A sugar substitute is a food additive that provides a sweet taste like sugar while containing significantly less food energy.
Some sugar substitutes are produced by nature, and others produced by using synthetic means. Sugar which is not produced by nature is called artificial sugar(considered to be unhealthy). People with a sweet tooth find it very difficult to stay away from it. For them there are alternatives which are equally delicious and not harmful as refined and artificial sugar.
In the following paragraphs I will be telling you about 9 most popular natural sweeteners and their effects.1.
1. Cinnamon Sticks:
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of the tree. Not only does it taste great, stirred into an array of warm hot drinks, but also helps to cut calories. Cinnamon has got number of health benefits including keeping your weight in control.
Jaggery is a sweetener that is made from sugarcane; it is also known as unrefined sugar, which is prepared without the separation of molasses and crystal .Like cinnamon, jaggery too has got several health benefits. It is however suggested to consume it in moderation as it is slightly higher in calories, containing up to 4 kcal/ gram.
Produced by bees using the nectar of flowers, honey is the most popular natural sweetener. Honey has got multiple health benefits and also tastes good.It is certainly not 0 calorie substitute, so watch the amount you are consuming. One tablespoon of honey contains approximately 22 calories.
4. Maple syrup:
The sap taken form maple trees is heat- treated, causing much of the water to evaporate, leaving the concentrated sticky syrup. It retains its taste even in when heated, which makes it great for incorporating into cooking. You just have to ensure that it is in its pure form. Opt for darker varieties, which are known to contain higher traces of antioxidants. One tablespoon of maple syrup contains approximately 50 calories.
5. Date sugar:
Created from dehydrated ground dates, it goes through minimal processing and tastes slightly sweeter than white sugar. Loaded with fibre, vitamin and energy boosting qualities, the slightly thicker consistency makes it great for baking. Since it doesn’t melt, it can be used as a direct alternative for sugar. One tablespoon of date sugar contains approximately 43 calories.
6. Coconut Palm Sugar:
The latest addition to sugar is made from heat treating the sap from the flower buds of the coconut Palm tree. It comes generally in all forms, solid and liquid. Unlike normal sugar it contains several nutrients and has low glycemic index. Great for use in curries and sauces. One tablespoon of coconut palm sugar contains approximately 45 calories.
It tastes just like white sugar and is extracted from a plant. The claim to fame of Stevia is that it is 30 times sweeter than sugar, has absolutely no calories, no carbohydrates and does not raise blood sugar. Studies have also shown that Stevia is linked to alleviating health problems such as high blood pressure, and is shown to be an anti-inflammatory effect.
8. Fruit sugar:
It looks like table sugar, but is much sweeter. Although there is the same amount of calories as normal sugar, the fruit variety has a low glycemic index which will not spike your blood sugar level. One tablespoon of fruit sugar contains approximately 24 calories.
9. Brown rice syrup:
It is made from whole grain rice, the syrup tends to be more satisfying than many sugar alternatives, but it has high glycemic index and also has a high calorie content. As it enters the blood stream quickly, it is not recommended for diabetic patients.