What Are The Alternatives To Sugar?
The ongoing festive season to spread sweetness and light comes with loads of sweets in the way of candies, desserts and home-made chocolates.
Sugar is almost being considered next to the “Forbidden Apple” (consuming it may not banish you from the Garden of Eden but surely from the plane of good health!)by health practitioners and diet-experts as a hollow-nutrient product, that just piles on the body system, providing not much of constructive energy.
So here are a few natural sweeteners which are healthy alternatives to sugar:
• Apple Sauce : Applesauce has long been used as a dietary prescription for diabetics. Be it cookies, cakes, breads or other bakes, apple sauce is a good alternative to sugar and the measure of applesauce is equivalent to the measure of sugar and accordingly the liquid content in the recipe has to be reduced (as we are substituting sugar crystals with liquid).
• Honey : A rich and the best alternative to sugar, honey wins hands down as a natural sweetener, be it for desserts, beverages, or breakfast cereals, honey can be added for that dash of sweetness and also for oodles of health. But for children, honey should be given only after consultation with the doctor.
• Concentrated apple juice : For sauces or sweet syrups, concentrated apple juice is a good alternative to sugar and similar to apple sauce, it can be used in equal measures; though the juice is not apt for bakes considering that it will thin the batter in the making.
• Barley malt syrup : Barley malt syrup is a good alternative to sugar and can be used in equal measures. It is not as sweet as sugar but does impart the necessary sweetness to cereals, breads and thick bakes.
• Stevia : Sweet leaf, honey leaf or sugar leaf, many names but one plant - Stevia is one sugar substitute that can do your health and the environment tons of good. Stevia plant is a herb indigenous to south America and many more times sweeter than cane sugar (considering equal measures) so stevia powder as an alternative to sugar can not only save our natural resources but also keep sugar-related ailments such as diabetes at bay.
• Agave nectar : Almost as sweet as honey and a third sweeter than sugar, this nectar is rich in a fruit sugar called fructose and doesn’t cause abrupt shooting up of sugar levels in the blood. Derived from the Mexican plant blue agave also known as century, agave nectar also bears in its fruit a lot of health benefits. This alternative to sugar can be used in hot and cold drinks, whereas the concentrated version can also be used in bakes.
• Xylitol : This “bulk” sugar is extracted from birch trees in Finland, is twice sweeter than sugar and is found in many mouth fresheners such as sugar-free mints and chewing gums. Research has found that xylitol can inhibit the growth of bacteria which cause tooth-decays along with preventing middle-ear infections . Granulated xylitol can be used to sprinkle on yoghurts, fruits or cold drinks but should be used judiciously as all bulk sugars used in excess can cause loose-stools. Of all the natural sweeteners, xylitol has the lowest glycaemic index and, is therefore one of the best alternatives to sugar.
The sweetest thing about life is not marked by sweet-savoring moments but well-judged, decisive steps which pave way for a healthy-living. “What are the alternatives to sugar?”, opens up these ways guided by health and knowledge.
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