I’ve been overweight almost my entire life so I’ve tried everything.
Giving up sugar cold turkey, a protein rich diet with little to no carb and all the artificial sweeteners there are. I’ve read, tried and seen them all. So what I want to share with you here is the result of my 10+ years of trial, error and learning along the way. With loads of research.
But I still have a sweet tooth, and I cannot see my life on long term without it. The good news is that I don’t have to and neither do you.
And I want to share my experience with you. My list here with the healthiest sugar alternatives is not about who’s less caloric rich but rather who’s less likely to create damage on the long term and safe to use regularly.
Trust me, there are sugars that actually do good, besides making our lives sweet. Without further ago, here is our list, from first to last sugar alternative, in the order of the health factor.
Best Healthy Alternatives to Sugar
1. Raw Honey
Considered the food of the Gods since ancient times, raw honey is part of very many ancient cultures around the world. If you think raw honey is just another form of processed sugar, you’re mistaken.
Bees collect the pollen from miles away from a wide range of flower varieties, thus the fructose and glucose in honey are saturated with over 200,000 phytochemical compounds and still undiscovered by science.
These chemicals are highly effective against all types of cancers, kill off pathogens and protect the body against radiations. When they reach a cancer tumor, these amazing phytochemicals block the proliferation of the cancer cells.
Raw honey is the healthiest alternative to sugar because it is loaded with vitamins and minerals, unlike processed sugar.
The only downside for replacing sugar with raw honey is honey is not for baking.
When honey is heat up, it releases a substance called hydroxymethylfurfural or HMF. This substance occurs naturally in all products that contain sugars when they are heated up, it is not a special case for honey. And only if you consume cooked honey in large amounts it can become unhealthy.
So yes, better raw than not.
Health Benefits of Raw Honey
- Excellent Tonic – It is loaded with A, B, C, D, K Vitamins as well as calcium, potassium, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, chromium, molybdenum and manganese;
- “Food for Thought” – Raw honey is the best food for the brain, due absorb sugars it contains that are very easily to absorb by the body, and its high B12 coenzymes content;
- Antibacterial & Antiviral – Raw honey is basically one of the best medicine out there, with amazing adaptogenic properties, that help fight off viral infections and bacteria, while boosting up the immune system;
- Great Digestive – It stimulates digestion, prevents indigestion or constipation, diminishes gastric acidity and helps treat gastroduodenal ulcer;
- Cough Remedy – Is a natural remedy for cough, sore throat, laryngitis and pharyngitis due to some volatile compounds in it;
- Relaxation & Sleep – Raw honey, when added to a cup of warm almond milk or lemon balm tea is the best thing to drink before bed because it stimulates melatonin production that induces a deep, relaxing sleep.
- Skin & Hair – It is full of nutritional and antioxidant substances that make it a great addition to homemade creams and masks.
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2. Raw Date Sugar/Syrup
Dates are most definitely some of the sweetest dried fruits you can taste, if not the sweetest. This is why, dates are a staple ingredient for raw or raw vegan cakes, that I absolutely love. In addition to this, they have a lovely caramel aroma that adds some twist to it, making this healthy sugar alternative even more flavorful.
So why is date sugar or date syrup healthy as compared to processed sugar? Because it’s fruit.
However, when purchasing date sugar or date syrup make sure there are no other ingredients sneaked in, such as oat flour or any preservatives. If you wish to take matter in your hands, you can even make date syrup at home.
Health Benefits of Raw Dates
- Highly Nutritional – Just like honey, dates are loaded with vitamins and almost 70 bioactive minerals, mainly potassium, copper, manganese, magnesium, iron and Vitamin B6; thus they support the adrenals when during intense physical and mental stress episodes;
- Digestive Balm – Dates work wonders for the digestion swiping the system clean from parasites, yeast, molds, fungi, and even heave metal deposits, unproductive bacteria and viruses according to Medical Medium;
- Liver Food – Contrary to the popular belief, dates are ideal food for diabetes and hypoglycemia suffering patients because they are packed with the exact glucose the liver needs to thrive;
- Heart Support – Dates are the fruit leaders when it comes to the amino acids content they contain, what the heart needs for wellbeing;
- Intense Sports – Ideal food for intense physical activities due to the fact that they contain certain aminos that contribute to the proper use of the potassium content in them to be used fully in supporting and strengthening your nerves and muscles.
Buy Date Sugar/Syrup Here:
3. Green Leaf Stevia
Scientifically known as Stevia Reubaudiana, this plant native to Brazil and Paraguay has been used since ancient times by natives to add a sweet taste to their food and drinks.
Compared to other artificial sweeteners considered safe kind-of, such as erythritol and xylitol, that are both usually made from GMO corn (not good), stevia leaf “sugar” is way better.
However, if you wish to use stevia to replace sugar, look for the most natural form of stevia. I personally used to use stevia that looked exactly like finer granulated white sugar, but now I know that the best stevia sweeteners are liquid stevia extract and the green powdered stevia leaf.
