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5 Alternative healthy sugars

Updated on January 9, 2012


A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Unfortunately, it does not do the same for your blood sugar. According to the American Diabetes Association 18 Million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes; 7 million are living with the disease, and a whopping 79 million are pre-diabetic and don’t even know it. Everyone loves sugar, and it’s starting to show!

There are many such as myself who are doing the best we can to cut back or cut out sugar from our diet. Unfortunately, we do not have to consume sugar in order to be consuming sugar. Even if you’re trying your best not to touch the white stuff, sugar can sneak into your diet in many ways. Sugar is found in fruits in the form of fructose. Milk is known to contain lactose and one of the more acceptable forms of raising blood sugar in hypoglycemic patients. Sugar can also be found in malts, ice creams, honey and juices.

There are fruit sugars, maple sugars, corn sugars, palm sugars, organic brown sugars and alcohol sugars. Believe it or not even lettuce has sugar, and dates are 99% sugar!

Cancer, Diabetes and Candida Albicans (yeast infections) love nothing more than to feed on sugar. Sugar even in small dosages can cause all sorts of problems in children such as hyperactivity, anxiety, eczema and interfering with the absorption of proteins. Sugar can also impair the structure of DNA and lower your body's defense against bacterial infection making them harder to treat.

The best way to escape the sugar overload is to use alternative sugars whenever possible and alternative sugars can do that for you. Alternative sugars have a slower absorption rate. Therefore, they don't produce a spike in blood-glucose levels like regular white table sugar, which packs a whopping 16 calories per tablespoon!

Diabetic friendly and calorie conscious this is a better way to go then the cancer-causing saccharin route. Below is a list of my all-time favorite alternative sugars. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

1. Coconut Sap Sugar

Coconut sap sugar or gula maleka is not coconut flavored sugar. Coconut Sap sugar stems not from the actual coconut but from the stems. Hollow bamboo tubes are used to tap into the sap in the stems covered in small flowers. Once they collect the sap it is then simmered at very low temperatures for about 45 to 90 minutes. Coconut sugar is 100% natural, free from additives and artificial flavorings. Once they are done tapping into the stem the sap is then able to keep flowing for the next 20 years. This alternative sugar is 35 on the glycemic index scale compared to cane sugar, which is about 60. I love to use this sweeter for sweet iced tea, to sweeten my oatmeal and to make sauces and marinade dishes. This alternative sweetener is truly one of nature's pure blessings.

2. Agave

Organic blue Agave is also a low glycemic sweetener which is extracted straight from the heart of the Agave plant. Known by most people as a honey it is great to drizzle on pancakes fruit or oatmeal. This is one of my favorite sweetness to add to hot or cold beverages because it dissolves well. It's 25% sweeter than sugar so you need to use much less. Agave has been consumed by ancient civilizations for over 5,000 year and considered the oldest alternative sugar!

3. Lo Han Guo

This great alternative Low Glycemic sweeter has just recently made its way into the health community. Lo han guo or monk fruit as it is more commonly known is a Chinese fruit that is 300 times sweeter than regular sugar. This low-calorie sweetener is quickly increasing in popularity for its ability to tolerate high temperatures, which makes it perfect for baking. This sweetener is a favorite of mine to add in tea's yogurt and smoothies. Substitution is one teaspoon to one cup of regular sugar.

4. Xylitol

Xylitol is the sweetest of all bulk sugar substitutes. It is currently being used in many sugar-free products under the name XyloSweet. This alternative sweetener occurs naturally in nature and can be found in berries, fruit, vegetables and mushrooms. This all-natural sugar substitute is not only good for your teeth, but it stabilizes insulin and hormone levels. The sweetener has proven great promise with Strength athletes and can be currently found in such products as chewing gum, candies and mints. Sold mainly as a powder form, I love to sprinkle it on fruits.

5. Brown Rice Sugar

Want to treat your sweet tooth without having to ride the sugar roller coaster? Then brown rice sugar or syrups are the way to go. The organic natural sweeteners are produced by steeping brown rice while using a special enzyme preparation. Nothing tastes better on yams, or squashes then these sweeteners with their buttery flavor and wonderful sweetness! Brown Rice Sugars and Syrups are absorbed easily into our system, leaving lesser provision for fat accumulation unlike white sugar. The complex carbohydrates in this kind of syrup take a longer time to digest so you can maintain your energy longer and avoid the crash. I always start my morning off with oatmeal and sweeten it with brown sugar syrup. Not only is it great in controlling blood-sugar levels but organic Brown Rice Syrup helps maintain cholesterol levels and help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Best part of these sugars and syrups is that if you store them in a cool dry place, they have a shelf life of a year!

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    • Maddambutterfly profile image
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      Marie V Stephens 5 years ago from New Mexico

      Agave is available just about anywhere, including walmart. The other sugars you can find at health food stores like trader Joes, Sunflower market, whole foods and such. You can also order them on-line. I order my Coconut Sap Sugar from Amazon.com

    • justthemessenger profile image

      James C Moore 5 years ago from The Great Midwest

      Where do you get these alternative sugars? Would they be available at typical grocery stores likeKrogers, Jewels or Schnucks?