Sugar is one of the most prevalent addictions most of us tend to have. I mean, who does not love something sweet? Yet, the intake of sugar, especially in an uncontrolled measure, is known to be a cause of unhealthy lifestyles.
There are multiple ways to break away from sugar addiction and ensure to live a healthy lifestyle. Sugar is known to lead to unhealthy weight gain, which in extreme cases, may cause severe health problems.
There are several ways you can use to break away from sugar addiction. One of them is to always watch out for any hidden sugars in commodities. Other options include keeping sugary foods away, avoiding excess stress, which leads to cravings.
Finally, the option that this article is going to take you through breaking away from the sugar addiction is by having an alternative sweetener. So, let me walk you through these options.
Categories of Sugar Substitutes
There are several options that you can use as substitutes for sugar. These options are known for their reduced amounts of calories. They help in reducing cases of obesity, diabetes, and conditions of the heart.
The classification of the substitutes can be in these three categories:
Functional Sweeteners – These sweeteners include sugar alcohols, also known as Polyols, rare sugars, and bulking agents. It naturally occurs in some fruits and vegetables and is lower in calories compared to sugar but is also less sweet. They are most common among food manufacturers.
Artificial Sweeteners – These are sugar substitutes that are produced chemically and do not occur naturally. They include saccharin, sucralose, neotame, and acesulfame.
Natural Sweeteners – These are sweeteners that are naturally occurring and are extracted naturally from plants. Stevia is an example of a natural sweetener.
Types of Sugar substitutes
Now that you have information on the categories of sweeteners, let us look at the individual types of sweeteners.
Raw honey is one of the most widely accepted forms of sugar substitute that you can use. It is among the world’s oldest sweeteners. The acceptance is because it is naturally occurring.
The darker varieties of honey are known to have antibacterial properties. It is also easy to digest since its molecular structure is similar to that of glucose.
• It is useful as natural medicine.
• The anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties are beneficial.
• It is efficient, paired with ginger, to eliminate cold.
• Honey is still a sugar, hence should also be consumed in small quantities.
• It is not as sweet as sugar due to its water content.
Xylitol (Birch Sugar)
Xylitol also referred to as Birch sugar, is a sugar alcohol sweetener. It is naturally occurring in a lot of vegetables and fruits like plums and cauliflower. It is an extract of birch wood or corn.
Xylitol can also be produced industrially in large quantities. The Xylose provided by hydrolyzing Xylan is processed to obtain Xylitol.
• The content of calories that is in Xylitol is 40% less than that found in refined sugar.
• It does not cause cavity and is as sweet as the regular sugar.
• It is as sweet as sugar
• The disadvantage of Xylitol is that it is not free of calories. It has about 240 calories in every 100 grams.
• Consuming large amounts of Xylitol is known to cause flatulence and, in other cases, severe diarrhea. You should, therefore, take it in moderated amounts.
This alternative sweetener occurs by cooking the sap obtained from the map trees. Based on some tests, Marple syrup may have anti-cancer benefits. It is a well-balanced sweetener as it has potassium, manganese, calcium, zinc, and iron in decent amounts.
The Marple syrup contains 24 types of antioxidants and lower levels of glycemic index as compared to sugar. If you are going to use this syrup as an alternative to sugar, you must use it in moderation.
• It is a natural product
• It has over 50 beneficial compounds
• It contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
• It is not as sweet as sugar
• The ingredients may contain glucose and fructose.
Stevia is a sweetener that occurs naturally from a shrub known as Stevia rebaudiana. Stevia is known to contain no calories ant all, and this attribute helps you with calorie reduction and elimination of weight gains.
One of its natural compounds known as Stevioside helps in the reduction of high blood pressure by between 6% and 14%.
Stevia is known to cause a decrease in insulin and blood sugar levels, helping to fight the effects of diabetes. It does not have any adverse health effects on the users, so it is one of your best alternatives.
• Stevia does not have calories
• It causes damage to teeth.
• It does not increase blood sugar levels, reducing cases of diabetes.
• It may have a bitter aftertaste.
• Chemically extracted Stevia has no essential nutrients.
It is a sweetener in the category of other sugar alcohols. It contains low levels of calories at about 0.24 calories for every gram. Erythritol functions very differently as compared to sugar.
It is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and excreted in urine since the body enzymes cannot break it down.
This sweetener does not raise your blood sugar, cholesterol, insulin, or triglyceride levels. It is one of the best alternatives for those who may be diabetic and overweight.
• It does not affect blood sugar levels
• It has low levels of calories
• It is friendly to the teeth
• It is quite costly
This article outlines some of the alternatives to the use of sugar that you can be able to adapt. The consumption of unlimited amounts of sugar has been the cause of numerous diseases that affect our health.
The use of these alternatives is therefore encouraged, but in moderation for great benefits. It is also important for you to find the sugar alternative that works best for you.
I hope this information benefits you in picking the best alternative.