Health professionals are finally admitting that the root cause of America’s health crisis isn’t fat (healthy fats are actually good for your health), but sugar. This well-known toxin is the main dietary cause of obesity and serious diseases like diabetes and cancer.
But, since sugar is highly addictive, eliminating it from the diet can be quite difficult. As a matter of fact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average U.S citizen consumes whopping 34 teaspoons of sugar a day, which is more than 500 calories, and more than 100 pounds of sugar over the course of a year.
The good news is that we can all satisfy our sweet tooth and avoid the refined, white sugar at the same time. There are plenty of all-natural sugar substitutes you can consume that will help reduce the risk of diseases and fight obesity. Here are the options:
- Raw Honey
Honey is high in natural sugar, but it is also a good source of amino acids, antioxidants, and powerful antimicrobial compounds that provide a variety of health benefits. Some studies conducted in recent years suggest that honey can help with weight management, seasonal allergies, and sleep problems.
Honey should be consumed in moderation, like any other sweetener. The best way to use it is by adding it to your meals. You can drizzle some honey on cereal or toast, add it to yogurt, or include it in your energy-boosting morning smoothie.
Stevia has become one of the most recognizable natural sweeteners everywhere around the world. But, keep in mind that not all stevia products are the same. The best variety is full green leaf stevia, because it offers the most health benefits. According to some studies, it can be very helpful in the fight against obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
It’s important to note that stevia is 200 times sweeter than sugar, but has zero calories and no carbohydrates. However, this doesn’t mean you should use cups of it at a time. It’s best to add just a few drops in your tea or smoothie, and it also goes well for baking. Also, keep in mind that stevia does not brown like regular sugar, so avoid using it for caramelizing.
Like honey, dates also contain natural sugar and some super healthy compounds like phytonutrients, fiber, and potassium. As a result of that, dates like the Medjool variety have the ability to reduce the levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, relieve constipation, boost energy levels, and strengthen bones.
Dates are especially good when used in baking, or added to smoothies. Another common use for dates is as an appetizer or snack.
- Coconut Sugar
Organic coconut sugar can replace white sugar in just about any recipe in a one-to-one ratio. This healthy sugar substitute provides a good dose of important vitamins and minerals, and can significantly improve your gut health.
Coconut sugar is a bit drier and coarser than white sugar, so you may need to add extra liquid to get the same texture when making your baked goods.
- Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is a syrup usually made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees. It contains plenty of antioxidants, reduces the risk of inflammatory diseases, protects the skin, and improves digestion.
This amazing sweetener can be used in many recipes, including marinades, dressings, glazes, and baked recipes. You can also add it in your coffee or tea in place of refined sugar.