Sugar has become an inseparable part of the food we consume and you crave for it all the time owing to the delicious taste of the food made with it. Avoiding sugar from the diet altogether can cause you to experience low energy, fuzzy-headedness, nausea, fatigue, mental fog, headaches, cramps, and diarrhea which mimic the symptoms of the cold flu.
You will be happy to know that there are many healthy options that can serve as sugar substitutes. They can satisfy your sweet tooth and can be beneficial to health at the same time. These low-calorie foods are excellent alternatives for sugar and at the same time can satisfy your sweet tooth.1 2
Nutritious Foods To Curb Your Sweet Cravings
1. Fruits Have Larger Fiber Content
Refined sugar is a known culprit in the occurrence of many diseases. To reduce the intake of sugar in the diet, you can use fruits as a healthy alternative. Fruits are a low-calorie choice to be considered with many nutritional benefits. The fiber content of fruits helps prevent coronary heart disease and the occurrence of diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels.
Sugars in fresh fruit do not pose any harm to dental health, unlike refined sugar. The intake of fruits makes you feel full and the liver can easily metabolize small amounts of fructose in the fruits without the sugar overload. However, the intake of fruits that are high in sugar content like mango, jackfruit and the like is to be limited if you have blood sugar issues.3
2. Coconut Sugar Has A Low Glycemic Index
Coconut sugar is a delicious tasting sugar extracted from the sap of flower buds from the coconut tree. It is rich in minerals like iron, zinc, potassium and many others. It falls into the category of foods with low glycemic index and mostly is used in the preparation of bread and cakes.
It contains a fiber component called inulin that can slow down glucose absorption and prevents the sudden increase and decrease of glucose levels. It can also be effective in fighting inflammation and cholesterol unlike. However, limiting the usage for diabetic patients is recommended as it is very high in calories.4
3. Natural Sweeteners Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Substituting refined white sugar with less processed sugars such as maple syrup, honey, applesauce and agave nectar has many health benefits. They taste like sugar and hence are effective as healthy sugar substitutes in the preparation of pastries and desserts. They prevent dental decay, regulate blood sugar levels and can enhance the taste of the food they are added in. They are safer to use than most of the artificial sweeteners available in the market which pose health risks.
Honey can inhibit the growth of microorganisms, promote lower weight gain and has medicinal value.5 Artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain and even cancer. Natural sweeteners allow you to eat the same foods you love to eat while also avoiding sugar and allow you to lose weight. Stevia is a natural herbal sweetener with no calorie load and sweeter than refined sugar.6
4. Gluten-free Flour Is Loaded With Nutrients
Gluten proteins are responsible for the softness of your bread as they play a key role in determining the elasticity of the dough. Gluten is found in many grain based foods that are high in carbohydrate content. These foods can raise your blood sugar. On the contrary, gluten free flours like coconut flour, buckwheat flour, almond flour, banana flour, amaranth flour, tapioca flour and the like are loaded with nutrients and have a low glycemic index.
You do not have to miss your favorite bakery bread if you prepare sweetened bread with natural sweeteners like dates and low-calorie sweetening syrups like maple syrup. You can also eat fiber rich fruits like bananas to enhance the fiber content of the gluten free flours as they contain less fiber and can cause the carbohydrates to be more easily absorbed than desired.7
5. Sweet Potatoes Have Complex Carbohydrates
You can opt for sweet potatoes for an evening snack or for breakfast if you are craving sweet food. It has many health benefits and has a lower glycemic index than the regular potatoes. Sweet potato is high in beta carotene which is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight inflammation thus preventing diseases like cancer. It contains water soluble sugars that give it a sweet taste. It has higher levels of both carbohydrate and dietary fiber than regular potatoes.8
6. Dates And Raisins Control Sugar Absorption
Dried fruits such as dates and raisins are the best choices for a person with a sweet tooth. A handful of dates, raisins, and nuts taste delicious and contain a high nutritive value. Dates have the highest content of polyphenols among dried fruits. It can help fight the oxidative stress that can be caused by consuming artificially sweetened carbonated drinks.9 Raisins can control sugar absorption and can regulate blood sugar levels.10
|↑1||Rathke, Thomas, Darrell Gerdes, and James P. Hammond. “Naturally-Sweetened Reduced-Calorie Base Syrup Compositions and Compositions Sweetened Therewith.” U.S. Patent Application 13/332,325, filed December 20, 2011.|
|↑2||Partl, Jeremy. “Low Carb and the Ketogenic Diet: What’s The Difference?.”|
|↑3||Mitchell, Helen, ed. Sweeteners and sugar alternatives in food technology. John Wiley & Sons, 2008.|
|↑4||Srikaeo, K., and R. Thongta. “Effects of sugarcane, palm sugar, coconut sugar and sorbitol on starch digestibility and physicochemical properties of wheat based foods.” Int Food Res J 22, no. 3 (2015): 923-929.|
|↑5||Wahdan, H. A. L. “Causes of the antimicrobial activity of honey.” Infection 26, no. 1 (1998): 26-31.|
|↑6||Goyal, S. K., and R. K. Goyal. “Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) a bio-sweetener: a review.” International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition (2010).|
|↑7||Gambuś, Halina, Florian Gambuś, Dorota Pastuszka, Paulina Wrona, Rafal Ziobro, Renata Sabat, Barbara Mickowska, Anna Nowotna, and Marek Sikora. “Quality of gluten-free supplemented cakes and biscuits.” International journal of food sciences and nutrition 60, no. sup4 (2009): 31-50.|
|↑8||Bovell‐Benjamin, Adelia C. “Sweet potato: a review of its past, present, and future role in human nutrition.” Advances in food and nutrition research 52 (2007): 1-59.|
|↑9||Vinson, Joe A., Ligia Zubik, Pratima Bose, Najwa Samman, and John Proch. “Dried fruits: excellent in vitro and in vivo antioxidants.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 24, no. 1 (2005): 44-50.|
|↑10||Williamson, Gary, and Arianna Carughi. “Polyphenol content and health benefits of raisins.” Nutrition Research 30, no. 8 (2010): 511-519.|