If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, metabolic disorder or just want to cut the “empty” calories, Mayo Clinic specialists and Dr. Josh Axe recommend to substitute sugar to these artificial and natural sweeteners:
It may have more calories than white sugar but it is definitely much healthier. Also, it is a great source of enzymes and minerals (like iron, calcium, magnesium, iodine, cobalt, etc). Honey also has organic acids, tannins, B vitamins and other essential nutrients.
It is made from the discharge taken from the maple trunk and then it is evaporated. As a result, you get is a thick syrup of light brown color. Maple syrup can be a great source of sugar, vitamins (mostly, B vitamins – niacin, biotin, and folic acid) as well as mineral salts (magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, fluoride, iodine, etc.). Maple syrup is less caloric than added sugar and raw honey. It is famous for its anti-inflammatory and antitumor effects, also contains many antioxidants.
It is a natural sugar substitute that is not only sweet but also contains a lot of valuable microelements for health. Dates are the source of many vitamins – B, A, C, and E, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. The date syrup has many healthy properties – can lower the level of sugar and cholesterol in your blood, has an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect. Also, dates are a source of antioxidants. Since the date syrup contains simple sugars, it is recommended to people after intensive workouts, because it supplies energy to a human body, eliminates the glycogen deficiency in your liver and muscles.
Blackstrap molasses are good for those people who need natural sweeteners. Also, blackstrap molasses are a great natural source of potassium, calcium, and iron. One tablespoon of molasses contains more iron than a 3-ounce serving of red meat. However, being a by-product of sugar cane juice it is still sugar and can’t be recommended for people with diabetes.
This plant originates from South America. The main feature of Stevia powder is a very sweet taste because it is 150-300 times sweeter than added sugar. In addition, it has zero calories. Also, this plant has health-promoting properties like the antifungal and antibacterial effect and lowering high blood pressure. Stevia can be even grown at home in a pot. Its leaves can be dried and turned into a powder to add to your favorite drinks or pastry instead of sugar.
Agave syrup, licorice, and dried fruits are also commonly used for replacing added sugar.
The worst sweeteners that can cause health problems
Along with the healthy sugar alternatives, there are a few sugar substitutes for diabetics that have to be avoided, at least, according to the professional opinion of Dr. Josh Axe and some Healthline experts. Consider avoiding these sugar replacement products:
- Aspartame – a common chemical sugar replacement that is usually added to diet soda and low-calorie foods. However, you may feel unwell after regular consuming the products with Aspartame and a recent study held by the experts from the University of Liverpool claims that it can be also toxic for your brain;
- Agave nectar may consist of 90% of fructose that may go directly to your liver and result in insulin resistance or fatty liver diseases not related to alcoholism;
- Sucralose (more known under its brand title Splenda) is anything but natural. It is based on chlorine that may significantly interfere with metabolic processes and photosynthesis;
- High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) can make your waistline growing faster and it is added to many processed foods like bread, yogurts, salad dressing, and even ketchup. On average, Americans consume about 200 calories of HFCS per day.
You know what they say – better safe than sorry. That is why before switching to any new sugar alternative (especially if you are a diabetic), consider visiting a health care specialist.