If you read Artificial Sweeteners: A Not So Sweet Deal, you realize artificial sweeteners are one reason why you might get fat and stay fat. For that reason, I thought I’d provide a list of some naturally sweet deals that are better for you than regular white processed sugar or artificial sweeteners.
- Agave: Agave is a natural sweetener, and one type of agave—blue agave—is used to make mezcal or tequila. Olé! It can be found as a nectar or syrup at health food stores, and it’s 1.4 times as sweet as sugar, has 60 calories to a tablespoon, and readily dissolves in coffee, tea, or other beverages. In addition, it’s beneficial to diabetics because it has a low glycemic index and can help keep blood sugar levels even.
- Fruit Juices: While fruit juices are processed, they are still better choices than regular sugar and much better choices than artificial sweeteners. You can use apple, pineapple, or orange juice in salad dressings and sauces.
- Honey: Rich in flavor, honey can be used as a substitute for white sugar in things such as coffee, tea, smoothies, or other beverages. It has 45 calories to a tablespoon, and, when baking, you use half as much honey as sugar. However, keep in mind, honey adversely affects blood sugar levels.
- Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is flavorful and sweet tasting. Substitute 2/3 of cup for 1 cup of white or brown sugar in any recipe. Maple Syrup has 40 calories to the tablespoon.
- Raw Sugar: Raw sugar is what’s left over when sugarcane is processed to make regular table sugar and molasses. There are three types of raw sugar produced.
- Barbados Sugar: This deep chocolate brown moist sugar is steam cleaned and contains a high level of molasses. It is sometimes referred to as a poor man’s sugar because of the simple process it undergoes, and, for that reason, it’s high in magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium, which white sugar lacks having been stripped of its nutrients when processed. Barbados sugar has 11 calories to the teaspoon, and you can buy this sweetener at import stores or online at SugarIndia.
- Demerara Sugar: This sugar has a coarse texture and a slight crunch. It is minimally processed, and its rich taste is similar to molasses. You can use it as replacement for ordinary table sugar or in foods you want to have a crunch, such as cookies or scones. It has 11 calories to the teaspoon.
- Turbinado Sugar: This is a golden brown pressed sugar with large crystals and tastes somewhat similar to molasses. It adds moisture and usually replaces brown sugar in recipes. It is lower in calories than table sugar at 11 calories to the teaspoon.