This week I will talk about something that I worry about, which is refined sugar, at least since I started to read articles about the disadvantages that it has for our health, like diabetes or cardiovascular diseases. Don´t worry about this now because there are a lot of alternatives, some with calories and some without, they are all healthier than the refined sugar.
There is a list of these alternative sweeteners:
Stevia: This sweetener is obtained from the stevia plant and has a few calories. It has iron, fiber and vitamins A and C, and the best part is its antioxidants. Because of these qualities, I decided to taste it. I didn´t like it because in my opinion, stevia changes the flavor of food. Everything I tried tasted like licorice, but if you don´t mind that flavor it could be a good and also healthy option.
Birch sugar: This sweetener comes from sap in the birch tree, it has vitamins and minerals. It also has a filling effect, burns fat and maintains your sugar levels. When you eat it, it works like a mint or gum, refreshing your breath and prevents cavities. This is a great option to substitute refined sugar.
Maple syrup: This sweetener comes from the maple tree and its properties are similar to birch sugar. It has less calories than refined sugar. You know of this syrup because of the famous American pancakes. I don´t see this as a daily sweetener.
Agave syrup: This sweetener comes from the Agave leaves. My advice is to not buy this product artificially because it loses its natural advantages after processed.
Coconut sugar: This sweetener is extracted from palm trees, it has Vitamin B and many types of minerals, it isn’t popular and is expensive.
Honey: This sweetener has a lot of calories but it can be used as an antiseptic, healing remedy, bactericidal, and it is therapeutic so occasionally it is not bad to eat.
Panela: This sweetener is natural brown sugar but not what you typically buy, it is sugar without being refined. It has a lot of minerals, vitamins A, C and D, iron, magnesium and fiber. It has calories but less than refined sugar. I have used panela for two years and from the moment I tasted it for the first time, I never stopped using it. For me it´s the best alternative of refined sugar. You must be careful where you buy it because its quality can be lower, in my case I buy granulated panela in a reputable shop, La Magdalena de Proust , which is a shop with no middle-man.
There are a lot more products, but in my opinion the ones I wrote about are the most popular and you can use them to sweeten all of types of food. For example, the Japanese amasake, licorice root and cinnamon can be used for desserts, but you don´t typically use them in coffee or tea because they change the flavor completely.
What do you use as a sweetener?