People especially children love sweet foods. However, we all know that sugar is unhealthy. They are known to raise blood sugar in the body and can also weaken the immune system, that can cause many health conditions, like obesity and type 2 diabetes. So what healthy sugar alternative that can replace the unhealthy white sugar?
Many sweeteners on the market could be considered natural and have little to none nutritional value for children.
Here are a few natural and healthy alternatives for sugar.
Healthy Sugar Alternative
Pure Organic Honey
Honey is one of the purest and most natural sweeteners. When it comes to sweeteners, honey is the most nutritious. Honey contains calcium, copper, magnesium and other useful vitamins and minerals
Honey also has healing properties and is usually used to treat a cough, asthma and heal sunburns. Pure 100% honey also doesn’t have an expiration date, so it is one of the best healthy sugar alternatives.
Dates are wholesome superfoods. To make date puree, soak fresh dates for 3-4 hours, pulp it up and use as a puree. For date powder, you can use dried dates and put it in a food processor. You can add date puree or powder to smoothies or desserts you make at home for a healthy sugar alternative.
Not only sweet, but maple syrup also contains an antioxidant called polyphenols that have been shown in studies to prevent cancer and other diseases.
Agave is a raw syrup extracted from the agave plant. It contains a low glycemic index that doesn’t make blood sugar in the body spike as much as cane sugar does. Agave is a great choice to sweeten you and your kids’ food and beverages.
Note: You shouldn’t consume agave while pregnant since agave is raw and have unknown bacterias.
Palm sugar is derived from the sap in the flower buds of coconut palm trees. The fluid is heated to remove moisture content and made into a thick syrup, then crystallised to make palm sugar. It is a natural form of sugar, making it a healthy sugar alternative.
Sugars to Avoid
Can lead to several health issues in children.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) or Crystalline Fructose
Crystalline fructose is a super-potent form of fructose that has adverse effects on the body. HFCS is free, unbound fructose, meaning that the fructose is not bound to glucose, and it’s not part of a complex that includes fibre, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Thus It’s more rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. It goes directly into the liver and is converted into triglycerides, which is linked with insulin resistance, diabetes, and heart disease. It can also cause weight gain.
White sugar is highly processed and usually comes from either sugar cane or sugar beets. Sugar beets are genetically modified (GMO). White sugar consists of around 50% fructose. It’s a high-calorie substance with zero nutritional value. If you want to use white sugar, make sure it’s organic and GMO-free.
Brown sugar has been through refining and processing and is known to be a better alternative to white sugar. This is what gives the sugar a brown colour. Brown sugar is merely regular sugar, although it may contain a tiny amount of minerals.
Avoiding any sugar is best for you and your kids’ health. However, even with natural sweeteners, buying organic is always the better option. It ensures that the sweetener has no pesticides, and prepared without the use of chemicals. Healthcare professionals also recommend limiting the amount of any sweeteners in your child’s diet because the additives that can raise blood sugar and cause tooth decay.
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