Your guide for natural sweeteners.
In my last post , I talked about the emotional link with sweet and how to deal with it. Here I will give you some of the options which you can opt to eliminate refined sugar from your diet. But can still enjoy the taste of sweetness by limiting side effects of refined sugar.
Refined Sugar is high in calories and has ‘ZERO’ health benefit. The frequent intake of sugar may lead to Blood Pressure fluctuations, risk of diabetes and other chronic problems.
Some of the sugar substitute options you can go for are :
Jaggery is the basic ingredient found in every home in India and is probably the most inexpensive form of natural sweetener. It is made by boiling concentrated sugar cane contents until it hardens.
Jaggery comes with loads of health benefits; is a great option for boosting one’s immunity and iron level. It prevents constipation, detoxifying the liver, curing cough and cold, keep body warm in winters, as well as being a source of energy.
Palm / Coconut Sugar :
Palm sugar is a sweetener that is made from the sap present in the flower buds of the coconut palm tree. It involves minimum processing and no chemicals are used. It contains minerals Iron, Zinc, Calcium and Potassium, along with some short chain fatty acids, polyphenols and antioxidants that provide some health benefits.
Coconut sugar is similar to Palm sugar but made from a different type of palm tree.
Fruits are big and healthy source of sweetener. Make them ‘must-have’ part of your diet. Banana, fig, lychee, grapes, mango are high in sugar. But watch the right time to eat fruits. Refer “Fruits are making you fat” post for more information.
Natural Raw Honey :
Raw honey is unprocessed, contains antibacterial and antiviral qualities. It therefore is a carrier of beneficial qualities.
Honey contains vitamins and trace amounts of minerals, iron, calcium, and copper.
It is also great for those who are prone to allergies, and speeds up the process of healing eye infections and curing throat conditions. It is an anytime energy booster. I vote it as the best substitute of refined sugar.
Nutmug (Jayfal in Hindi), Cinnamon (dalchini), Cloves(Kalimirch), Muce(Gada), Cardamom(Ilaichi) are some of the spices adds distinct flavors and lessens your temptation to add sugar.
Your spice cabinet have many health-giving properties; helps in toothaches, muscle aches, and improve blood sugar-regulating effects. Give you body stronger digestion, reduce gas and bloating, decrease nausea and enhance libido.
Dates – One more great substitute of refined sugar and well known for it’s healing power. Dates are a good source of various vitamins and minerals, energy, sugar, and fiber. It also contains calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and zinc.
It is rich in protein and vitamins(B1, B2, B3 and B5, as well as A1 and C). Few dates in a day fulfill the vitamin need of your body. It improves cholesterol, strengthens the nervous system, promote beautiful skin and improve the bone power.The sugar, proteins, and other vitamins in the fruit help in weight gain.
All of the above listed are natural form of sugar and does not put bad effect as processed sugar and processed sugary food items. But as with all sweet stuff, too much can make one pack on a little extra weight. The calories difference between refined sugar and these natural sweetener is not significant. They give you similar amount of calories as refined sugar but with addition of health benefits. Moderate and limited quantity of these, with healthy food and regular fitness routine will definitely provide you the required results.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
However, not all sweeteners are created equal but are linked to weight gain and should be consumed sparingly. Some of them contain beneficial prebiotics or small amounts of vitamins and minerals, while others lack any nutrient aside from sugar and are considered “empty” calories. Still, for most people, sweeteners are a part of their everyday lives, but important here is to keep our overall intake limited and within the guidelines.
Which ones do you use and why? Which ones do you stay away from? Share us your thoughts!