Added sugar is one of the most controversial ingredients in the modern diet. Indeed, it has been linked to many serious illnesses, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Besides, part of the problem is that most people eat way too much sugar without knowing it. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to sweeten foods without adding sugar. So here are 3 healthy alternatives, backed by science, that you can use in place of sugar!
Coconut sugar is extracted from the sap of the coconut palm. It contains a few nutrients including iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium, as well as antioxidants.
It also has a lower glycemic index than white sugar, which may in part be due to its inulin content. Insulin is a type of soluble fiber that has been shown to slow digestion, increase feelings of fullness, and feed healthy bacteria in your gut. However, coconut sugar is still very high in calories, containing the same number of calories per serving as regular sugar. It is also very high in fructose, which is the main reason that regular sugar is so unhealthy.
Honey is a thick, golden liquid produced by bees. It contains traces of vitamins and minerals, as well as an abundance of beneficial antioxidants.
The phenolic acids and flavonoids in honey are responsible for its antioxidant activity, which can help prevent diabetes, inflammation, heart disease, and cancer. Numerous studies over the years have attempted to establish clear links between honey and weight loss, lowering glucose levels, and lowering high blood sugar. However, larger studies and more current research are needed to establish clear models. While honey has promising health benefits, it does contain fructose, which can contribute to a host of health issues.
Maple syrup is a thick, sweet liquid obtained by cooking the sap of maple trees. It contains a good amount of minerals, including calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and manganese.
It also contains more antioxidants than honey. A study in rodents found that when taken orally with sucrose, maple syrup reduced plasma glucose levels much more than taking sucrose alone. Oligosaccharides – a type of carbohydrate formed by several simple sugars – present in maple syrup are likely responsible for lowering plasma glucose levels. Oligosaccharides have also been shown to be effective against type 1 diabetes in mice. Test-tube studies have indicated that maple syrup may even have anti-cancer properties, but more research is needed to confirm this. Much like coconut sugar and honey, maple syrup is a slightly better option than regular sugar, but it should be eaten in moderation.
Why is eating too much sugar bad for your health?
Evidence suggests that those who follow diets high in added sugar are more likely to develop obesity.
Sugar can interfere with hormones in your body that regulate hunger and fullness, leading to increased calorie intake and weight gain. Also note that excessive sugar consumption can also adversely affect your metabolism, which can lead to increased insulin and fat storage. Likewise, high sugar intake is associated with poor oral health and some of the deadliest illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. In addition to causing health problems, sugar is addictive, it causes the release of dopamine in the brain’s reward center, which is the same response activated by addictive drugs. This causes food cravings and can lead to overeating, especially in people under stress. Also, do not hesitate to consider the alternatives described recently to satisfy your craving for sweets.