Honey to Figs: 6 Natural Sugar Alternatives For A Healthy Diet
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Artificial sweeteners, also known as fake sweeteners, are sugar substitutes that offer sweetness without the calories or carbs of regular sugar. These synthetic alternatives are much sweeter than natural sweeteners and are commonly used by individuals dealing with obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. 

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), and neotame are frequently found in diet soda, sugar-free desserts, chewing gum, and tabletop sweeteners. While these sweeteners are widely consumed, the debate remains: Are they beneficial or harmful to health? 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) strongly advises non-diabetics to avoid artificial sweeteners, while diabetics can consume them in moderation. Recent research by the WHO reveals that regular consumption of artificial sugars by non-diabetic individuals has been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, with a 12% higher risk of death. While artificial sweeteners may reduce calorie intake, they do not contribute to weight loss. 

Thus, WHO recommended limiting the intake of artificial sweeteners or avoiding them if possible. The focus should be on natural whole foods without any processing. It is probably a good idea to look for more natural ways to indulge your sweet tooth. 

We have made a list of natural sugar alternatives that might satisfy your sweet tooth and cut down on the consumption of artificial sweeteners. Take a look: 

1. Raw Honey  

Owing to its high level of fructose, it is sweeter than refined sugar, which means a lesser amount of honey is needed for the same dish. Besides, raw honey consists of flavonoids, meaning it is packed with antioxidants and has a wide range of anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. 

2. Date Sugar 

They are derived from dehydrated dates, which are later ground to convert them into granules. It is rich in antioxidants as well as having a high fibre content. They are also high in fructose. Because of its fine binding and blending properties, it can be best used in smoothies and cookies. 

3. Coconut Sugar

A cut is made on the coconut palm, and sap is collected, which is further left for evaporation. After all this processing, a crystallised substance is left behind, which is later processed to make coconut sugar. This sugar has insulin fibre, which is good for gut health. It also has an earthy flavour, which can add a new dimension to tea or coffee. 

4. Maple Syrup   

It is one of the best alternatives to artificial sweeteners or white sugar. It is quite unprocessed in its extraction. It is packed with powerful antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and can be used in a variety of sweets like doughnut ice cream or savoury dishes like salmon and pork. It has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar and can be recommended to diabetics. 

5. Figs  

They consist of simple carbohydrates, which can be broken down very easily. This will not allow you to raise your insulin level, unlike processed sugars. It helps build bone health, blood health, and the digestive system. Also, you can add a punch of figs to halwas, laddoos, and biscuits. 

6. Jaggery  

It is one of the most common sugar alternatives. It is derived from sugar cane, and due to its unrefined form, it is full of essential vitamins, minerals, iron, and antioxidants. It is said that a small piece of jaggery after your meal activates digestive enzymes. Besides, it increases haemoglobin levels and is good for anaemic patients.