I’ve been off white sugar now for 18 months and have found some great options that are less processed and more beneficial to my body. Of course there are times when white sugar is unavoidable in certain foods as in the occasional, deserved, and cherished cupcake or gelato, but when I am in control of the ingredients I choose to not use processed white sugar. My body does not react to it well and I don’t like the highs and lows it produces. I also don’t like the addictive effect it has on my system complete with cravings and energy/mood swings. There are a billion articles written on the dangers of sugar so I won’t bore you. I will just say I am NOT a fan of this stuff so liberally infused in all processed, packaged foods, and worse yet- in children’s foods.
Some alternative options that I enjoy:
HONEY: I’ve found honey works well in a lot of recipes. The consistency is great for baking and cooking and it has such a distinct flavor that it can really add to whatever you’re making. It contains vitamins, minerals and enzymes. I try to buy local honey, not because of the debatable idea that it cures allergies, but because I want to support local beekeepers! Read about my honey snack I love here
AGAVE is sweeter and thinner than honey so not as much is needed. I use agave mixed with honey in baking. It’s almost TOO sweet for me sometimes. Made from cactus plants, it is more refined than other natural sweeteners but it is lower on the glycemic index. Basically that means your body takes longer to convert it so your blood sugar doesn’t spike and fall as rapidly as it does with white sugar. Honey, however, is high on the GI.
BROWN RICE SYRUP is a recent sweetener for me to try. It has a thick consistency (marshmallowy) and not quite as sweet as the others. It has a distinct somewhat butterscotch flavor. It’s great for baking and thickening dressings or sauces.
MOLASSES is an often forgotten dark syrup with a very distinct flavor. It is the most nutritious sugar substitute. Great for baking, the taste is so nostalgic to me I like to take small spoonfuls of it whenever the jar is open. Good source of iron.
STEVIA is a plant based sweetener made from stevia leaves that comes in liquid or powder form. I honestly don’t like this for baking but it’s good for coffee/tea or if you want to add to a dressing. It has zero effect on blood sugar. It still has that slightly “fake” taste to me though…..
TURBINADO SUGAR is juice from sugar cane plant that has been heated and dried. Also known as “Sugar in the Raw”. This is closest in texture and flavor to white sugar. I don’t use it often unless I’m baking something special that calls for a lot of white sugar. Which is rare.
There are several more I have yet to try but these are the ones I use most often and have had success with. The great news is that tastebuds adapt very quickly when you cut back on sweet stuff and sugar. It only took me a few days to really appreciate the natural sweetness of foods. Without added sugar in my diet, sweet potatoes, carrots, corn, and most all fruit now are satisfyingly sweet, as they were meant to be!
What are your favorite natural sweets?