Sugar is such an unfortunate guilty pleasure for many of us, although it has been linked to many things from obesity, to tooth decay, and diabetes. Most sugar comes from the sugar cane plant, a highly water intensive crop grown mainly under monoculture condition across the tropics. Sugar cane has been accused of being responsible for a greater loss of biodiversity than any other crop. What can we try in place of this addictive sweetener? I will give you a list of 5 Sugar Alternatives:
Stevia is the leaves of the warm-climate stevia rebaudiana plant. This product’s features being natural, have no carbs or calories, and it doesn’t raise blood sugar. Stevia is sold as both dried leaves and more processed powders, and is usually found in local health stores. Be sure to not confuse Stevia with Truvia, as they are not the same.
Honey is flower nectar that’s collected by bees, naturally broken down into simple sugars, and stored in honeycombs. Commercial brands are usually no different than sugar, however raw honey remains rich in nutrients. Try raw, organic, local honey as the ideal natural sweetener, as they usually require no processing and are ready to go.
Generally free of side effects in regular use, however doses over 50 grams (1.8 oz) can cause a significant increase in nausea and stomach rumbling. Erythritol is a white powder from a plant, occurs naturally in many fruits, and is only 0.2 calories per gram. Want one extra perk? It doesn’t cause tooth decay.
Molasses is a viscous by-product of the refining of sugarcane or sugar beets into sugar. Producing sugar from sugar cane has a negative environmental impact, not using all the products only compounds it. Due to the methods in which traditional tabletop sugar is produced, many of the nutritional benefits are left in the molasses. Blackstrap molasses is perhaps the most beneficial and is a good source of iron and calcium. It’s quite thick and viscous and is best used in baking. It is also sweeter than sugar and so you’ll need less.
Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice (malt) syrup, also known as rice syrup or rice malt, is a sweetener produced by culturing cooked rice starch with saccharifying enzymes to break down the starches, followed by straining off the liquid and reducing it by evaporative heating until the desired consistency is reached. Better for cooking than adding to tea, it can also be used as a condiment and drizzled over pancakes or porridge. It has a slightly butterscotch flavor to it. Although more heavily processed than some of the others on this list, it does transfer many of the benefits of brown rice to the eater.