Sweeteners are added to a wide variety of beverages and snacks. Some of you might indulge in a few sweet snacks and drinks every once in a while, but most people tend to overindulge and end up harming their health. Sweeteners such as table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, saccharin, sucralose, aspartame, glycerol, etc., are highly refined or artificial. Consumption of such sugars can lead to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases. These sugars do not provide any health benefits and should be replaced with natural sugars which benefit your health apart from sweetening your foods.
1. Raw Honey (1 teaspoon 22 calories)
Raw honey is an all-natural sweetener that can be consumed as is. It can be processed, but consuming unprocessed honey can yield the benefits of many minerals and vitamins without harming your health. You can use 3/4th tablespoon of honey in place of 1 tablespoon of sugar.
2. Banana Puree (1 teaspoon 5 calories)
When banana is blended in a food processor or blender until smooth, banana puree is obtained. Water is added to it according to the desired consistency. This puree will be sweet and will be loaded with potassium, vitamins, and proteins. You can use ripe bananas instead of unripe ones in order to give your food more sweetness. You can use it the same way you use applesauce.
3. Cinnamon (1 teaspoon 6 calories)
Cinnamon is the sweet inner bark of the cinnamomum tree. It helps lower blood sugar levels, lowers the risk of heart diseases, boosts immunity, and reduces the risk of cancer.It is also very high in antioxidants. It can be used as sticks to flavor a wide variety of cooked dishes or can be powdered and be used in beverages (especially tea and coffee) in place of sugar.
4. Sucanat (1 teaspoon 15 calories)
Sucanat is similar to table sugar, but it has not gone through the various stages of refinement. It is a natural form of sugarcane that retains its molasses content. It is a healthier alternative to refined white sugar and even refined brown sugar. It can provide you with potassium, vitamin A, calcium, and magnesium. You can use it the way you use sugar, but remember to not consume it in excess.
5. Maple Syrup (1 teaspoon 17 calories)
Maple syrup is obtained from the sap of the maple tree and contains vitamins, sodium, zinc, iron, magnesium, manganese, calcium, antioxidants, and proteins. Its glycemic index is lower than that of table sugar, which means that it does not spike your blood sugar level as much as table sugar does when you consume it. It is a great substitute for table sugar, and you can use it while cooking food or you can drizzle it on your food.
6. Turbinado (1 teaspoon 20 calories)
When unprocessed sugarcane juice is converted into crystals, you get turbinado. It is slightly brown in color and is often referred to as raw sugar. It contains nutrients such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus and is a healthier substitute of sugar. It can be used in the same way as sugar is used.
7. Coconut Palm Sugar (1 teaspoon 15 calories)
Coconut palm sugar is made from the sap of the coconut palm and retains some of the nutrients of the coconut palm. It contains calcium, zinc, copper, iron, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin C, and magnesium. It contains less fructose than other sweeteners due to which it is a healthier option. You can use it the same way you use table sugar.
8. Rapadura (1 teaspoon 16 calories)
When all the water has been evaporated from sugarcane juice, rapadura is obtained. It contains all the vitamins and minerals contained in sugarcane juice. Radapura is very concentrated so you should use it half of what you would use when using sugar.
9. Organic Stevia (1 teaspoon 0 calories)
Stevia is a substitute of sugar that is derived from plants. You can buy the leaves, dry them, grind it into a powder, and use it. You can but stevia powder as well, but it can contain chemicals and will not be as healthy as grinding the leaves yourself. It is 30 times sweeter than sugar so you should use only a pinch in place of a tablespoon of sugar.
10. Date Sugar (1 teaspoon 10 calories)
Date sugar is derived from finely chopped dry dates. It is a sweetener that has not been processed like table sugar. It does not melt due but can impart an overall sweetness to baked goods. It contains the same nutrients as dates do, such as copper, potassium, zinc, magnesium, vitamins, calcium, iron and phosphorus. You can use it in place of brown sugar or white sugar but 3/4th the amount.
Even though there are some healthier substitutes to artificial or processed sweeteners, you should not consume these natural sugars in excess. Overconsumption of sweet foods can cause health problems, due to which you should consume healthy grains, fruits, and vegetables. Diabetic patients should consult with their doctors before consuming these natural sweeteners.