Top 5 Natural Sweeteners and Natural Sugar Substitutes for Diabetics
Till now we all know that Sugar is just empty calories. There is a natural sugar substitute for diabetics with other benefits to health. But, when it comes to choosing there is a lot of confusion about which is better than the other. Today we are going to discuss natural Sugar Substitute for Diabetics. In this post, I will list the Natural sweeteners, with their advantages, so that we can make smart choices.
Never Use Toxic Artificial Sweeteners
The whole market is flooded with "Sugar-Free" products. Without complete knowledge about these sweeteners, we can do a lot of harm to our body. Sugar-free products were introduced to stop obesity, but the big brands introduced these harmful chemicals in the name of "Sugar-Free" in our daily lives. The worst being Aspartame, Splenda (Sucralose) and Saccharin Here you can read a full post on the Toxic Artificial Sweeteners.
Top 5 Natural Sweeteners and Natural Sugar Substitutes for Diabetics
As the name indicates these sweeteners exist in Nature and are not made by man in the Laboratory. Well, your mom always told you that sweets are bad for the Teeth. Now you can tell your mom that it is sweet and it does not cause tooth decays. Some more benefits of Natural Sweeteners are:
- They are Nutrient Rich: For example, Raw honey is packed with B Vitamins, antioxidants, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous and enzymes
- They do not spike blood insulin levels
- They are rich in Antioxidants
1. RAW Honey
Among all the Natural Sweeteners out there, Raw honey tops the list because of the:
- Nutrient Content
- Enzymes and Antioxidants
- Healthy Weight Management
Make sure to buy RAW Honey and not just any honey from the market. Mostly honey available on the market are cooked and all the nutrients are destroyed.
Know your Honey
- Raw honey is Opaque and not sparkling and reflecting like the one shown in the picture.
- Darker Honey is higher in bioactive compounds so go for the darkest stuff on the she
You can add honey in Yogurts, in your smoothies, but never cook the honey. As heating destroys the nutrients. Also, while adding honey in Teas, add when the tea is drinkable hot.
Test honey at home for purity
Test with Thumb
- Put a small drop of the honey you have on your thumb.
- Check to see if it spills or spreads around.
- If it does, it is not pure, Pure honey will stay intact on your thumb.
Raw Honey and Diabetes Consuming Raw Honey reduces the risk of developing Diabetes. If you are already diabetic, for your blood sugar management I suggest adding cinnamon powder to your Raw honey. Cinnamon will counteract the Glucose elevation caused by Honey.
Stevia is, a herb native to South America. Stevia is 100% Natural. Other advantages include:
- It has ZERO calories, good for weight control
- It is 300% SWEETER than Sugar. If you don't find it bitter, its one of the safest Natural Sweeteners.
- It DOES NOT cause an increase in blood sugar levels, makes it a good choice for Diabetic Patients.
- Stevia contains different antioxidants including apigenin, kaempferol, and quercitrin.
It is heat stable unlike honey, so you can use it anywhere. Stevia is a controversial product. We do not see products on the market with Stevia as a sweetener in it. Food Industry Giants lobbying efforts were able to manipulate the law in the USA and declared Stevia as a dietary supplement and not a sweetener. You can buy it in the stores but if there is any product containing Stevia, it will be pulled off the shelves.
There are many types of stevia. Ideally, you should get full, green leaf stevia. It's green in color. Some people find the taste of stevia bitter. In order to mask that bitter taste, you can also find chocolate stevia, vanilla stevia, chocolate raspberry stevia and pumpkin pie spice stevia. Like the one here Be careful with these additives. Stay away from brands that have additives like:
Stevia sugar side effects
If you have any symptoms like Brain Fog, Headache after taking stevia, please discontinue. But, it is very rare that people will get any side-effects.
Yes! Dates paste could be a healthy alternative to Sugar. They are not only packed with Nutritions but also:
- Helps in relieving Constipation
- Decrease bad cholesterol
- Boost bone health
Before I write more highly about dates and you add them to your diet, I must make clear that often we read on the internet that this food is nutritious and add it to our diet. One must be clear there are millions of food with traces of Vitamins and Minerals. Reading an article and adding them to your diet is the false approach. You should always dig deeper and see if there are nutrients, are they only traces or they meet our body daily demand. Like that Dates should be seen "Just as a sugar substitute".
