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Six sugar alternatives that pack a seriously sweet punch!

by , 13 October 2015

They say, “Know your enemy,” right? Then getting to know oft demonised sugar - as well as its myriad alternatives - probably isn't such a bad idea.

So first, sugar: Yes, it's as bad as you've heard. Studies have linked it to obesity, cognitive decline, cancer and heart disease.

The problem with many foods on the market today is that “hidden” sugars lurk in them. Yup, I'm talking pastries, bagels, cereals and all that yummy stuff. So you might be consuming too much sugar, putting yourself at risk of the problems I just listed, and not even know it!

That's why I'm going to share some great alternatives with you. Read on.

Six natural sweeteners

#1: Maple syrups
This syrup comes from maple trees. Manufacturers harvest the sap, then boil it down and filter it in sugar houses. It’s generally comprised of 70% sucrose, with a low fructose level. The syrup also contains a good about of antioxidants.
 
#2: Agave syrup
This syrup comes from the leaves of the leaves of the blue agave plant. It’s intensely sweet, so you don’t even need as much as regular sugar. But beware – this means it can spike your blood sugar quickly, so I wouldn’t recommend it to diabetics.
 
#3: Molasses
Molasses is a by-product of the sugar cane refining process. It’s rich in all the nutrients extracted from sugar during this process – iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, calcium and potassium. Thick, gooey blackstrap molasses is particularly rich in minerals and is a great vegan source of iron.
 
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#4: Honey
You know of this one already, but I’m mentioning it anyway. While the commercial type isn’t too different to sugar, the raw, organic type remains rich in nutrients. That’s why I always vote raw, organic honey – it’s great for you and it tastes great too!
 
#5: Coconut palm sugar
Coconut palm sugar comes from the sap of the coconut palm. It’s low in fructose and high in vitamin C and potassium. But just be warned – many coconut sugars you’ll find on supermarket shelves have added cane sugar. So read the lead before you buy! You want to opt for one without other ingredients. It’s great for baking.
 
#6: Date sugar
Date sugar comes from dehydrated, ground dates. It has no additives, and boasts a high potassium and antioxidant content. More antioxidants than nearly a dozen other popular sweeteners, according to a 2013 Virginia Tech study. 

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