New research is revealing disturbing links not just between sugar and obesity, but also between sugar and inflammation. Just by cutting back on sugar intake may help to relieve some inflammation.
If you have sweet tooth, then cutting back on your sugar intake may be a challenge. There are many substitutes that you could consider using in place of table/refined sugar. Since it is nearly impossible to completely eliminate your dependency on sugar, you may like to think about using some of the following alternatives.
Note: Artificial sweeteners are not an option!
However, this list is good only if you are one who are already generally eating healthy and need that occasional sugar. If you are overweight and/or insulin-resistant and don’t care about eating healthy, my advice to you is to do the most you can about reducing sugar, whether good or bad sugar.
Stevia might just be one of the healthiest choice for sweetening. It is extracted from the leaves of a plant called Stevia Rebaudiana which has many medicinal properties. Stevia is very sweet and has nearly zero calories. Some studies have shown stevia to be able to lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
2. Lime or Lemon
Add a squeeze of lime or lemon to your drinking water, or any other drink that you may normally add sugar to. Lime has a bit more of a tart taste, over lemon.
In place of sugar in a mixed drink, add a squeeze of lime or lemon. Although a little sour, they give taste that make up for the lack of sugar. As a bonus, they are alkaline-forming and help your body absorb nutrients and restore the natural pH balance in your body.
3. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup can be used in place of sugar, in many different recipes. It is taken directly from the sap of a plant and contains an abundance of beneficial antioxidants—in fact, it has over 50 different antioxidants. Avoid artificial, processed syrups and go for all natural, organic maple syrup.
4. Raw Honey
Raw honey is a great sweetener for your tea. It helps relieve a sore throat and is good for your digestive system. In addition to using honey in your beverage, you can also use it to make your own homemade salad dressing.
5. Apple Sauce
Apple sauce can be used as a replacement when making oatmeal cookies. Use an equal amount of applesauce, in place of white sugar. You can make your own homemade apple sauce from fresh apples by cooking it in a little water for about 20 minutes. Add cinnamon for that extra taste.
6. Raisins and Dried Cranberries
Raisins or dried cranberries contain plenty of antioxidants as well as fiber. They can add more flavor and consistency to a variety of baked goods, especially if you are cutting back the sugar required for a recipe. It is also great to be added in salads or oatmeals.
Cinnamon is another healthy substitute to sugar that can be used in your hot beverages. Add a pinch of cinnamon to give your morning drink a little taste, so that you can skip the sugar. Ceylon cinnamon has very high antioxidant activities and is beneficial for relieving inflammation and boosting the immune system.
8. Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is made from the sap of coconut flowers and comes in block, paste, or granulated form. Although coconut sugar is very similar to table sugar, the manufacturing process is a little more natural and retains some amount of nutrients in it. Between coconut sugar and regular sugar, the former is the better of the two evils, but still, use sparingly. The same goes with brown sugar and beet sugar—they’re not the best, so use sparingly.