A lot has been said about harmful effects of refined sugar in the past few years, but many of us still don’t know which alternatives are actually better for you.
To start off, what exactly is white sugar? White sugar is simply crystallised sucrose extracted from sugar cane or sugar beets. Sucrose is made up of glucose and fructose. Fructose is only good if moderately consumed in natural state (e.g. while eating grapes) because it comes together with fibre, meaning slow energy release. However, if you take the fibre out and consume refined sugar in its pure form, you’d consume more of it, thus increasing heath risks such as weight gain, tooth decay, diabetes etc.
We’ve studied many alternatives to sugar and selected ones that are better for you and can also be easily substituted in drinks or baked goods.
- Coconut sugar
Coconut sugar is derived from the coconut palm tree. Unlike the refined sugar, it contains nutrients like Iron, Zinc, Calcium and Potassium along with fatty acids, polyphenols and antioxidants. It also contains some fibre that slows glucose absorption and lowers the GI index. However, you still have to be watchful: coconut sugar contains the same amount of calories as the refined one and still contains fructose, although less of it.
- Maple syrup
Maple syrup is a natural sweetener made from sap of maple trees. It contains Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Zinc, Magnesium, protective antioxidants and phytochemicals. Try buying Grade B maple syrup: it contains more nutrients and can reduce inflammation and even may help protect against cancer due to the presence of antioxidants. With lower glycemic index than refined sugar, you should still watch your consumption.
- Date sugar
Loaded with Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Iron, Copper, Manganese and Selenium, date sugar comes as a winner when it comes to sugar substitutes. It also contains fibre and protein, which help slower energy release and has about 25% less calories than refined sugar.
We use raw coconut sugar to make our baking mixes: it's full of nutrients and tastes delicious!