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What is the Best Sugar Substitute?

7:12 AM - January 24, 2015 by Lorelei

Not all sugar substitutes are created equal. Thankfully, you can use some sweeteners that won’t cause you as much harm as others. However, you cannot go hog wild and add these to everything or you’ll technically be back where you started.

Sweeteners That You can Use in Moderation

  • 100 Percent Real Maple Syrup – Ensure when you buy it, that it says it’s 100 percent maple syrup and not flavored. This can be used in small doses in recipes or a little stirred into your oatmeal.
  • Black Strap Molasses – This is actually very good for you and high in iron. Some people don’t think it is very sweet, but it’s excellent in recipes, and spread on whole-wheat toast.
  • Erythritol, Xulitol, Xylitol (deadly to dogs), Sorbitol – Sugar alcohols should be used in strict moderation, but if you need a mint, or some gum, this is the type you want to consume. Be careful, it can cause tummy distress in some individuals.
  • Local Raw Honey – Raw honey is good for helping curb allergy problems when used in small doses. A glass of tea a night with a couple teaspoons of honey is all you need.
  • Stevia – You have to make sure you get the right kind of stevia, the plant extract without additives. Some people cannot tolerate the slight licorice flavor, but it’s an excellent sweetener to use in tea and baking.
  • Yacon Syrup – Derived from the yacon plant, which is a sweet root. It is thought to have many medicinal properties and even perhaps be a weight loss aid. The studies are encouraging and this sweetener can be used by diabetics too. Again, it’s important to get pure yacon syrup.
  • Limit Dried Fruit – Raisins, dates, and other dried fruit sounds like a great alternative, but they are even higher in sugar than their raw, whole counterparts are. Use it as a topping or in baking and not as a snack alone.

Using any of the above sweeteners in moderation will help you reach your goal of going sugar free for your body and mind. You’ll likely feel better, lose weight, and lift the fog of sugar addiction from your mind.

Natural Sugar Substitutes to Avoid

 
Let’s talk a bit about popular alternatives to sugar that are promoted as not just alternatives to sugar but even healthy when nothing could be further from the truth.

  • Agave Nectar – Many health proponents, including celebrity Doctor Oz, have supported the use of Agave Nectar as a healthy sugar substitute. Some people will even say you can eat as much as you want. While it is lower on the glycemic index than other substitutes, it is not healthy. Some new studies show that the high fructose content can contribute to insulin resistance.
  • Brown Sugar – Brown sugar is simply sugar which either did not have all of the molasses extracted during processing or molasses was added back to it after processing. It’s no healthier than white sugar as it still includes the processed white sugar. Just because it’s brown doesn’t make it a good alternative.
  • Coconut Sugar – Another popular sugar thought to be healthy. This sugar is no better again, than white sugar. Made from the sap of coconut palm trees, and lower in glycemic index than white sugar, many say it’s good for you. It also has nutrients in it, but you can do better just eating actual food rather than coconut sugar.
  • Evaporated Cane Juice – Sorry, but this is just sugar and has no nutritional value to it whatsoever. It’s just white sugar.
  • Organic Cane Sugar – Another word for sugar, and it is truly no different from table sugar in terms of the effects it has on your body.

There are many more confusing words used in the ingredient list. To avoid them you must be diligent and read labels. Stay up to date on sugar terminology. As the public’s knowledge and awareness grows, the food industry and “health gurus” will keep changing the terms and names.

Ready to give up sugar once and for all? Check out the 21 Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo.

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