If not white sugar, then what?
Everyone seems to have a different opinion about which alternative sugars are best for us, but all reliable sources claim that white sugar has no nutrients, is toxic and therefore has no business in our diets.
Neither do any artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, saccharin and acesulfame potassium, which only trigger rollercoaster cravings for more sugar and food.
Anything that tells you otherwise is just marketing fluff.
Rest assured that there are more nutrient friendly sweeteners which add flavour and quality to our foods. They produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels so that you feel full and energized for longer periods and have better control over your weight.
Check out these popular natural sweeteners and experiment with them in the suggested recipes. Then, when you’re satiated with your sweet fix, tell me about your experience. Let’s go!
Maple Syrup is by far my favourite sugar alternative, one that’s used a lot in healthy recipes. It is 100% natural, pure and contains higher levels of nutrients, including calcium, potassium, sodium and copper.
Stay away from imitation brands like Aunt Jemima’s and Eggo. Stick with high quality organic brands like Canadian Heritage Organics or Uncle Luke’s Pure Maple Syrup.
Recipe: Blow maple socks off with Paul Jarvis’ Raw Cheesecake (featured image taken by PJ). Paul recently released his $5 ebook called Eat Awesome, featuring simple plant based, whole food recipes.
Dates add such a nice gooey and sweet taste to food and are often used to make the pie crust in raw cheesecakes or in smoothies. Medjool dates in particular are rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. They help to balance blood sugar and fight weight gain.
Recipe: Why egg nogg when you can hemp nog with dates!
This super potent, all natural South American sweetener has zero calories and is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Despite the benefits, I don’t like the after taste but it is available in liquid, tablets and tea forms. It is perfect for diabetics and those who must limit sweets.
Recipe: You cannot taste the stevia in Julie Beyer’s top notch Chocolate Hemp Sauce.
Molasses are high in calories but rich in iron, calcium, potassium and vitamin B6. Get the fair trade certified, unsulphured blackstrap molasses from Wholesome Sweeteners.
Recipe: Add Dreena Burton’s molasses-sweetened No-Fu Love Loaf to your Christmas delights.
Boost up your immune system with a bit of honey in your tea or beverage. Honey contains higher fructose levels than others sweeteners but its also a cancer fighter and has lots of other healing properties.
Buy local, raw and unpasteurized honey (free of chemical processing and heat which destroys the nutrients). Children under two should not have raw honey because it contains a toxic bacteria that can cause infant botulism.
Recipe: Craving fish? How about this Honey Miso Dijon Salmon?
You may want to add coconut palm sugar to your list, my research so far seems to indicate that it is a solid healthy contender. I find it closest to brown sugar and it’s great in coffee.
Thank you Cate! I have read good things about coconut palm sugar as well and am looking for a good recipe that includes it. Will post when I find one! 🙂
What about Agave syrup?
I asked myself that question as well, Stephanie. It seems that Agave is backed by very clever marketing but in reality it seems to be extremely high in fructose and so you would experience the same blood sugar spikes as with regular sugar. Hope this helps.