Natural healthier sugar substitutes can make something that most view as unhealthy, a lot less unhealthy, if eaten in moderation. When I first started thinking about writing this post I wondered if there truly was a healthy substitute for white and high fructose corn syrup. As for the high fructose corn syrup, avoidance is the key word, none, nada. As for as white sugar there are many choices, some are a simple one to one trade, others are lesser or more sweet than white sugar. My list of natural healthier sugar substitutes listed below are listed starting with the ones I feel have the most merit to be included in a healthy diet.
Raw Honey – Honey is first on the list because it 100% natural. It is the only natural sweetener that does not come directly from plants although bees make it from plant products. Honey contains anti-oxidants,enzymes, has many minerals we need and even prevents bacterial growth, I love it. Honey is indeed a natural healthier sugar substitute and first on my list. If you have a local source, buy local if not, Buy raw honey here.
Stevia - Stevia is about as natural as you can get if you read the label and get a product that only contains stevia. The powdered stevia in the little packets have added sugars, the liquid steva has only a carrier fluid, either alcohol or glycerin. You can also get a stevia plant and grow your own, I did earlier this spring. You could just use the leaves, they are very sweet to the taste. Stevia is said to be 300 times as sweet as sugar. Next to honey this is about the most natural healthier sugar substitute that you could use. It is also calorie free. Buy stevia here.
Blackstrap Molasses – Blackstrap molasses contains all the concentrated minerals and nutrients that were in the cane juice except for the enzymes and phytonutrients that are destroyed by the refining process. It has a distinct flavor and may not be a suitable substitute for some uses. It is only 65% as sweet as white sugar and not a direct one to one replacement. Is blackstrap molasses a natural healthier sugar substitute? Not 100% natural but has it’s merits. I use it myself, especially in making bread. Buy blackstrap molasses here.
Sucanat – is the more natural sugar substitute I see mentioned on food blogs most often. Sucanat and Rapadura are brand names. You can get Rapunzel Organic Whole Cane Sugar here or for a less expensive version of what appears to be the same thing, go here.This is refined in such a way to retain the nutrients from the natural cane juice. It is a one to one replacement for white sugar but has a brown sugar like color and a distinct taste when used in some ways. Is this a more natural healthier sugar substitute? It is one of the most naturally produced of the sugar alternatives.
Coconut Palm Sugar - Coconut palm sugar is made from the nectar of the coconut palm flower, is sustainably grown and environmentally friendly. It looks somewhat like brown sugar and is a one to one replacement for both white and brown sugar and can be used in any way they would be used.. The reviews I have read report that it works very well for baking, for texture as well as taste. It is very low on the glycemic scale at 35 and does not spike our blood sugar like most sugars do. It is rich in potassium and iron. Buy it here.
Dates – Dates while not really a sugar are and can be used to sweeten and in that sense is a natural healthier sugar substitute. These can be processed in a food processor and used to sweeten cookies, muffins, food bars and other baked goods. They can be used to sweeten oatmeal and other cereals. I have used them myself and they work very well. There is also a sugar made from dates but it is rather pricey. This is definitely a natural healthier sugar substitute.
Maple Syrup – Maple syrup and also maple sugar contain manganese and calcium and are less processed than white sugar which has no nutrients left. It would qualify as a more natural healthier sugar substitute. Get grade B here.
Agave Syrup - Agave syrup is said by some to be overly processed but to me the process seems along the same lines with some of the other sweeteners. You can get it in a light amber color, amber and a darker amber, the later being less filtered and having more nutrients. You can also get raw agave which has been processed under 118 degrees and qualifies as a raw food. Agave syrup is 1.4 to 1.6 times as sweet as sugar and has a lower glycemic number. I would say it is a more natural healthier sugar substitute.
Unrefined Brown Sugar - Unrefined brown sugars such as what you find in most regular grocery stores include demerara, muscovado and turbinado. While these are more refined than those higher on the list, they are certainly better than white sugar but are much higher in cost than white sugar and you get more bang for your buck elsewhere. These are a more natural healthier sugar substitute if you overlook the natural part.
Evaporated Cane Juice – Evaporated cane juice is claimed to be less refined. Anything less refined would be better than white sugar.
Organic Sugar - Organic sugar is organically grown but is much like brown sugar, better than white. At least you know it is not GMO.
In my next post I will give you my conclusion as to what I feel is the best alternative to replace white sugar. I believe that we need to find a natural healthier substitute for white sugar, our health depends on it. If you like or benefit from anything you read here please share it with your friends and family, I would sincerely appreciate it as I appreciate you, my readers.
Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day. David Johnson