All sweeteners are still a form of sugar (except Stevia) and should be used sparingly, but we all need a little sweetness in life. Use responsibly.
10 Natural Sweeteners To Choose From
This leafy herb has been used for centuries by native South Americans. The extract from stevia is 100 to 300 times sweeter than white sugar. It can be used in cooking, baking and beverages, does not affect blood sugar levels and has zero calories.
Stevia is available in a powder or liquid form. Try to look for green or brown liquids or powders, the white and clear versions are more refined but are also more readily available.
2. Raw Organic Honey
One of the oldest natural sweeteners, honey is sweeter than sugar. Depending on the plant source, honey can have a range of flavors, from dark and strongly flavored to light and mildly flavored. Raw honey contains small amounts of enzymes, minerals and vitamins.
Some vegans choose not to eat honey, as it is a byproduct of bees.
3. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is made from boiled-down maple tree sap and contains many minerals. 40 gallons of sap are needed to make one gallon of maple syrup. It adds a pleasant flavor to foods and is great for baking. Be sure to buy 100% pure maple syrup and not maple-flavored corn syrup.
4. Coconut Sugar
A cut is made on the flower of the coconut palm and the liquid sap is collected into containers.The sap is then placed under heat until most of the water has evaporated.
The minerals Iron, Zinc, Calcium, and Potassium, along with some short chain fatty acids, polyphenols and antioxidants are maintained in this process and has some health benefits.
It also contains a fiber called inulin, which may slow glucose absorption and explain why coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index than regular table sugar.
Organic molasses is probably the most nutritious sweetener derived from sugarcane or sugar beet, and is made by a process of clarifying and blending the extracted juices. The longer the juice is boiled, the less sweet, more nutritious and darker the product is.
Molasses imparts a very distinct flavor to food. Blackstrap molasses, the most nutritious variety, is a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
6. Brown Rice Syrup
This product consists of brown rice that has been ground and cooked, converting the starches to maltose.
Brown rice syrup tastes like moderately sweet butterscotch and is quite delicious. In recipes, you may have to use up to 50% more brown rice syrup than sugar and reduce the amount of other liquids.
7. Date Sugar
Date sugar consists of finely ground, dehydrated dates, utilizing the fruit’s vitamin, mineral and fiber content. If you like the taste of dates, this will definitely appeal to you. Date sugar can be used as a direct replacement for sugar and comes in a granulated form.
8. Medjool Dates
It has been said that eating just 3 dates a day, being loaded with fiber can improve your digestion and their high levels of iron can also help prevent and treat anemia.
Dates also contain magnesium, manganese, and selenium which has been shown to help reduce your risk of cancer and keep your bones and blood strong. Dates provide a natural energy boost and provide enough potassium to help lower cholesterol. Plus, they taste great!
9. Birch Sugar
Also referred to as xylitol, this natural sugar substitute can be made from tree fiber or corncobs and occurs naturally in many fruits and mushrooms. Birch sugar is sweet, yet low on the glycemic index and can be used by those with diabetes and hypoglycemia. It has 40% fewer calories than sugar, prevents tooth decay and repairs tooth enamel.
Short for Sugar Cane Natural, this brand-name product consists of evaporated organic cane juice made through a mechanical rather than a chemical process.
It is less refined, thus retaining many of sugarcane’s original vitamins and minerals. It has a grainy texture and can be used in place of white sugar.
You don’t need to buy them all, just pick a couple you like. Get used to using them in your desserts and you will enjoy them even more!