Top 10 Natural Sweeteners & Sugar Alternatives

Today, consumption of refined sugar is increasing day by day, and so the artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, ACE K, sucralose, and aspartame have been used for years, which seem like it tastes good, but these artificial sweeteners have enormous side effects. It can be headaches, migraines, mood disorders, and improper function of liver and kidney function.

Refined sugars aren’t also healthy. Side effects of refined sugars are diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, poor cognitive functioning, and certain types of cancer.

Fructose is a type of sugar which is quickly metabolized by the liver and this might result in a “sugar high.” This fast acting sugar leads to increased storage of fat in the liver and might result in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and stomach upset.

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However, there are few natural sweeteners that are healthy and you can replace it with artificial sweeteners. According to a study replacing 130 grams of refined artificial sweeteners with healthy natural sweeteners can increase the antioxidant intake.

Here are few natural sweeteners with no. of calories

Top 10 Natural Sweeteners –

  1. Stevia (0 calories)
  2. Balsamic Glaze (1 tbsp – 20-40 calories depending on thickness)
  3. Coconut Sugar (1 tbsp – 45 calories)
  4. Blackstrap Molasses (1 tbsp – 47 calories)
  5. Maple Syrup (1 tbsp – 52 calories)
  6. Brown Rice Syrup (1 tbsp – 55 calories)
  7. Raw Honey (1 tbsp – 64 calories)
  8. Dates (1 Date – 66 calories)
  9. Banana Puree (1 cup – 200 calories)
  10. Real Fruit Jam (varies depending on fruit)

 

  1. Stevia

Stevia is found in South America and it has been used since years to help in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and weight loss.

Stevia is a plant leaf that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. You can find it in the form of dissolvable tablets, liquid drops, and powder packets.

The most important and excellent feature of stevia is that it has zero calories, zero carbohydrates and no side effects at all which makes it an ideal natural sweetener.

Some people experience a slight metallic aftertaste. If you had a similar experience with stevia in the past, then try a product which is higher in the stevioside (an element found in stevia).

How to use stevia?

Stevia is heat stable, so you can use it any time you feel like. Note that it’s 200 times sweeter than sugar, so use accordingly. Stevia cannot be used for baking purposes.

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  1. Balsamic Glaze

Balsamic vinegar contains antioxidants properties which help in destroying free radicals, it is found to be rich in the enzyme called pepsin which helps to promote good digestion, and it also has a very amazing taste. Therefore, it is included in my Healing Foods Diet.

How to use balsamic glaze?

Balsamic glazes are easily available in market stores or you can also quickly make your own glaze at home.

Just take two cups of balsamic vinegar simmer it over medium heat; continuously stir it until it’s reduced to one-half cup.

This process might take from 15 to 30 minutes. At last, you will get a thickened material after cooling down. Spray the glaze over your any dish to bring a natural sweetness.

 

  1. Coconut Sugar

Fresh Coconut, coconut water, coconut milk, coconut flour; all of them have a huge no. of health benefits. Plus it also has coconut sugar which is been popularly used as a natural sweetener. It contains low glycemic load and has high mineral content.

How is coconut sugar made?

Coconut sugar is withdrawn fluid from the flower of the coconut and then heated. Next step is evaporation, from which we get coconut sugar.

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Coconut sugar comes along with potassium, iron, zinc, polyphenols, antioxidants, calcium, phosphorous and other phytonutrients.

 How to use coconut sugar?

You can use coconut sugar similar in amount like sugar. It is slightly rougher than refined sugar. You can also dissolve the coconut sugar in the liquids for some recopies. However, dissolving the coconut sugar is not suggested while making a recipe such as cakes or cookies.

 

  1. Blackstrap Molasses (Sugarcane)

Blackstrap molasses is rich in nutrition’s, like copper, selenium, calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, and vitamin B6.  Sugarcane and beet molasses has the highest phenol constituent and antioxidant properties as compared to refined sugar, dates, honey, corn syrup, and beet sugar.

There are many types of molasses; it usually depends on the level of processing it has gone through. All molasses is made from raw sugarcane in which it is kept for boiling it until it becomes rich in sweet syrup. Blackstrap molasses comes from the third boiling level. It has great nutrients and also gives a rich flavor.

How to use blackstrap molasses?

It is a perfect sweetener for marinades and can also be used in baking.

Blackstrap molasses is not used for porridges, topping toast, or any other concentrated use. By adding two tbsp of molasses for a ½ cup coconut sugar, you can also make a brown sugar replacement. Put the mixture of both in a food processor, and heat it until it gets thick like brown sugar.

 

  1. Maple Syrup

It is made in North America; maple syrup comes two Grades i.e. A and B.

Maple syrup is a great source of manganese; it also contains zinc, calcium, and potassium. It is puffed with natural antioxidant which helps to fight with free radicals and lower oxidative damage.

