Indulge Your Sweet Tooth with Natural Sugars

We all love to indulge our sweet tooth—a bite of candy here, a drink of your favorite soda there, a sweet pastry from time to time. For many years now, we’ve been told that eating foods that are high in fat is one of the worst things we can do for our health. Over time, it has been discovered that sugar may also be a big hindrance when it comes to keeping our bodies and minds as healthy as possible. 

With that being said, sugar is still a prominent part of most people’s diets. According to the American Heart Association, the average American adult consumes about 17 teaspoons of added sugar every day—that’s more than double the daily recommended amount! And since excess sugar intake has been linked to a number of health concerns over the years, it’s no surprise that many people are starting to look for alternatives that will still give their food a sweet taste without the unhealthy added sugar. Thankfully, there are natural sweeteners available that can provide the sweetness you crave without the negative health effects. Let’s explore a few of them together.

The Not-So-Sweet Effects of Sugar

In statistics published by World Population Review, the US is one of the biggest consumers of sugar in the world. As a nation, the United States consumes about 126.4 grams per capita. For the most part, this sugar comes from everyday food and beverages that are widely popular amongst the American public. 

The sugars and these popular food items come in various forms, like white or brown sugar that you would put in your tea or coffee, or high fructose corn syrup which is mostly found in drinks… Not to mention artificial sweeteners derived from things like saccharine or aspartame.

One of the biggest downsides to processed sugars and artificial sweeteners is that they add calories to your meal without adding any additional nutritional value. Yes, your body does use calories as its main fuel source; however, nearly every other food in your diet also contains calories, so adding unnecessary sugar to those meals only up the calorie count without providing your body with any additional helpful nutrients. 

Not only can the increase in calories from added sugars contribute to weight gain, but it can also affect your overall health by impacting things like blood sugar levels, the amount of fat in your liver, and your cholesterol levels. 

On top of all that, sugar can also have a negative impact on your gut health. Since your gut is at the core of your overall health it has the ability to affect nearly every function of your body, including your digestion, immunity, and cognitive function. Consuming a lot of added sugar can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your gut microbiome and allow colonies of harmful bacteria to grow larger. As a result not only will your gut health suffer, but chances are this change will also be reflected in other areas of your health.

Natural Sweeteners You Can Try

No matter how much you know about the downsides of processed sugars and artificial sweeteners, this knowledge likely doesn’t do much to satisfy your sweet tooth. Not all is lost, though. There are plenty of natural sweeteners out there that make a fantastic alternative for those looking to sweeten their food in a more healthy way. The great thing about natural sweeteners is that they not only can add a boost of sweetness to your food, but they also are likely to contain important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help support your overall health.

So, what are the best natural sweeteners to try? Here are a few of our favorites.

Honey

This is one of the most popular natural sweeteners available. Natural honey, also known as raw honey, is not only a great natural option for adding a little sweetness to your food, but it has also been used in the medicinal practices of various cultures throughout history because its nutrient profile contains important minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that are supportive to health. Natural honey has been used in ancient and modern times for medicinal purposes as it contains various minerals, vitamins, and other antioxidants. This means that it can be used as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. In every 100 grams of honey, there are zero fats, 76.4 grams of carbohydrates, 34.6 grams of glucose, and 0.4 grams of proteins. Plus, honey also contains small amounts of important vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and polyphenols. You can use honey in tea, salads, smoothies, pastries, and cooked recipes like chicken or fish. 

Dates

This is a fruit that makes a great sweetener in a variety of dishes. Dates originated in the Middle East but are also found in other parts of the world, including Florida and California here in the United States. Medjool dates in particular are very nutritious, containing about 66 calories, 16 grams of natural sugar, and about 2 grams of fiber. They also contain minerals and vitamins like calcium, copper, iron, and many B vitamins that your body needs for various functions. Dates can be chopped, pureed, or turned into syrup before being added to things like pancakes, smoothies, or salads as a sweet and nutritious ingredient. 

Coconut Sugar

For those who are vegan or choosing to follow a mostly plant-based diet, coconut sugar is a great option. Coconut sugar is derived from coconut tree sap and undergoes minimal processing to get a final product that resembles brown sugar. It does not contain any fats, cholesterol, or fiber. However, it does contain about 20 grams of carbohydrates, as well as decent amounts of vitamin C, Vitamin B6, magnesium, and iron. You can use it to sweeten your tea or coffee, and you can add it to just about any dish you would use ordinary sugar in like baking, smoothies, and cooked dishes that call for sugar.

Maple Syrup

This is one of the most common syrups used on breakfast tables around the world. It is derived from the sap of maple and is then boiled with water to create syrup. It is said to contain about 30 different compounds, most of which have a positive effect on your overall health and are a fitting substitute for processed sugar. A serving of maple syrup also contains important minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, and zinc. You can use it on pancakes and other breakfast foods or add it to soups, homemade protein bars, or smoothies that need a little bit of sweetness 

Live the #NewEarthLife

Indulging in your sweet tooth can often cause us to feel guilty and choose foods that don’t support our overall health. Lucky for us, there are many natural sweeteners available that can help curb the craving while also providing some of the support that our body needs. So go ahead, join us in living the #NewEarthLife by choosing to sweeten your food with natural options instead of processed sugars or artificial sweeteners. That way, you can get the same great taste while still giving your body the healthy fuel that it deserves. A sweet tooth not only makes you feel good but it also has adverse health effects like weight gain and cardiovascular conditions. Choose to live the #NewEarthLife by substituting sugar for natural sweeteners. They not only taste just as great but also contain nutrients that are great for your overall health.

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