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Healthy Sweet Alternatives To Include In Your Diet

By Anagha Babu

You must have faced numerous occasions when you're in the mood to treat yourself with some mouth-watering sweets but you're just not allowed to do so because it can harm your health and trigger diabetes, obesity and numerous other ailments.

Don't worry, we've got some news that might just cheer you up - there are alternatives to sweets and sugar, which are healthy and affordable! Now you can munch down on your sweets without having to answer your doctor.

healthy sweet snacks recipes

Keeping away from sugar can be really hard, especially with all the tempting delicacies that seem to be filled with sugar, sweet and all things nice. On the other hand, not being able to control sugar cravings can have multiple outcomes, none of which we want to deal with.

The usual sugar that we use doesn't have much to boast about - it doesn't have proteins, vitamins or minerals good for our body. It often leads to weight gain, especially higher levels of fat and insulin, eventually leading to deadly diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc.

Why then are you still holding on to sugar? Don't worry, it's not your fault as sugar has an addictive nature and it might not be under your control all the time to keep away from it. But now you can bid goodbye to sugar because you have other healthier methods by which you can sweeten your favourite dishes.

Here are 8 healthy sweet alternatives that you can have when craving for sugary treats:

1. Stevia
2. Raw Honey
3. Erythritol
4. Dates
5. Yacon Syrup
6. Organic Coconut Sugar
7. Maple Syrup
8. Unsulfured Blackstrap Molasses

1. Stevia

Why choose Stevia?

• It's a natural sweetener extracted from the leaves of a shrub called Stevia rebaudiana.
• It has zero side effects, zero calories, many health benefits (lowers blood pressure, blood sugar levels, insulin levels, does not make you gain weight, fights diabetes) .
• It can be consumed on a regular basis.
• It's available in different varieties which differ slightly in taste.
• It's also available in both powder and liquid form.
• Due to the number of brands under which it is sold, make sure to buy it from a verified and genuine source only.

What can Stevia be used with?

Stevia is a complete replacement for sugar and can be used to sweeten any kind of dessert, pudding, smoothies, tea, coffee, etc. But you must take care of one thing - do not overuse it. A little bit of it would be enough to get the desired result. Next time you're making those brownies, ditch the sugar and show some Stevia-love.

2. Raw Honey

Why choose Honey?

• It's rich in antioxidants and contains moderate amounts of vitamins and minerals, small amounts of amino acids, antimicrobial agents and electrolytes.
• It helps with allergies and lowers the risk of diseases.
• A small amount of it would suffice to provide the sweetness that, in the case of sugar, would require large amounts.
• It contains fructose and hence, should be used in trace amounts.
• Like Stevia, honey is sold under various brand names and quality and authenticity should be ensured while purchasing it.

What can Honey be used with?

Honey and Stevia are more or less the same in this regard. They can be used with almost all food items except that honey, being in liquid form, cannot be used in preparing certain dishes, especially confectionery, wherein powdered forms of sugar cannot be replaced.

3. Erythritol

Why choose Erythritol?

• It does not contain the harmful effects of normal sugar, nor does it raise insulin levels, cholesterol or sugars. It doesn't cause teeth decay as well.
• It's a sugar alcohol but contains fewer calories -about 6% of the calories in actual sugar.
• It tastes almost like Sugar.
• The body cannot break down this compound and lets it get absorbed into the bloodstream, after which it is excreted out as urine.
• Consuming it too much may cause mild digestive issues.

What can you use Erythritol with?

It is available in both the powder and liquid forms and can be used with all items of cooking, all kinds of confectionery and desserts.

4. Dates

Why choose Dates?

• It's rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, especially potassium, and fibre.
• It has a lower glycemic index than sugar but is sweeter than per part of sugar.
• It slows down the rate of absorption of sugar because of its high fibre content.
• It regulates the sugar content in the body.
• The potassium removes toxins and helps balance electrolytic content in the body.
• It decreases cholesterol, improves energy and helps with constipation.

What can Dates be used with?

You can either use dates or dates syrup for cooking. Dates are a great option for making nutrient bars, smoothies and cakes. But they also go well with most other food items.

5. Yacon Syrup

Why choose Yacon Syrup?

• It is extracted from a plant of the same name.
• It's more or less like honey when it comes to consistency and has the same sweetness.
• It helps with weight loss.
• The sugar found in this syrup cannot be digested by the body and therefore, it contains only one-third of the calories in actual sugar.
• Unlike actual sugar, the sugar contained in this syrup helps the 'good' bacteria in the gut to function properly, reducing the risk of diseases like Candidiasis.
• If consumed in excess amounts, it can cause digestive problems in elderly people.

What can you use Yacon Syrup with?

Yacon syrup, unlike the other contents of this list, cannot be used in cooking and baking. This is because at very high temperatures, the sugar in the syrup - called fructooligosaccharides - starts to break down. That's why it's best to use this syrup in small amounts in tea or coffee or as a salad dressing.

6. Organic Coconut Sugar

Why use Organic Coconut Sugar?

• It is extracted from the sap of coconut palm.
• It's high in fibre, nutrients (iron, calcium, zinc, potassium), electrolytes and antioxidants.
• It contains Inulin, a type of fibre which reduces the rate of absorption of glucose, thereby rendering it a lower glycemic index than sugar.
• It is high in fructose and therefore, must be consumed in small amounts.

What can you use Organic Coconut Sugar with?

This type of sugar is available in the powder, paste as well as block forms and can be used in all food items as and however you prefer. Although, like other natural sweeteners, it must be used in controlled amounts.

7. Maple Syrup

Why use Maple Syrup?

• Like coconut sugar, it is made from the sap of maple trees.
• It has moderate amounts of nutrients like potassium, iron, calcium, zinc and manganese and is also rich in antioxidants.
• It has anti-inflammatory properties.
• It has a lower glycemic index than sugar, but it is also very close to that of sugar. That's why it should be consumed in controlled amounts. Although it does not raise blood sugar levels as fast as actual sugar does.
• It has an earthy flavour.

What can you use Maple Syrup with?

Maple Syrup is the good old maple syrup that has been paired with foods like waffles, pies, etc. Even though it can be used with beverages with coffee, small amounts of the syrup are enough to make your coffee as sweet as you want, as is the case with honey.

8. Unsulfured Blackstrap Molasses

Why choose Unsulfured Blackstrap Molasses?

• It is a by-product of the regular cane sugar and contains comparatively less sugar content.
• It is also rich in vitamins and minerals that are usually found in sugar cane.
• It is high in nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc.

What can you use Blackstrap Molasses with?

It is a great alternative to regular sugar and can be used with all kinds of foods, confectionery, and beverages like tea and coffee.

Even though natural sweeteners are a great way to get the desired sweetness minus the unhealthy effects in your food, you still have to use them in controlled amounts lest it should give away the same effect sugar would have on your body. It is always advisable to consult your doctor before you switch to one of these alternatives. Happy munching!

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