Sugar is acidic and invites all types of disease and bacteria that can wreak havoc on the skin. It also feeds the bacteria, candida, viruses, and parasites thus extending their life and worsening the condition of the skin. Sugar hides in almost everything we consume, from soda and desserts to items like ketchup and packaged snacks. These foods are void of natural nutrients and take much longer to digest.
Luckily, you can substitute processed sugars with more natural alternative sweeteners. The following are some of the best sweetener choices that are beneficial for your health, unlike refined sugar.
Stevia is a non-caloric herb, sweeter than sugar. It comes in many forms and is labeled as a dietary supplement. Stevia can reduce cavities in children. It is considered to be a safe alternative to artificial sweeteners which are associated with unwanted side effects.
Stevia extracts, besides their therapeutic properties, contain a high level of sweetening compounds. They are thermostable even at temperatures of up to 200-degree centigrade, making them suitable for use in cooked foods. Stevia is found to contain folic acid, vitamin C and all of the indispensable amino acids except for tryptophan. Stevia intake is greatly beneficial for those who have to restrict carbohydrate intake in their diet. You can enjoy the sweet taste of the dessert you love to eat with minimal calories by using Stevia as the sweetener for the recipe.1
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol and is naturally present in little amounts in a variety of vegetables and fruits. It is obtained by the chemical conversion of xylan followed by purification.
Xylitol can produce a lower glycemic response than sucrose and other carbohydrates. Hence, it is very beneficial for diabetics and hypoglycemic conditions. The caloric value of xylitol is less compared to the caloric value of other carbohydrates.
Hence, it can be expected to contribute to a major reduction in total calories or in the total carbohydrate content of the daily diet. Excessive amounts may have a laxative effect. Since sugar alcohols like xylitol act as a form of dietary fiber, their breakdown products being free fatty acids, they may decrease the incidence of bowel cancer.2
Erythritol is another commonly used sugar alcohol with approximately 70% of the sweetness of sucrose. It is non-cariogenic i.e. it acts against tooth decays and is low in calories. Erythritol is produced by fermentation of glucose using food-grade yeast-like fungi.
After purification, crystallization, and drying, a very pure white crystalline powder is obtained. It is a common component used in hard coatings for sugar confectionery. It is also used in bulk sweeteners for food and beverages. It exists naturally in a wide variety of foods including mushrooms, watermelons, pears, and grapes. It is also found in fermented foods such as cheese and beverages including wine, beer and soy sauce. It is soluble in water easily and can easily be crystallized. It is a safe food ingredient and does not cause any undesired side effects, even when consumed at levels in excess of the expected daily intake.
Its caloric value is close to zero, has a very high digestive tolerance, and is tooth friendly since mouth bacteria cannot ferment it and does not influence blood glucose or insulin levels and is, therefore, suitable for use in foods for diabetics.3
4. Dry Granulated Sugars
Maple sugar is the result of continuing to boil the maple tree sap until the liquid has almost entirely evaporated. It is twice as sweet as the granulated white sugar and is also a healthy option. Turbinado sugar is sugar that has been steam cleaned. It is not processed as refined white sugar and has a delicate molasses flavor. It gets absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly, so it doesn’t cause your blood sugar to rise as rapidly as white sugar.
Organic sugar is considered safe for consumption than refined sugar that is purified using sulfur to remove the impurities. Sulphur retained in the sugar crystals can get converted to sulfur dioxide in the body that has harmful side effects and can lead to potential health hazards. 4
5. Liquid Sweeteners
Liquid sweeteners are the main ingredients in many products of the food and beverage industry as they are easy to use and a less quantity is enough to impart the desired sweet taste. They can be used as food for yeast in baked products, as a sweetening agent or for browning. The most commonly used liquid sweeteners are maple syrup, molasses that is not refined using sulfur and fruit juices.
Maple syrup is an extract produced by evaporation of maple saps. It also contains flavor compounds and natural colorants which provide the characteristic maple syrup flavor and amber color. Liquid sweeteners like molasses have a unique flavor and contain an equal amount of glucose relative to table sugar.
Fruit juices and concentrates are natural sweeteners, for instance, apple juice concentrate. They constitute a variety of nutrients like vitamins, inorganic compounds, and micronutrients and hence are healthy choices for sweetener. Agave syrup is prepared from fruit juice and has low glycemic quality. Grapes and pears are some of the primary sources of fruit juice concentrate used as a sugar replacement in food and beverage products.5
When you look for healthy choices for sweeteners, always look for the least processed sweetener. Avoid artificial sweeteners of all kinds. The above-mentioned natural choice of sweeteners allows you to enjoy the sweetness of your favorite foods without sacrificing your health.
|↑1||Lemus-Mondaca, Roberto, Antonio Vega-Gálvez, Liliana Zura-Bravo, and Kong Ah-Hen. “Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, source of a high-potency natural sweetener: A comprehensive review on the biochemical, nutritional and functional aspects.” Food Chemistry 132, no. 3 (2012): 1121-1132.|
|↑2||Corti, Antonietta, ed. Low-Calorie Sweeteners: Present and Future. Vol. 85. Karger Medical and Scientific Publishers, 1999.|
|↑3||Pinnock, H. “IFIS Dictionary of Food Science and Technology.” International Journal of Dairy Technology 60, no. 1 (2007): 59-60.|
|↑4||Sanders-Butler, Yvonne, and Barbara Alpert. “Healthy Kids, Smart Kids. The Principal-Created, Parent-Tested, Kid-Approved Nutrition Plan for Sound Bodies and Strong Minds.” (2005): 33-34.|
|↑5||Varzakas, Theodoros, Athanasios Labropoulos, and Stylianos Anestis, eds. Sweeteners: nutritional aspects, applications, and production technology. CRC Press, 2012.|