Natural Alternatives to Sugar

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With the increase awareness of how sugar can be harmful, many people are trying to reduce sugar in their diet.  While the best course of action may be to eliminate all sugar, we know it’s not so easy!  

To help, there are certain natural alternatives to sugar that may be used.  This blog discusses some of the healthier sugar substitute options, for when you need a little sweetness. 

The glycemic index is a number, ranking carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels.

COCONUT SUGAR:  Made from coconut palm sap.  Contains a few nutrients and some inulin, which is a beneficial fiber that acts as a prebiotic.  An article from the British Dental Journal states the sucrose content of coconut sugar to be 70-80% (table sugar is over 99%).  So this one should probably be used sparingly. 

HONEY:  Made by the wonderful bees.  Has nutrients like B vitamins and iron, as well as antioxidants that support health.  It still contains fructose though and is higher on the glycemic index. 

XYLITOL:  Made from corn or birch wood and is a sugar alcohol.  Contains zero fructose and has been shown to improve dental health and increase the body’s absorption of calcium.  Note: Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs. 

MONK FRUIT: Made from a melon grown in Southeast Asia.  Zero on the glycemic index.  Very sweet! Some say 100-250 times sweeter than sugar.  It gets this sweetness from unique antioxidants called mogrosides.  Also contains natural compounds that support health. Glycemic Index of zero.

STEVIA:  Made from the ground-up leaf of a South American plant.  Also very sweet!  According to studies, stevia has been shown to keep blood sugar and insulin levels more steady.  Glycemic Index of zero.

 

References: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1067728

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21576989

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12358452

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2900484/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14681845

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  • Maday Labrador
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