Sugar is scientifically called Sucrose and it is made up of 50% Glucose and 50% Fructose. When we eat sugar, our body breaks it down into these two components and the small intestine absorbs them.
After this process, glucose travels to the liver, where some of it gets stored as Glycogen. Most of it enters each cell in our body to create energy by metabolizing glucose with oxygen (oxidation). Glucose molecules don’t remain for too long in your bloodstream because either they get burned or stored away. However, Fructose passes through to the liver unchanged, where it’s mostly stored as fat. Fructose does not need to be metabolized by the liver. Instead, it’s sent directly to your liver, where it can be converted into glucose or stored as fat (aka triglycerides). Then, when enough Fructose gets accumulated in the liver, fat begins building up inside our liver cells. The fatty deposits inside the cells get so big that they disrupt the organelle called “the mitochondria,” responsible for burning sugars and fats to extract energy from them.
There are 6 Healthy Substitutes Of Sugar that you should always remember when shopping for food:
- Maple Syrup
Maple Syrup is a healthy substitute for sugar because it’s mostly composed of Fructose and glucose as well as some minerals such as Iron, Potassium, Zinc, and Calcium where you can find it. Maple syrup is a healthy substitute for sugar because it contains no artificial ingredients or preservatives, unlike most commercial brands that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Maple syrup is delicious and is recommended when baking stuff like pancakes, cookies, and muffins. It is healthier than brown sugar but if you compare maple syrup to honey then there’s no contest.
Honey is nature’s most perfect sweetener. It has countless health benefits like antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties plus it contains Bee Venom which is known for its anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Just make sure you don’t overdo it with honey because too much of anything can be bad. Honey is the only sugar that still hasn’t lost its health benefits and consuming natural honey products like HoneyJoy serves as a great substitute for raw sugar. Honey has more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than white or brown sugar and contains an enzyme that helps break down other sugars in your body much easier so they don’t get stored as fat. Honey also doesn’t turn so easily into Triglycerides which is why your blood vessels stay healthier when you eat it.
- Date Sugar
Though expensive, Date sugar tastes exactly like brown sugar but with more nutritional benefits. It has a lower glycemic index which means that it doesn’t cause your blood glucose levels to rapidly increase after consumption so it’s safe for people who have diabetes. Like all other natural sugars, date sugar also comes with some vitamins and minerals plus its taste makes brown or white sugar obsolete in most recipes. Date Sugar is made up of dehydrated ground dates and it’s loaded with antioxidants like Quercetin, Kaempferol, Myricetin which are known to protect against chronic diseases like cancer, arthritis, etc. Date Sugar also slows down the release of sugars into your bloodstream, so you stay full longer after meals because it can lower Blood Glucose Levels by up to 29%, according to studies. It has a low glycemic index and it’s also gluten-free.
- Coconut Sugar
Coconut Sugar is an emerging type of sugar that has been used for centuries in South East Asia and it’s gaining popularity lately because people are starting to realize its benefits. Coconut Palm Tree is one of the most sustainable crops you can find on earth so investing in this sweetener is a good choice for nature and your own health. This natural sugar contains 17 amino acids, Vitamin C, Iron, Potassium, Zinc. It has a low glycemic index which means your body will use it more effectively than regular white or brown sugar.
Blackstrap molasses from the third boiling of raw sugar contain calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. When used in baking, it has a pretty interesting flavor, but it works great when combined with other sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.
- Palm Sugar
Palm Sugar is made from boiling down the sap from cut flower buds of certain palm trees and it’s one of the healthiest substitutes for sugar because it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals that could mess up with your body. This type of sugar comes loaded with Iron, Zinc, Calcium, and Potassium so healthy bones are guaranteed if you add a bit more Palm Sugar to your diet.
To conclude, there’s a wide range of natural sugars you can buy in your local supermarket or health food store. Replacing sugar with any one of these alternatives will definitely benefit your health in the long run.