It's been proven that consuming too much sugar is unhealthy and thus why it's important to try to learn about some natural sweeteners to replace sugar. Having too much sugar in your diet (especially refined white sugar) can lead to weight gain, premature aging, and type 2 diabetes. However, there are many naturally sweet (and often surprising) alternatives to the white stuff that come with added health benefits as well! So if you're ready to kick your sugar addiction, try substituting one of these 10 natural sweeteners to replace sugar!
1. Raw Honey
One of the best natural sweeteners to replace sugar is raw honey! Honey is antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-fungal! Be warned though, honey is not better for you than sugar in weight loss terms as they both contain the same amount of calories. However, because honey is sweeter than sugar, people tend to use less of it. The health benefits lie in its production, as honey is only processed once, whereas sugar is processed multiple times. If you want to use honey instead of sugar, substitute ¾ cup of honey for every cup of sugar the recipe calls for. When it comes to using honey, less is more!
2. Organic Milk or Cream
Those who take their coffee with milk or cream can tell you how well it cuts the bitterness with just a little bit. Next time you're looking for a sweetener, use an organic milk or cream. If you want to be even healthier, try using unsweetened Soy or Almond milk. Plus, consider the calcium you’ll get as an added bonus!
3. Raw Maple Syrup
This sweet stuff isn’t just for pancakes! Its complex flavors bring sweetness to baked goods and is a big improvement from your over-processed sugar in your morning coffee. With slightly fewer calories and more minerals than honey, this antioxidant-rich sticky liquid has a ton of health benefits over sugar!
4. Grated Carrots
Next time you're making homemade pasta sauce, try subbing sugar in the recipe for grated carrots instead. Their natural sugars bring just the right amount of sweetness with no added sugar! There are two pretty easy ways to use carrots in place of sugar in recipes. The first way is to shred raw carrots into tiny slivers and bake them into the recipe. The second way is to add the juice of the carrots to the recipe.
I bet you didn't know that most of the refined sugar you eat comes from beets! Beets are among the sweetest plants around and thus why they're used. In fact, the original red velvet cakes used grated beets to achieve its earthy sweet flavor and red coloring. So next time you're making a smoothie, try adding some beets! You can even try adding them into your next chocolate cake, or in soups for an unexpectedly sweet taste!
6. Caramelized Onions
It sounds strange, but onions have a surprisingly high sugar content! It’s just that we don’t taste it in their raw state. Onions are also one of the healthiest vegetables and a nutrition-packed addition to your meals! Cook your onions slowly over a low heat to help bring out their hidden sweetness. In addition to sugar, they can also replace sugar filled (and corn-syrup-laced) condiments, like ketchup!
7. Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice
Salad dressings are a huge source of hidden sugar in your diet. So to avoid this, make your own salad dressing with olive oil and lemon juice, and sweeten it slightly with a splash of fresh-squeezed orange juice! Plus the vitamin C boost you'll be getting is a huge health benefit by itself.
Applesauce (with no added sugar) is a classic ingredient for cutting fat and sugar out of recipes. Try some in your next batch of pancakes and you may not even want to reach for syrup! Diced apples can also make a fiber-rich sweetener for plain yogurt. Just don’t peel the skin, that’s where most of the disease fighting compounds are!
This may be a hard natural sweetener to understand, but a tiny pinch of salt can enhance the natural sweetness in many ingredients and dishes. This is especially true in anything with fresh fruit. Salt not only has a flavor of its own, but also draws out the flavor of other foods, and can reduce the bitter taste of some foods, including dark chocolate. Because of this quality in salt, many people even use it in their coffee over sugar. So next time you're feeling bold, give salt a try!
If none of the above solutions solve your sugar dilemma, you may want to reach for a sugar substitute. Don't! Sugar substitutes are incredibly unhealthy and have even been said to cause some cancers! However, stevia, which is derived from an herb, is probably your healthiest bet. Keep in mind that stevia is super sweet and should be used in moderation.
Cutting sugar from your diet is a healthy and simple way to lose weight as well as feel better. Like I mentioned before though, don't use any type of unnatural sugar substitute! These can cause more damage than good. So try some of these natural sugar substitutes, you'll be surprised how much you won't miss sugar! What is your favorite natural substitute to use in place of sugar?