When you sip your morning cup of tea or coffee, you may reach out for that extra spoon of sugar just to get an instant lift. You even add a dash of sugar to your cereal or oatmeal. Sugar intake does not end just there. You enjoy your ice cream, pastry, canned juice, candies, chocolates and other processed food. These can all contain high amounts of hidden sugars. Have you ever stopped to really think about how much sugar you consume subconsciously within a day? Research reveals that you ingest about 500 extra calories per day, just from sugar alone.
Often individuals consume high levels of refined sugar goods because they can appear more palatable and cheap. Sugar is considered to be one of the most damaging ingredients that you can ingest. It not only adds to excess weight gain, but it can also cause many diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, pancreatitis etc.
If you are trying to reduce your sugar intake and cut calories from your diet, there are healthier substitutes which you can use to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Xylitol is a natural sweetener. Despite its synthetic sounding name, it is made from the bark of birch tree and looks and tastes like sugar. It has less of an impact on the blood sugar levels due to its low GI, which means it gives a sweet taste without giving a rush or spiking your blood sugar. It is also low in calories and doesn’t cause tooth decay. You can use Xylitol as a substitute in many recipes.
Stevia, also known as Truevia, Purevia and SweetLeaf and is made from a herbal plant and is much sweeter than sugar. It has zero calories and won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar level. You can use Stevia in your coffee, tea or in your bowl of yoghurt or cereal.
Dried fruits which are naturally sweet, including dates, raisins, bananas, grated apple, figs and apricots are ideal sugar substitutes while baking. They are also loaded with water and fibre. These ingredients provide a wide range of nutrients, however watch portion size as they can be quite calorific.
Grated carrots, parsnip and beetroot are good sugar substitutes you can use while baking. They are low on calories and provide excellent benefits for your health.
Honey is another natural fructose sugar. It is a great natural source of carbohydrate and absorbed quickly by the body. Some honeys provide antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties which aid in boosting your immune system. It also helps fight infection besides improving your digestive functioning. But remember to choose raw honey and not the processed one.
You should, however, keep in mind that excessive intake of these natural sweeteners can be harmful. So, keep a check on the serving size before you add an extra spoon of these sugar substitutes.
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