Hawaii it is different from brown sugar. Partially refined, Demerara Sugar imparts a caramel flavour when added to foods. Though Demerara Sugar has equal number of calories to white sugar, it is not excessively treated by chemicals and made by the first pressing of sugarcane juice.

Image Source - Elenadan - Creative Commons

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