Most of the food items that we eat and drink everyday are heavily laced with sugary extracts. Carbonated drinks, bakery items, desserts, table sugar itself- you’ll be shocked when you start thinking about how much sugar you actually consume in one day. Your sweet tooth may make it almost impossible for you to turn down a sugary treat, but you should always think twice before going for that second helping.
Sticking to a sugar-rich diet is unhealthy; even more so because it is a heavily processed product. According to medical experts, excess sugar increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and liver disease, among other health concerns. Yes, it’s time to evaluate other healthier options that can add the same sweetness to your food.
Why Should You Opt For Sugar Substitutes?
By sugar substitutes we are not referring to artificial sweeteners (such as Canderel and Nutrasweet). Their claimed health benefits have been under scrutiny by researchers all over the world. Artificial sweeteners contain a chemical called aspartame, which has been declared unsafe by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Our list of substitutes consists of natural or minimally processed products. It is important to remember that restraint and control should be exercised with these substitutes also. You know what they say, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. So keep those portions in check, and try to incorporate as many as you can in place of regular table sugar.
Syrups and Nectars
Honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, yacon syrup, molasses, and brown rice syrup are closer to their natural forms than white sugar. Keep in mind that some of these syrups and nectars are able to provide a rich sweetness in very small quantities. This is especially true for agave nectar which is high in fructose content. You can opt for any of the mentioned options depending upon its ease of availability.
Fruits in Various Forms
Fruits are a nutritious and wholesome way to satisfy your body’s sugar cravings. You can opt for raisins, berries and dates for that extra punch of sweetness. The great thing about fruits is the versatility with which they can be consumed. Add them to salads, yoghurt, breakfast cereals, and desserts, and you won’t feel the need to add white sugar to the mix.
You can consume sweet fruits in the form of sauces (Apricot and apple sauces are excellent options), purees (a thick liquid made from crushing and mashing fruits or vegetables), extracts and fresh juices. You can also try coconut sugar if it is easily available and falls within your budget.
Spices and Unprocessed Sugar Products
Cinnamon springs to mind almost immediately as a spice that adds just the right hint of sweetness. As for unprocessed sugar products, rapadura and sucanat are some of the options that you can go for. Unprocessed sugar is derived from sugar cane, just like white sugar, but it is made available for consumption without any further refining. These products however, can be pricey. In addition, finding out whether they are actually completely unprocessed is a tedious task.
Other Possible Alternatives
Milk, yoghurt, barley malt extract (a protein-rich item derived from barley), and unsweetened cocoa powder are also possible substitutes for white sugar.
Prioritize for a Healthier You
It can be difficult to eliminate sugar completely. We can’t imagine eid, weddings, dinner parties, Christmas and all other festive events without the customary overdose of mithai, cakes, frozen desserts and all things sugary that the heart could ever desire. What we can control is the quantity we consume, and how we regulate our sugar intake in daily life. Evaluate, monitor and revamp your diet. Trust us when we say that small changes in your diet plan will materialize into improved health in the long run. So take the first step towards healthy living, stay true to your new dietary choices, and soon you will notice the difference in the way you look and feel.