Healthier sugar substitutes

Since the discovery of a link between refined sugar consumption and illness, people are looking for healthy alternatives to sweeten their food and drink.

Sugar is almost a dirty word in some health discussions. As people become more aware of the damage refined sugar does to our bodies, there is a growing demand for natural sweeteners that are much easier for your body to digest and process.

Here are four natural sweeteners that have the most health benefits to your body compared to sugar.

Raw honey

Most dieticians agree that raw pure unrefined honey from local sources is the best natural sweetener. Honey is not just a sweetener, it is a food in its own right. It contains amino acids, specific types of electrolytes and antioxidants, and antimicrobial compounds that can really support the health of your body.

Stevia

This natural sweetener is from a plant leaf originally used by the indigenous tribes in South America. It is especially good if you have blood sugar issues, if you’re overweight or if you have diabetes. Ideally, you should get full, green leaf stevia. There are many brands of the extract on the market that are highly processed with other chemicals. So you need to check labels of extract carefully.

Dates

A number of fruits like raisins, apricots, other dried fruit and pineapple juices can all be used as sweeteners. But dates are very high in fibre and potassium, as well as other vitamins and minerals.

Maple syrup

Look for 100 percent pure organic maple syrup for use in cooking, or to pour over pancakes or waffles at breakfast. Maple syrup has a higher antioxidant capacity than sugar and up to 24 different antioxidants. These antioxidants occur in the form of phenolic compounds, to help reduce free radical damage that can cause inflammation and contribute to the formation of various chronic diseases.