Best and Healthiest Sugar Substitutes to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
Let’s face it, we love sugar. Not only because it tastes good, but because it boosts our dopamine levels and makes us feel good. Unfortunately, the most common sugars (i.e., refined and processed) cause weight gain, hormone imbalance, mood and sleep disorders, and tooth decay. To avoid these adverse affects, many are looking to sugar substitutes as healthier ways to satisfy their sweet tooth.
However, not all sugar substitutes are created equal. Some are still refined sugar in disguise, raising blood sugar levels and leading to health complications. Not to mention causing intense sugar cravings and subsequent over consumption. Most American adults consume a whopping 77 grams of sugar per day, which is more than 3 times the recommended amount for women.
Luckily, you don’t have to fight your cravings. You can enjoy sugar and reap the benefits of increased energy, managed weight, and balanced moods–you just need to pick the right sugar!
Here’s our list of four healthy sugar substitutes that are easy to find, natural, and good for you:
If there was an award for the healthiest sweetener, Stevia would get it. Made from the leaves of a South American shrub, stevia has no known adverse health effects for humans, has zero effect on weight gain, and is beneficial for diabetes management.
What’s more, for those of us with a serious sweet tooth, stevia is 200 times sweeter than refined sugar (hurray!) Stevia is also not only the sweetest of the sugar substitutes, but studies show that it can lower high blood pressure. Talk about a life-changing sugar alternative!
You can buy stevia in powder or liquid form online or at any health food store.
Xylitol is another all-natural sugar alternative that’s in the running for the healthiest sweetener award. The name, “Xylitol”, makes this sugar substitute sound like it was chemically designed in a lab, but it’s made from birch and poplar trees. Xylitol looks and tastes like white processed sugar, but it has 40% fewer calories than the refined stuff and doesn’t spike glucose or insulin levels. Xylitol is also touted as being good for your teeth!
The takeaway? Xylitol will satisfy your sweet tooth and leave your health intact. A word of warning though, too much Xylitol may cause bloating or diarrhea, so start small to see how your body reacts.
You can buy Xylitol in powder form online or at most health food stores.
Never underestimate the sweetening power of dried fruit! Dates are top of our list of natural sweeteners because they’re delicious, healthy, and versatile. Unlike processed sugar that leaches our bodies of nutrients, dates provide us with vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, fiber, and vitamins C and D. Dates are also low glycemic and have no adverse effect for individuals with diabetes.
You can buy dates from most grocery stores, pitted or un-pitted. Use them as an additive in smoothies, eat them on their own to satisfy an urgent sweet tooth, or use them as sugar substitute in baking. To use dates to replace sugar in baking, puree 1 cup of pitted dates with ¼ to ½ cup of hot water. You may have to experiment to find the consistency that works for you.
Monk Fruit Sweetener
This sweetener deserves to be on every best natural sweeteners list. Monk fruit is a small gourd with juice that’s 150 to 200 times sweeter than refined sugar – yum! Monk fruit has zero calories and is safe for diabetics to consume because it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels.
You can buy monk fruit sweeteners online or in health food stores and use them as a sugar substitute in baking or to add to any recipe. Like with the other sugar substitutes, you may need to experiment to find how much works for you.
What’s your favourite healthy sweetener? Have you tried any of the above? Let us know in the comment section below. Other than dates, these sugar alternatives could be used with our detox tea. Substitute them 1-1 for processed sugar to add a touch of healthy sweetness to our already delicious blend. Maintain your health, one sugar substitute and one steep at a time.