10 Healthy Substitutes for Refined Sugar
- Stevia – Stevia is a natural sweetener that comes from the leaves of the South American shrub “Stevia rebaudiana”. This is a plant-based sweetener that is extracted from one of two compounds known as glycosides: stevioside and rebaudioside A. And yes, these compounds contain 0 CALORIES, are 450 times sweeter than refined sugar, and they taste a bit different too. Human and animal research shows that replacing sugar with stevia helps weight loss and reduces blood sugar levels. Even so, there is still ongoing research to show if stevia is capable of affecting your gut microbiome. Unfortunately, there is no stable research in this direction yet.
- Sugar alcohols – Have you ever heard of sugar alcohols? They’re also known as polyols, and they represent a type of carbohydrate that is naturally found in fruits and vegetables. For example, popular sugar alcohols are used as sugar alternatives (now these might ring a bell): erythritol, xylitol, and maltitol. Even better, the bacteria that you have in your mouth don’t ferment sugar alcohols, which means that these sugars won’t damage your teeth. They are often used in products that have the “0 sugar” label, so they have fewer calories.
- Monk fruit sweetener – Monk fruit extract can be obtained from the Siraitia grosvenorii plant, which is found in China. Even though monk fruit is 300 times sweeter than table sugar, it doesn’t contain any calories. The sweetness comes from compounds known as mogrosides, primarily mogroside V. So, monk fruit doesn’t contain calories and doesn’t affect blood sugar levels, so we LOVE it already. But that’s not all! It also promotes weight loss and improves blood sugar levels if you replace regular sugar with it.
- Allulose – Allulose is also known as D-allulose, and it’s a monosaccharide/sugar that already exists in some fruits. It has 70% of the sweetness of table sugar and only 0.2 calories per gram. Even more, allulose mimics the taste of regular sugar and helps reduce blood sugar and insulin levels in people with/without diabetes. So, are you telling me that we have a healthier alternative to sugar that’s identical to it and has fewer calories? Sign me up, please!
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