Sugar is an ingredient found in thousands of products. Unfortunately, table sugar is far from healthy. First of all, it contains no nutrients whatsoever and packs a ton of calories, which is why it's often referred to as empty calories. Secondly, table sugar is bad for your teeth, makes it more difficult to regulate your hunger, and increases your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Fortunately, there are healthier alternatives that you can use instead. Here are a few healthier sugar substitutes you should swap for your table sugar.
One of the biggest advantages of stevia is that it's a natural sweetener with zero calories and no known links to weight gain. It's produced through extraction from the leaves of a Stevia rebaudiana, a type of shrub found in South America.
Stevia also contains the compound known as stevioside, which will actually help lower your blood pressure. Stevia can lower your blood sugar levels and your insulin levels, making the sugar substitute one of the healthiest options available.
While xylitol does contain some calories, it has 40 percent less than what regular sugar has. And, unlike cane sugar, xylitol will not raise your blood sugar or insulin levels.
Additionally, instead of damaging your teeth, xylitol can actually reduce the risk of cavities and even prevent decay. One of the reasons it’s so good for your teeth is that it increases your body's ability to absorb calcium, which helps to strengthen both your teeth and your bone density. Xylitol is found in many fruits and vegetables but is often extracted from corn or birch wood.
Pure maple syrup actually provides many benefits. It's produced by cooking down the sap found in maple trees. On top of containing around 24 different types of antioxidants, maple syrup also offers a variety of minerals that include calcium, iron, manganese, potassium and zinc.
Maple syrup does still contain high levels of sugar, so you won't want to use it too often. Additionally, a lot of different companies add high fructose corn syrup and other unhealthy additives to their maple syrup products, so be sure to read the ingredients and purchase pure maple syrup with no added sugars.
Honey, of course, is produced by honey bees. It contains many antioxidants that are beneficial to your health. In fact, it can raise the levels of antioxidants in your blood, which reduces your risk of disease.
For example, honey has been shown to help lower homocysteines (which are associated with disease), increase good cholesterol, reduce the risk of diabetes by lowering bad cholesterol, and more. It's also worth noting that, by eating locally produced honey, you're more likely to develop a stronger immunity against local allergens.
One of the important elements of living a healthy lifestyle is eating a healthy diet. Unfortunately, as tasty as sugar is, it's also unhealthy. But this doesn't mean that you'll have to go without that sweet flavor! These are just a few of the healthy alternatives you can use instead of cane sugar.
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