By now, most of you will be well aware of the health dangers of consuming too much sugar but it can still be a jolty journey trying to wean off the sweet stuff. Over time, your tastes will change so that you no longer crave such sweetness, but in the meantime you may need an arsenal of alternatives to white granulated sugar. Check out some of our picks below and put your tastebuds to the test with this recipe for matcha mint chocolate ‘cheesecake’.
Extracted from the leaves of a South American plant, stevia has a slightly bitter aftertaste but is incredibly sweet – in fact, some sources suggest it’s 200–300 times sweeter than white sugar. The low-fructose, no-calorie sweetener is also handy when you’re on the go, as it’s sold in small portable containers and sachets so you can BYO if your local cafe is lacking in sweetener options.
This sweetener is made from the sap of the flower buds on a coconut tree – not the coconut itself. While coconut sugar is believed to boast more nutrients than standard table sugar, keep in mind that it’s said to have a high level of sucrose (and therefore fructose). The mineral-rich alternative is believed to be one of the most sustainable sweeteners in the world.
Rice malt syrup
This low-fructose syrup looks similar to molasses and is typically produced by cooking brown rice flour or brown rice starch with enzymes. It’s often used as a vegan alternative to honey, but has been found to have a high GI.
This natural syrup contains antioxidants, as well as some B vitamins and minerals, however the low quantities present probably won’t be enough to offer significant health benefits from the typical amount of honey consumed. Most commercial honey products have a moderate GI, so you may choose to opt for floral varieties that have a lower GI. Honey also contains a fairly high level of fructose.
This low-GI sweetener is from the sap of the sugar maple tree. You’ll usually find some vitamins and minerals present in maple syrup, but it also contains a high level of fructose. Make sure you check the label so you know you’re purchasing 100% maple syrup, not just maple-flavoured syrup.
The above information is offered as a guide only. Please note that these sugar substitutes can still cause blood sugar spikes so should only be consumed sparingly, and in accordance with your personal health needs.