Sugar is tasty, yes, but it's not especially healthy. It can be hard on the teeth, it has no nutritional value, and it's a contributor to obesity. Despite this, it hides in our coffee, tea, desserts, and about a million other things we don’t even realize.
Because of this, substitute after substitute has been introduced. Most sugar-free items, like diet sodas, use the sugar substitute aspartame, which can build up in the body and cause migraines, tinnitus, and high blood pressure. It messes with both the metabolic and gastrointestinal systems, slowing down the metabolism (making you more likely to gain weight) and causing intestinal distress.
However, there are some sugar substitutes that are worth trying. While they may not taste exactly like the real thing, they can help you cut calories and won't be as rough on your body as aspartame.
Sugar substitute seekers have been increasingly turning to stevia, a revolutionary product made from the Latin American Stevia plant. Tropical tribes in the area have been using it for hundreds of years, and now it's becoming increasingly available in other areas.
In its pure sweetener form, there’s less of a risk to your health, but as companies start pulling it apart and adding chemicals to it, obviously questions arise. Experts still recommend caution, as studies haven’t been rampantly extensive. However, the studies that have been done link stevia to improved memory and lowered risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, and even diabetes. When purchasing stevia, go for pure brands, or grow your own plant, if you’re feeling up to the challenge.
Whey Low is an even newer sugar substitute created by combining fructose, lactose, and sucrose—ingredients that occur naturally in fruit, milk, and sugar, respectively. This combination results in a sweetener that doesn’t get absorbed into the system like sugar, and it has a quarter of the calories and about a third of the sugar.
Here’s the really nice thing about Whey Low: most artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar, which means you don’t need as much when you’re using them. This is a particular difficulty when using them in recipes, like baked goods, because you have to modify quantities, which can affect both texture and taste. However, Whey Low works on a perfect ratio to sugar, meaning you use exactly the same amount, with no math or substitution difficulties.
Raw honey may not be perfect substitute if you’re counting calories or are diabetic. However, if you’re looking for a substitute for other health reasons, raw honey is a great option. It’s totally natural, and unless you’re drinking it by the gallon, it shouldn’t upset your stomach. While it has a few more calories than regular sugar, it also has nutritional value.
First and foremost, eating a local honey can soothe allergies by helping your body adjust to the pollens in the air. Additionally, it doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar the way table sugar does; instead, it raises it slowly, which is better for the body. It also helps the body absorb calcium, and some studies suggest it not only gives you energy when you need it, but also helps you sleep better. On top of that, honey is an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory substance, and it’s full of antioxidants that are good for the brain.