Sweet! Healthful Alternatives To Processed White Sugar
If you are looking to lose weight or feel better, cutting down on processed sugar is a great first step. Eliminating processed white sugar can also help you to level-out your insulin level and could improve the performance of your pancreas, particularly if you are prone to diabetes. Look for healthier options when seeking something to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Some alternatives to white sugar include:
Coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is a plant-based sweetener that fits in vegan and vegetarian diets. It is dry in texture and dark in color, so it makes a great replacement for conventional brown sugar. Coconut sugar does have a slight coconut flavor and aroma, but it works well in baking, as you can substitute the same amount of coconut sugar for the processed sugar called for in your recipe.
Maple syrup. Maple syrup is a great plant-based sweetener that you can use in baking, but that also tastes good as a table sugar, such as in cereal or in your morning coffee. Go with high-grade, pure maple syrup, and use a splash in smoothies to sweeten them. A good rule of thumb is to use the darker amber syrup for cooking, as the rich flavor complements many recipes.
Agave syrup. Agave syrup is a great substitute for sweeteners, especially when you are looking for something with a neutral flavor. This comes in liquid form, so it is perfect for sweetening beverages, like tea, coffee, or smoothies. It is light in color and slightly less sweet than sugar, so sweeten your recipes accordingly.
Brown rice syrup. Brown rice syrup is another plant-based sweetener that is thick and rich, like molasses. This works well in baking, and can also be used in glazes or icing. It is not always easy to find rice syrup, but health food stores or specialty grocers may carry it.
Organic honey. There are many benefits to substituting processed sugar for organic honey. Eating honey before bed can help with weight loss, as it levels out glucose in the liver and can burn fat while you sleep!
Baking with sugar substitutes can impact texture and cook time:
- Not all sugars are created equal; typically, there is a key on the label that indicates how much will equate to a specified amount of white sugar. Use this to convert recipes and make accurate measurements in baking.
- Keep both dry and liquid sugar substitutes on hand to ensure you can replicate recipes successfully, without changing the texture too much.
- Often coconut sugar is denser than conventional sugar so gauge cooking time accordingly. For instance, bake bread containing coconut sugar a bit longer to prevent a gummy texture.
If you're having trouble locating a sugar substitute that you like, check out companies like Sugar 2.0.