We know that sugar is not good and we still have a hard time giving it up. Today we tell you how to replace sugar in a healthy way.
We know that white sugar is not very good for our health and even so we find it difficult to give up a sweet treat even if only once in a while or to sweeten our coffee in the morning.
On the other hand, when someone is encouraged to eliminate or replace sugar in their diet, in the vast majority of cases the motivation is more an attempt to lose weight than to eat better.
But there is a middle ground, and there are healthy alternatives to refined sugar that provide nutrients - refined sugar only contributes calories - and that, consumed in moderation, allow us to enjoy sweets that are healthier but equally rich.
How to replace sugar in a healthy way
We are not going to analyze artificial sweeteners, since we already talked about them at the time, but I am going to tell you about my experience with other sweeteners that I have been using in recent years.
Whole cane sugar
We started well, sugar to substitute for sugar. Yes, whole cane sugar, unlike refined white sugar, provides vitamin A and B vitamins, minerals and soluble fibers that facilitate their digestion. Be careful, you have to make sure that it is whole sugar made from sugar cane and you should not confuse it with brown sugar that if you do not specify anything it can be white sugar colored with molasses. In this post you have a very complete explanation about the different types of sugar, so I don't get involved with this anymore.
It is obtained from the juice of the flowers of the coconut palm and, although its consumption is quite recent in Western culture, it is a staple in Asian cuisine. It provides minerals (iron, zinc and magnesium) and vitamin C. It has a slightly caramel flavor and its glycemic index is 35 (approximately half that of cane sugar) so its absorption is slower. In cooking and baking it can be used in the same proportions as sugar. You have seen it used in the recipe for homemade granola.
Stevia or stevia
If we talk about how to replace sugar in a healthy way, one of the sweeteners that has caused the most controversy in recent times. It has been used for centuries by the Guarani Indians in South America and has many advantages, its glycemic index is zero, it does not raise blood glucose, its sweetening power is about 300 times higher than that of sugar and it is suitable for diabetics.
The main problem you have today is that it is very difficult to find pure stevia extract or simply the plant, since the really healthy alternative would be to consume the crushed leaves. A couple of years ago I managed to get a couple of plants in Alcampo and I have to say that sweetening some infusions is very good, but in general it has a liquorice flavor that does not combine well with everything.
There are also powdered preparations, but the actual stevia content they contain is minimal.
Raw honey from bees
It is probably the oldest known sweet food, as cave paintings from about 7000 years before Christ have been found in which men appear collecting honey. It is rich in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids and other essential nutrients, which can be increased when mixed with propolis (a substance generated by bees to seal and protect the hive from infectious agents) or pollen.
Of course, we must make sure that it is what is known as raw honey, that is, the honey as it is collected from the hive that has only been filtered, since the honey processed and subjected to high temperatures so that it does not crystallize and always looks beautiful in the bottle no longer retains the same properties. My favorites, blackberry honey - silva in Galician- and orange blossom honey.
It is another of the healthy alternatives to refined sugar that generate controversy, since it has defenders and detractors in equal parts. It is a syrup obtained from a cactus called blue agave, the same from which Mexican tequila is obtained and is mainly composed of fructooligosaccharides -fiber-, but depending on how it is processed it may have glucose and, in many cases, this is not indicated in the label.
Its glycemic index is very low compared to sugar and is used in some diabetic products. I have been using it for almost six years since I have type I diabetics in the family and, counting it within the daily carbohydrate ration, at no time have they had a problem with glucose controls. Although it has calories, its sweetening power is twice that of sugar, so we only use half the amount and the total calories within a recipe decrease. It is great for ice cream, because it does not form the crystals that common refined sugar forms and can be used in the oven simply by lowering the temperature indicated in the recipe by about 10ºC.
Some examples of recipes in which I have used it are:
· Homemade jams without sugar
· Sugar Free Coconut Lime Muffins
· Sugar-free liquid caramel
Other healthy alternatives to refined sugar
Apart from those that I have put you, which are the ones that I have tested quite thoroughly, there are others that also have quite a good press:
· Maple syrup, which is the sap of the tree of the same name and that we all know even if we only see how in American movies, they pour it on pancakes and ice cream.
· Birch sugar or xylitol, which is obtained from the bark of this tree and is a sugar with a low glycemic index that also has the advantage that it does not cause cavities and has 40% fewer calories than sugar. When I try it, I will tell you more?
And now tell me, do you regularly consume refined sugar? Have you thought about how to replace sugar in a healthy way?
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