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There are many sugar alternatives, but what are the differences? And are sugar substitutes healthy? We present seven alternatives to conventional table sugar.
7 Natural Sugar Alternatives:
1. Agave Syrup / Agave Syrup
Agave syrup is a vegan honey substitute that is made from the juice of the agave plant. You should be careful when dosing, as it has a significantly higher sweetness than honey or sugar. It is also relatively viscous. Caution: If you suffer from fructose intolerance, you should better choose another sugar alternative, because agave syrup consists of 80 percent fructose!
2. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup not only goes well with pancakes, it is also a natural sugar alternative. As the name suggests, it is made from maple trees. The syrup has a slightly bitter taste and is less sweet than conventional sugar. Since it has a fructose content of 30 percent, this sugar substitute is also not suitable for people with fructose intolerance.
3. Birch Sugar / Xylitol
You may already know xylitol from your dental hygiene chewing gum. Sugar alcohol is said to protect against tooth decay and plaque. Its sweetness is very similar to that of sugar. Unfortunately, when consumed excessively, xylitol has a swelling or laxative effect and should therefore not be used in large quantities. It is also relatively expensive. Xucker, probably the best-known manufacturer of xylitol.
4. Erythritol / Xucker Light
Erythritol, like xylitol, is a sugar alcohol. It is manufactured chemically and has about 70 percent of the sweetness of sugar. Erythritol has no calories, no taste of its own and is better tolerated by many than, for example, xylitol.
Every child knows honey. However, the bee product is not recommended as an alternative to sugar. Honey can contain up to 40 percent fructose and is therefore taboo for all people with fructose intolerance. It contains 82 g of sugar per 100 g and is anything but low in calories at 304 kilocalories.
6. Coconut blossom sugar
Coconut blossom sugar is obtained from the nectar of the coconut palm . It is one of the foods with a low glycemic index . This means that, unlike conventional sugar, it causes the blood sugar level to rise more slowly. In addition, coconut blossom sugar is said to be relatively nutrient-rich and contain magnesium, iron and zinc, among other things. Don’t worry if you are not a big coconut fan: coconut blossom sugar has a pleasant caramel taste.
Stevia is made from the leaves of the stevia plant and has a sweetening power that is estimated to be up to 300 times stronger than that of commercially available sugar. You can get it liquid *, powdered * or as small tablets * in stores. Stevia is low in calories and relatively cheap. However, it has a slightly bitter taste that does not appeal to everyone.
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Sugar Alternatives Advantages and Disadvantages:
Reaching for sugar substitutes has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, you can satisfy your sweet tooth without consuming industrial sugar. On the other hand, this does not necessarily mean that you eat healthier or lower in calories , nor does it solve the basic problem behind your sugar addiction . After all, your taste buds remain sweet and the “danger” that you will switch back to conventional sugar is more than big. It is better if you reduce your sugar consumption bit by bit and learn to do without sugar substitutes. First try to put off simple routines and, for example, omit the sugar / sweetener / honey in tea.
The sugar alternatives mentioned all have their advantages and disadvantages. Just try out which variant you like best. But keep in mind, relying solely on sugar substitutes is not a healthy way to curb your sweet tooth. Rather, you should look at how you can permanently reduce your sugar intake in any form. After all, agave syrup, honey are also not very low in calories and should only be enjoyed in moderation.
There are many alternatives to exchange sugar. Which one is the right one for you always decides your personal taste and the intended use. For example, coconut blossom sugar is quite expensive, whereas stevia is not suitable for baking.
Nevertheless, experts agree that you can make a good choice with natural sugar alternatives such as honey or maple syrup: Both are natural products without chemicals, which have valuable nutrients and can be metabolized well by our body – in well-dosed form.