Many of us are a “sweet tooth” and want to snack on sugary desserts. This temporary sweet satisfaction is usually followed by a feeling of guilt, especially for those who want to lose weight or have blood sugar problems. It has been more than five years that I stopped buying white or brown sugar as I switched to healthy alternatives that are as sweet as table sugar but far less toxic. Before diving into my favorite sugar alternatives, it is noteworthy to mention that sugar is almost found in all your groceries shopping items and it is very hard to avoid it. I try my best to avoid it as much as I can by carefully reading the label ingredients and also preparing my own desserts and sweet beverages at home.
1- Non-alcoholic liquid stevia: this is by far my favorite sweetener as it has a zero glycemic index, which means it makes your beverages, ice creams and other desserts very sweet but without causing post-meal blood sugar spike. Stevia is ideal for people with diabetes and other sugar-related problems and those who want to lose weight. Stevia is extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It is 150 times sweeter than table sugar, making it hard to substitute it for regular sugar in recipes. You can buy it in powdered or liquid form. The liquid is my favorite as it makes it easy to get the right sweetening without messing up the recipe. Usually I would use 4 drops for 16 oz beverage or 4-5 drops in ¾ cup of yogurt or ice cream. Here is my favorite vanilla yogurt recipe that literally takes few seconds to make without all the sugary ingredients that you find on labels: For a ¾ cup whole plain yogurt, I add 5 drops of liquid stevia and 1 teaspoon of organic vanilla flavoring. I top it with nuts or granola or frozen fruits and you get yourself a satisfyingly delicious and guilt-free dessert.
2- Raw unfiltered honey: scores low on the glycemic index score and is considered whole food sweetener. When buying honey, you want to make sure you do not get the processed honey, but the raw and unfiltered honey. Usually, it should be thick in consistency and not liquid-like. I use it in so many recipes and my favorite is the oats energy bars made with peanut butter and dark chocolate chips.
3- 100% pure Maple syrup: this tastes so good and also has many health benefits. It is derived from maple trees with little processing. It has many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Due to its polyphenol content, it can help reduce inflammation in the body and protects your skin and improves your digestion. You can use as a substitute for honey in recipes. Again, make sure you buy 100% pure and organic maple syrup and not the processed one. The darker the maple syrup, the lower the glycemic index score. Dark amber is the one I usually buy.
With these three healthy sugar alternatives, you can create healthy guilt-free desserts that not only taste sweet but are also good to your health.
By Rachad Atat