Love your sweet stuff? Thankfully there are some great healthy alternatives to sugar that are worth stocking up on. Between chocolate bars and heaping it in to our tea, some of us are eating three times the recommended amount of refined sugar. The World Health Organisation recommends we consume less than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day but the startling fact is that the average person living in Ireland consumes almost 24 teaspoons per day. If you want to curb your sugar intake, there are some brilliant natural sugar substitutes out there that will give you that sweet fix. We've rounded up 4 brilliant healthy alternatives to sugar worth trying.
Healthy Alternatives to Sugar Worth Trying
At Evergreen Healthfoods we are huge endorsers of reading labels so we can understand what exactly we're eating. Sugar can be lurking in places you wouldn't expect such as nut butters, cereal and yoghurt (and has over 50 different names so it can be hard to recognise).
It's important to avoid foods which contain refined sugar and look for foods which contain natural sugars. We're firm believers in replacing refined sugar with a more natural alternative. Some of our favourite healthy alternatives to sugar are: xylitol, palm sugar, agave and honey. Here's a little bit about each of them...
Xylitol is a natural sweetener which is found in plants, fruits and vegetables. It contains just 2.4 calories per gram, which is 40% less calories than other carbohydrates, but still contains all the sweetness of sugar, making it the perfect substitute.
Pros of Xylitol
This product looks, feels and tastes very similar to regular white sugar. They're so similar they can be substituted in almost every recipe, and no need to measure. Simply use the exact same amount for the same level of sweetness. This product also has a very low glycemic index and does not require insulin to be digested, meaning it's suitable for diabetics.
Coconut Palm Sugar
Another of our favourite sugar substitutes is Coconut Palm Sugar. It's made from the sap that is extracted from the coconut tree. It is considered to be an excellent, healthy substitute for cane sugar. Coconut palm sugar is high in fibre and low in the glycemic index.
Pros of Coconut Palm Sugar
Unlike cane sugar, coconut palm sugar is not full of empty calories and contains essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids. The natural sweetener is also thought to have less impact on your blood sugar levels than other more conventional sugars. High blood sugar levels can lead to a sugar rush and a subsequent crash.
This natural sweetener has a caramel-like taste, which is not as sickly as regular cane sugar. It is similar in taste to brown sugar. This product can be substituted for regular sugar quite easily. It can be used in baking and in hot and cold drinks.
Agave is a plant which contains a wonderful natural sweetener and is a great healthy alternative to sugar. This syrup or nectar is extracted from the leaves of the plant and filtered to remove any impurities which may occur.
Pros of Agave
This syrup is similar in many respects to honey, with a few key differences; it is typically lighter and more liquid than honey, whilst being sweeter so you don’t need to include as much. There is also agave sugar available, which is made from dried agave syrup, perfect for those who prefer granular sugar. Both types of agave are low G.I., and all of our agave products are certified organic.
Honey is perhaps the oldest sweetener known to man, and there are few things more natural than it. This natural product created by bees has many different offerings, depending on the location it comes from and bee’s pollen sources. But there is one thing in common with all honeys, and that is there characteristic sweetness.
Pros of Honey
Honey is a much better alternative to sugar, offering similar levels of sweetness gram for gram, but without the empty calories and zero nutritional values of store bought sugar.
Looking to cut down on sugar? Learn How to Fight Sugar Food Cravings.
Checked and updated: 13 March 2021