There are plenty of other alternatives to white sugar. Either you want to cut them out completely or just start to partially cut it out. It’s up to you.
When I was a kid I used to eat sugar as if there was no tomorrow but as I grew wiser and started to read up about the effect white sugar has on the body, I started to cut it out gradually and I carefully read labels to avoid products with too much sugar (or any) as well as use as much natural alternatives as possible. meaning I rather use fresh dates or bananas as sweeteners for most of what I make. Because that is what I personally like and prefer rather than buying a “sugar substitute” made from chemicals.
If you are interested in cutting back on sugar my advice is to make it gradually and let it take time as well as start to incorporate the fresh natural type of sugar instead. As in dates, overripe bananas etc.
Here is my list of what you can use instead with my two favourites in the top.
Fresh dates (the small variety) are easy to use in smoothies for example. 2-3 per portion depending on desired sweetness and the other ingredients of course.
For baking, I remove the pit and soak them in water or soy/oat/almond milk overnight. Then I puree them with a hand blender.
I use overripe bananas for smoothies and I calculate 1/2 overripe banana per portion or serving depending on the ingredients used and desired sweetness (I don’t fancy too sweet things)
I puree the banana with the plant milk.
Ice cream or nice cream
The overripe bananas that I don’t get to use I slice up as best I can and put in freezer bags with a zip lock and use for ice cream/nice cream. Here is my recipe.
Raw honey or honey
Honey is another option to subside white sugar – if you eat it that is.
I use it as a sweetener when I do turmeric or raw cacao lattes, as I don’t boil the plant milk, to keep the nutrients.
Not sure how much better this is than white sugar. However use it as any other liquid sweetener in smoothies, baking, drizzle on porridge or the classical pancakes.
This is another syrup that I’m not quite sure if it’s better than white sugar or not. It’s a syrup derived from dates. I reserve this for candy-making. Such as toffee as it gives the candy a really nice taste paired with muscovado sugar.
Grainy sugar varieties
Coconut Nectar Sugar
This is made from the sap of the flower of the coconut palm tree. There is a lot of conflicting information about this. Coconut sugar contains more nutrients but it’s apparently still high in fructose. So more research is needed on this.
I used to add this to my morning porridge, however, due to the conflicting information and price point I stopped.
Birch Tree Sugar
I’ve started to see this increasingly often in health food stores. It’s the same as xylitol however, apparently this is made from fermented plant pulp, before the heavy use of corn and such it was made from birch bark. Today most xylitol is made from GMO corn stalks, etc. But when a product is called Birch Tree Sugar is supposed to be pure and free from this. However, I think more research is needed on this subject.
When I do use refined sugar, this is my poison of choice as it is less processed. The downside is that it’s dark brown in colour and will lend that colour to whatever you are making. I’ve never used this in meringues for example as they contain a lot of fluid. But I might give it a try. When you use this for baking or making candy etc – remember that the sugar still contains a bit of fluid.
This sugar has a very nice toffee taste to it and I love it in baking and for making toffee.
Personally, I’ve stopped using Agave Nectar since I’ve read conflicting information about it. It seems though as the Raw Agave Nectar still contains nutrients and has less impact on your blood sugar levels. However, I think you should do some research and decide for yourself. Here is the background to why I’ve stopped buying agave nectar.
Image copyright by Japanese Vogue.