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NOTE- Always select dark colored maple syrup i.e. Grade B maple syrups, as they contain more healthy antioxidants than the light colored syrups.

How is maple syrup made?

At first, a hole is drilled in the tree, a bucket is hanged to catch the liquid. Now, it is boiled so that the water gets evaporated and then it is filtered out if any sediment is remaining.

How to use maple syrup?

Maple syrup is heat stable, so you can use it any time you feel like. You can add it for marinating, as a sauce and for baking. You can use it in your morning coffee or tea.

For adding a glaze for cookies or cakes, heat it till it gets barely simmered and then add the coconut-powdered sugar from above. Stir until it gets smooth, now allow it to cool and come into normal room temperature and then sprinkle away.

 

  1. Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice syrup is made from brown rice which first undergoes fermentation process with enzymes which helps in breaking down the starch. This liquid is now heated until the thick syrup is achieved. At last, you will get thick amber-colored syrup.

The fermentation process helps in breaking down of sugars into such elements which are easily digestible.

Some brown rice syrups are fermented with barley enzymes, which mean that it contains gluten. This might be harmful to your body. Therefore, always buy brown rice syrups market products which are labeled as gluten-free.

How to use brown rice syrup?

Brown rice syrup is the perfect replacement for corn syrup. Use it in an equal amount as you use in corn syrup.

Use brown rice syrup to make granola bars, nut clusters, and to sweeten different recopies.

 

  1. Raw Honey

Raw honey is one of the most used natural sweeteners. It consists of vitamin B6, iron, phosphorous, zinc, riboflavin potassium, calcium, and niacin. All of these essential nutrients help in neutralizing free radicals and also boost the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.

One tbsp of raw honey contains 64 calories which means it has less effect than a single banana. After pasteurization process honey loses its healthy nutrients and many of the health benefits that raw honey brings.  Therefore, look for an online deal which will give you organic honey.

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You can also buy local raw honey at farmer markets. The darker the color of honey, the tastier it is and has greater the health benefits.

NOTE- Don’t cook with raw honey. Pour it on breakfast cereals.

To maintain the nutrients present in honey and preserve it for long, keep it away from the heat.

If you want to add honey to your tea, milk or coffee, wait until the drink is lukewarm enough to drink, and then add honey to it for taste.

 

  1. Dates

Dates are made from date palm tree and are puffed with vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese. They can be easily digested and it has been found that dates help to metabolize fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Studies also found that dates can help to lower reduce LDL cholesterol in the blood and thus lower the chances of getting a stroke.

How to use dates?

Make a paste using dates. And you can use it in most of the recipes, unlike stevia, and you can use dates for baking purposes.

Now, at first, soak dates in hot water until it gets soft. Let it reach till normal temperature. Now, the dates get soft enough to make a paste. Blend it until gets smooth. Add the soaked dates liquid into it. Add more water as needed to make a thick paste. You can also make cookies and Brownie Bites.

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  1. Banana Puree

As we all know that Bananas are known for richness in fiber and potassium, and has a great source of vitamins B6 and Vitamin C. They are also known for naturally adding a sweet flavor, and helps in making any dish a perfect natural sweetener.

How to use banana puree?

First, you need to overripe bananas and the best way to utilize it by switching it with refined sugar in a recipe.

You can use banana puree with similar amount as you use refined sugar. Both of them have almost tastes same.

How to make banana puree?

To make the banana puree, add few bananas to a food processor with one tbsp of water and blend it. If necessary, add more water so that it becomes a thick paste.

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As bananas brown easily gets exposed to air, use it as soon as possible in recipes. If you want to use banana puree in raw recipes, then add few drops of fresh lemon juice in the food processor. This will help in retarding the oxidation process.

 

  1. Real Fruit Jam

A real fruit jam is made up of apples, Berries, grapes, stone fruit, and pears which are great replacements for sugar in recipes. You can use fruit jam which is available in the market; just make sure that there is no added sugar or pectin. You have other option too; you can make your own sugar-free jam with organic fresh fruit.

How to use real fruit jam?

You can replace sugar in all recipes.

For making your own fresh jam in the home, you can mix four cups of your favorite fruit in a saucepan, add ½ cup water. With medium heat let the solution gets simmered. Keep on stirring frequently. Simmer it until the fruit gets broken down and starts to become a thickened paste. Puree made in a food processor should be used immediately.

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For making a yummy apple pie, take 1/2 cup of peeled apples; add water to it and let it simmer until it gets smooth. The natural pectin in the apples will help to thicken the pie. Add some sliced apples, a pint of cinnamon in it and bake. Now, add grapes for enlarging the subtle sweetness.

 

Living healthy doesn’t mean that you have to give up all the sweets completely; you just need to replace not appropriate and unhealthy refined sugars and artificial sweeteners with these natural sweeteners. Each of these is the best in their own places.

Author: Hiten Patil

Hiten is Content Writer and He write about all platform like health and wellness related blog and other platform as well