20 Natural Sweeteners Worth Your Time
Yes, you can count carbs and calories to eat healthier, but what about artificial sugar? Studies have shown that consuming artificial sugar can lead to many negative things that are detrimental to your overall health, among them is obesity. With at least 20 alternatives to artificial sugar, this list can help you jump ship from artificial sweeteners and jump on the latest in natural sweeteners. From sweetening drinks to baked goods and marinades, there’s a natural sugar alternative for everything!
Made from coconut tree sap, derived from the cut flower buds, coconut sugar is a nice alternative to artificial sugar. It works great in baking and also dissolves in cold and hot liquids and has a low-glycemic rating.
Do you enjoy making smoothies? If so, the next time you make one, drop a couple of whole dates inside your blender to add sweetness the natural way! An additional benefit of using dates if that they’ll help you reach your daily recommended fiber intake.
Since whole dates are very hard and dense, where they won’t work well, opt for date sugar instead. Date sugar is made from dehydrated, ground dates. Use date sugar in baking, mixing, sprinkling and more!
Whole Cane Sugar
Derived from the actual plant, whole sugar cane is basically pure dried sugar cane juice. It’s minimally processed and retains much of its natural vitamins and minerals. A popular brand of whole cane sugar is Sucanat.
Made from unrefined and evaporated whole cane juice that is dried slowly, muscovado sugar retains its natural molasses and trace vitamins and minerals. It has a slightly sticky texture and can be used in almost any baking recipe. It’s very similar to brown sugar.
To make turbinado sugar, sugar cane juice is heated, then spun in a centrifuge or turbine to extract the moisture and molasses to create large crystals. Visually, it looks more like refined sugar than raw sugar.
Demerara is very similar to turbinado sugar. There are 2 distinctions between the two. The crystals formed from Demerara are not as fine at turbinado. Additionally, Demerara is less sticky than turbinado.
Rapadura is the least refined of all sugarcane products and it replaces traditional sugar 1 to 1. Due to its darker color, it’s most appropriate to use when baking goods like brownies or stir it in black coffee or black tea.
Extracted from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana, stevia is available in liquid and powdered form. It’s most known to be 200 times more sweeter than sugar and is now widely available.
Made simply from the sap of a variety of maple trees, maple syrup is a versatile sweetener. Use maple syrup when cooking sweet or savory dishes. Maple syrup is especially good when making homemade granola or on top of pancakes and waffles!
Molasses is the by-product of refining natural sugar cane. During the process, sugar crystals are extracted, which leaves a dark syrupy mixture. The darker the molasses, the more nutrients. Molasses have a low-glycemic, are an incredibly rich source of iron and can provide sweetness in a number of recipes.
Barley Malt Syrup
Made from sprouted whole grain, barley malt is a clean tasting and healthy sweetener. It has half the sweetness of refined sugar, yet it’s versatile and ideal for a variety of baked goods. Since barley malt is very thick and rich, it’s also good for sauces and candied vegetables.
Brown Rice Syrup
Derived from brown rice, brown rice syrup is made by exposing cooked rice to enzymes that break down the starches. Then the impurities of the small sugars are filtered out and the result is a thick syrup. Bake with it as you would any other liquid sweetener.
Extracted from the roots of the yacon plant, yacon syrup is looks and feels like molasses. It grows natively in South America and has been privy to health claims that it enhances metabolism.
A childhood favorite for many, honey is made by bees using nectar from flowers. Honey is also know to energize the body, boost immunity and fight bacteria. Opt for honey in tea when feeling under the weather!
Derived from several species of the agave plant, agave syrup is sweeter than honey. A great attribute of agave nectar, is that unlike honey, it dissolves in cold beverages like lemonade. The majority of agave nectar comes from South Africa and Mexico.
While palm sugar is similar to coconut sugar, which is made from the buds of coconut tree flowers, there is a difference. Palm sugar is made from the sap of the sugar palm tree. Taste wise, palm sugar is likened to molasses but it’s lighter and more caramel flavored.
Most known as the only sweetener to enhance dental health, Xylitol is surely one to try! Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is naturally present in small amounts in various fruits and vegetables. When cooking with Xylitol, substitute it for traditional sugar at a 1 to 1 ratio.
Erythritol is another sugar alcohol that is natural and tastes almost like sugar without the calories. Compared with xylitol that has 2.4 calories per gram, erythritol only has .24 calories per gram. Erythritol is an excellent alternative for diabetics.
Since many fruits are naturally sweet, opt for a 100% pure juice concentrate the next time you need to sweeten. Be sure to read the label carefully to ensure no added sugars are on the ingredients list.