I strongly disagree that dates fall into the category of Superfood and we should be eating it every day. At last, this is sweet and it does add to calories. But, fewer calories as compared to pure sugar. Only add Superfoods to your diet like Wild Salmon, Bone Broth, Organic Eggs, Green Leafy vegetables etc. For me, the definition of Superfood is that we should make part of daily eating Routines and they are nutrient-dense.
When buying look for Medjool Dates, like the one here, Medjool dates are plump and tender. They come with the pit inside of them because the fruit is too soft to put in a mechanical pitter. For Diabetic Patients: 1 Medium Medjool Date: 7.7 Grams Fructose 1 Medium Deglet Noor style date: 2.6 Grams Fructose Hence, I would recommend Deglet Noor Style Date to diabetic patients.
Where to Use
In order to make a paste soak dates in the hot water till they are soft. Add them in the blender together with the liquid in which you have soaked the dates. The sticky texture of Medjool dates makes them excellent for binding ingredients together whether you’re making a dessert where you need a binder like "cookie" and "Granola Bars".
4. Maple Syrup
It is not as terrible as Sugar, but still, am shocked how it is marketed on the internet. Always look for how much Nutrients Vs just "Traces of Vitamins and Minerals". This is one of those categories. Where it is sold under the name of Vitamins and Minerals, where the reality is that there are better sweeteners out there.
If you buy this, go for the darker Grade B maple syrups, as they contain more beneficial antioxidants than the lighter syrups. It is heat stable. So, where you need to Bake or heat, substitute with Maple Syrup, as Raw honey loses its advantages on heating.
Other Natural Sweeteners like Blackstrap Molasses, Balsamic Glaze are same as Maple Syrup. Each offers different benefits but should be used in moderation. You can use Maple Syrup, Blackstrap Molasses in the rotation if you are planning to buy.
5. Coconut Sugar
This is the tricky one. Don't let marketers fool you thinking that it has beneficial properties of coconut in it. Coconut sugar comes from the sap of the cut flowers of the coconut palm. Coconut is a superfood and everyone should be eating it, especially coconut oil. But coconut Sugar not. It is better than your normal table sugar because it has "Traces of Nutrients" in them.
You can have these nutrients from food. I personally do not use coconut sugar at all in my diet. After these 5 Sugar Substitutes comes White Sugar and Brown Sugar.
Some Worst Substitutes for Sugar are
6. Agave: Yes! Agave is not better than Sugar. Because Sugar is Sucrose (glucose and fructose) and Agave is mostly Fructose. Fructose causes all those inflammations in the body. It is bad for the liver.
7. Fruit Juice Concentrates Again Fructose, the same story. Plus have you ever thought that fruits go bad so easily how these Fruit juices concentrated have longer shelf lives? So they are either contaminated or added preservatives.
Calorie contents for our weight watchersStevia (0 calories) Raw Honey (1 tablespoon – 64 calories) Dates (1 Date – 66 calories) Coconut Sugar (1 tablespoon – 45 calories) Maple Syrup (1 tablespoon – 52 calories)
- Choose between Stevia, Xylitol, Raw Honey and Erythritol as "Best Sugar Substitutes"
- Don't let marketers fool you thinking that Coconut Sugar has beneficial properties of Coconut in it. It is just a little better than Normal Table Sugar
- Agave, Fruit juice concentrates are worst that normal Table Sugar
- Eat Natural fruits like a "Sweedish" and not as a "Meal". Limit your Fructose to 25 Grams per day only.
- Artificial Sweeteners like Aspartame, Sucralose (Splenda) and Saccharin are Toxic and are responsible for various health disorders.
- Read the labels of so-called "Sugar-Free" on the Market and take an informed decision about the type of sweetener added to it.
- Brown Sugar, Raw Sugar, Brown Rice Syrup, Maple Syrup, BlackMolasses, Balsamic Glaze all fall under the same category of "Traces of Minerals" found. They are not more superior than Raw Honey, Dates, Stevia, Xylitol and Erythritol.