Caveat: the green leaf stevia has a more bitter taste to it compared to stevia extracts. It’s best to avoid altered or highly processed stevia, which is the worst type of stevia sweetener.
I used stevia leaf in cooking and it turned out great, but I think I may have added a bit more stevia to match the same sweet taste as with sugar.
Studies about the effects of stevia in the body are quite recent, but there’s plenty research done in this direction.
Health Benefits of Stevia
- Lowers Blood Pressure – Studies have shown that the use of steviosides (one of the sweetened stevia compounds) as a supplement may reduce blood pressure;
- Diabates Control – Given its0 caloric index, andinexistent glycemic load, stevia is a great sugar replacer for diabetes patients. The explanation is that stevia doesn’t enter the blood stream, but the bacteria in the gut directly absorbs it.
- Weight Loss Buddy – Ketogenic dieters’ best friend, stevia Stevia is a plant-based, zero-calorie sweetener and there’s not much more to say.
Buy Green Leaf Stevia Here:
4. Coconut Sugar
Coconut is an absolute miracle food. I don’t even know where to begin, but what I can say is that coconut water and coconut oil/butter are powerful natural antibiotics. Coconut meat provides the right fat content for supporting healthy skin, hair and also gut.
Coconut sugar, which is the dehydrated sap of the coconut blossom, is a great sugar replacer, packed with valuable goodies. And it’s raw.
The processing of coconut sugar is milder, compared to white sugar. This means that coconut sugar preserves most of the vitamins and minerals contained in the coconut flowers sap.
In addition, the GI of coconut sugar is 35, around half that of white sugar. While the replacement ratio is 1:1.
Let’s not forget the amazing taste. Coconut sugar has a nice caramel flavor that adds depth and aroma to your desserts or drinks, depending where you use it.
Health Benefits of Coconut Sugar
- “Sweet Heart” – It’s high healthy fats content and nitrogen, makes coconut sugar an amazing heart food, because of its cholesterol lowering properties;
- Loaded with Goodies – It contains potassium, magnesium and sodium and iron, zinc, and calcium, Vitamin C, antioxidants and many other good elements;
- Low GI – It’s low GI of just 35 and the fact that it is raw, makes it comparable to eating fresh fruit (around 25GI), which are healing foods;
Buy Coconut Sugar Here:
Other Healthy Sugar Substitutes
- Apple Sauce/Juice – Great for baking biscuits, cakes, but if you buy it in stores, make sure it doesn’t contain other ingredients except for apples.
- Grapes Juice – Natural grapes juice is another amazing sweetener that comes directly from fruit, and can be used in baking instead of milk or water.
- Ripe Bananas – Ripe bananas are often times the vegans’ choice for replacing sugar in ice cream, pancakes or even banana breads, because they are sweet enough to replace sugar (and have a great flavor) and gooey enough to replace egg too, so basically 2 in 1;
- Maple Syrup/Sugar – Comparable to coconut sugar, the difference being that maple sap is boiled to make the syrup (so it is now raw), maple syrup is a more natural and safe alternative to sugar; Grade A maple syrup is the most nutritious dense and thus the best option;
- Lucuma Fruit Powder – The benefits of Lucuma are very many, naming the most important are the 14 trace minerals, antioxidants and low GI; Lucuma powder can replace sugar in baking using a 2:1 ratio (lucuma to sugar);
- Yacon Syrup – This natural sweetner extracted from the Yacon tuber plant native to the Andes Mountains of Peru, is almost 0 sugars, but high in prebiotics that stimulate the good bacteria in the gut and promotes weight loss.
The Bottom Line
Over the past years, there has been a tough anti-sugar campaign. And I personally believe that’s legit, given the damage that processed sugars can make in the body.
At the same time we cannot overlook the recent findings, according to which a high-fat diet is the actual culprit for overburdening the organs that work together to manage the blood sugar levels in the body.
In short, it’s best to follow a lower fat diet (especially saturated fat) and enjoy healthy sugars in your life, than loads of fat and no sugar at all.
Natural fruit sugars are by far the best sugars alternatives out there. And processed sugar is addictive, yes!
But There Are Healthy Alternatives
It’s common sense that what nature makes no mistakes, whereas us humans, we’re learning as we grow.
Cigarettes were a fancy during the 50s and now we all know how detrimental smoking is to our health. The same with mercury remedies doctors used to prescribe, amalgam fillings, DDT and other poisons people have used over time because they believed they’re actually good.
It’s the same with processed sugar and the artificial sweeteners.
We can turn a blind eye to this, or take matter into our own hands and reach for the better ways to soothe our sweet tooth, ways take are actually cruelty-free for both the environment and the humankind.
If you wish to embark on a more healthy lifestyle, please do read our well-researched article about the healthiest coffee alternatives. Most of them tried by me, personally. May you all be well!