February 11 2021 – Mukesh Kumar
The love for sugar is undeniable. Everyone loves a good and tasty dessert. Classical white sugar is extracted from sugar cane. Sugarcane gets converted into a brown syrup of molasses. This syrup is further centrifuged. These molasses are further isolated from the sugar crystals and get converted into white sugar.
While sugar occurs naturally, it has downsides such as high-calorie content that does not contain fiber or protein. Sugar induces a spike of insulin, which is especially bad news for diabetic patients. Refined sugars, however, are not a healthy option. Some of the adverse effects of refined sugars are certain kinds of cancer, diabetes, loss of a tooth, obesity, cardiac disease, and impaired brain function. Thus consumers continue to get intrigued by non-natural sweeteners or chemically sweetened foods. The artificial sweetener normally has fewer calories for food. It works to sweeten the taste. So, here are few sweeteners that are as effective as sugar.
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1. Unprocessed Honey: Unprocessed Honey is one of the world's favorite natural sweeteners. It is a good substitute for refined sugar. Unprocessed Honey is rich in vitamin B6, zinc, iron, calcium, potassium, antioxidants, niacin, and riboflavin. It contains all the essential vitamins too. Collectively, these essential nutrients help to cut many health-related issues. The local beekeepers or the local market collect raw honey directly. Honey loses many of its health benefits after the process of pasteurization, which is only found in raw honey. When the sugar gets darker, the flavor is richer and the health supplies are better. There are 64 calories in one unprocessed honey tablespoon. We should always check all the crucial aspects into account before consuming anything.
2. Stevia: Stevia is a very sweet herb that used by the people in Brazil to make sweetened beverages from the 16th century. It is also used while making tea. It is an effective natural sweetener. This plant has been used for more than 1500 years by the Guarani tribe of South America. These leaves are commonly used by the people of Brazil and Paraguay to sweeten local teas and medicines. Stevia also aids in quick weight loss support. One Stevia leaf is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is a great natural sweetener with minimal calories and no bad adverse consequences like artificial sweeteners.
3. Jaggery: Jaggery is a popular Indian sweetener. Jaggery is available in our nearby supermarkets. It has many health advantages. Sugar cane plays a great role in the preparation of jaggery. It's very healthy and tasty. Digestion, asthma, cough, and cold are easily cured by jaggery. It helps in relieving headaches. Nerves, muscles, and blood vessels are also relieved. It contains essential nutrients including minerals and vitamins. It has plenty of iron, sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus. It's also anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic. It contributes to anemic hemoglobin levels and increases immunity. Jaggery is also helpful in lowering down blood pressure.
4. Coconut Sugar: Cultivators get coconut sugar from the palm sap of the coconut tree. It includes many nutrients, such as iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, and antioxidants. Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index than sugar, and this can be attributable to its insulin content. Insulin is a peptide hormone released by the pancreas. It helps in regulating blood sugar levels and plays a significant role in controlling glucose levels. Coconut sugar is often confused with palm sugar but is a much healthier option than palm sugar and refined white sugar.
5. Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is a dark, translucent, brown liquid formed by the sap of the maple trees. It contains a large number of minerals. Calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and manganese, among others. It is also richer in antioxidants. The maple syrup is likely to contain the lower plasma glucose levels in oligosaccharides. Oligosaccharide is a carbohydrate with many simple sugars. Research shows that oligosaccharides are quite effective against type 1 diabetes. Several experiments have shown that maple syrup can have anti-cancer effects. Maple syrup is also quite high in calories despite some beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. The glycemic index is much lower than normal sugar, so blood sugar levels do not increase as rapidly. However, it's always going to lift them. Like coconut sugar and honey, maple syrup is a little better choice than normal sugar.
You can seek the help of natural sugar substitutes to help with sugar cravings. But it is essential to understand that alternatives to sugar are not a magical solution to your health issues. A balanced diet with regular exercise is the key to a healthy life. You should know that sugar substitutes can actually make you crave sweets and more sucrose foods. In certain studies, sugar substitutes have also been associated with an increased risk of glucose intolerance or gain in weight. While sugar choices can be slightly less than pure sugar in calories, remember to restrict your intake, as this may also have health implications.