6 Artificial Sweeteners to Limit Your Sugar Intake
Numerous studies on sugar and its health effects have led to the search for new ways to sweeten foods without resorting to white sugar. Below, we’ll talk about six natural sweeteners to limit your sugar intake.
To reduce your sugar consumption, it may be a good idea to turn to some of the sweet alternatives that you can find on the market. From honey to stevia, there are countless sugar substitute options!
Why do people like sweet flavors so much?
The WHO recommends adults and children to reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake because the abusive consumption of sugar can be harmful to health. Also, sugar provides the body with empty calories that promote weight gain and body fat and increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
But why do we eat so much of it, to begin with?
We like the sweet taste of sugar because it gives us a feeling of pleasure. Its consumption stimulates the production of dopamine, which makes us feel good. This pleasure makes us need to eat more and more of it since our brain becomes less sensitive to this hormone.
Therefore, sugar is an addictive substance. Also, sugar activates the brain’s reward center, which is why it’s highly addictive.
Taking all of the above into account, the first thing you need to do is reeducate your palate to the sweet flavors present in nature. It’s best to reduce the amount of sugar that a person needs to sweeten their tea, yogurt, or desserts to do so.
To achieve this goal, you can opt for more natural solutions that we describe below.
You can read this article: Excessive Salt or Sugar Intake: Which Is Worse for Your Health?
Natural sweeteners to limit your sugar intake
This sweet South American plant, which is very famous in Japan, is one of the most powerful natural sweeteners. Unlike white sugar, stevia doesn’t contain calories. As some studies show, it’s suitable for diabetics, since it doesn’t produce high blood glucose peaks.
When it comes to choosing stevia, we recommend that you choose pure stevia and not stevia-based sweeteners, as some you can find in supermarkets are a mixture of artificial sweeteners with purified stevia extract.
2. Limit your sugar intake with honey
If what worries you about sugar is not that it makes you gain weight but that it provides you with nothing but empty calories, then honey is the best natural sweetener for you.
Honey, in addition to sweetening, is considered a functional food because it contains vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, as well as antibiotic and bactericidal properties, as this study by the University of the Balearic Islands shows.
Thus, if you consume honey, you’ll add essential nutrients to your diet with fewer calories. Of course, to ensure that it maintains its properties, choose organic honey that isn’t refined.
3. Xylitol to limit your sugar intake
The peculiarity of xylitol is that it doesn’t produce insulin spikes, so it’ll keep your sugar levels stable. This makes it the ideal natural sweetener for diabetics and to control weight since it’ll prevent the feeling of hunger that occurs when insulin is altered.
Also, if you usually suffer from tooth decay, it’s highly recommended that you opt for this type of sugar since it helps to keep bacteria at bay so they don’t eat away at your teeth.
4. Agave syrup
This comes from the juice of a Mexican plant. This sweetener tastes like honey but has a lighter consistency. Unlike normal sugar, agave syrup contains essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals.
This sugar substitute is more liquid than honey. Thus, it dissolves better in food and drinks.
You should also read: Make Your Own Sweetener: How to Grow Stevia at Home
5. Raw cane sugar to limit your sugar intake
This product is prepared from sugar cane syrup. It’s soaked, boiled, molded, and dried. Then, it’s purified and ends up like brown sugar. Furthermore, it doesn’t undergo any chemical refining process.
Unlike sugar (which is mostly sucrose), it contains glucose, fructose, proteins, minerals, (calcium, iron, and phosphorus) and vitamins (A, C, D, E, and B vitamins), as this study by FASTA University shows. Therefore, experts consider it a better option than sugar, since it contains fewer calories than refined sugar.
Among its benefits, it may help boost the immune system and the skeletal system and helps regulate heart rate and the transmission of nerve and muscle impulses.
6. Coconut sugar
Despite its name, this sugar isn’t extracted from the fruit, but from the sap of its flower, which is heated until all the water evaporates. Through this elaboration process, it’s possible to preserve some of its properties.
Thus, although there’s no scientific evidence in this regard, experts believe that coconut sugar provides us with minerals, such as iron, potassium, and zinc, polyphenols, antioxidants, and small amounts of amino acids. Also, because it has a relatively low glycemic index to be a sweetener, it doesn’t produce sudden blood sugar spikes.
In short, these sweeteners can be healthier and more natural than sugar. However, we recommend that you still use these substitutes sparingly.It might interest you...