Sweet Food Substitutes

Sweet Food Substitutes

We’ve all been a little guilty of eating too much sugar. If you’re overweight or unhealthy, there’s a good chance that sugar is at the heart of your problem and if you’re diabetic or at risk of developing diabetes like many millions of Americans, then it’s a life-threatening issue.

We know it’s killing us, but we still consume it without much thought for our health. Our bodies crave sugar, the food industry packs it into the crap they sell us and it’s in most of our cupboards. It’a a drug, and we’re all addicted, but by using sweet food substitutes and sugar alternatives we can steadily withdraw from this damaging substance.

This is a list of the best and the worst alternatives to sugar on the market right now, from the borderline poisonous to the ones that will give you all of the taste without any of the side effects.

Before you make the switch, make sure you cleanse first using the 7 Day Detox.

Sweet Food Substitutes: The Bad

Keep reading for a list of the sweet food substitutes that you should consider adding to your pantry. But first, the bad stuff.

These sweet food choices are not the best substitutes, whether because they cause harm, because there is very little research on long-term use or simply because they are not what you think they are.

Chemical Sweeteners

There is a lot of hate out there regarding chemical sweeteners, most of which is unfounded. The truth is that we don’t really know how damaging they can be, contrary to what those clickbait Facebook posts suggest. But the fact that we don’t yet know the potential long-term damage should be enough reason to keep them out of your diet.

Some research suggests that they could lead to weight gain, partially because they alter the metabolism but mainly because they trick our bodies into thinking we are getting something we are not. There are also fears regarding the way they are digested and processed. So if you can help it, keep these potential poisons (Aspartame, Sucralose, Xylitol, Saccharin, Acesulfame K) out of your diet.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup

A sweetener that has been popular in the food industry for several decades, HFCS is highly processed and potentially as bad for you as sugar. The reason it is so popular is because it’s cheap and abundant, a by-product of the bountiful corn industry. It has nothing to do with any potential health benefits. In fact, it may be a leading contributor to the sharp rise in obesity and diabetes experienced over the last few decades.

Agave Syrup

This sweet syrup has become incredibly popular of late and is now being used to replace sugar in cakes, coffees and pretty much everything else. It is sweeter than sugar and has fewer calories. It also comes from a plant-source and is not made in a lab. Good so far, but that’s where the positives end.

A lot of the claims made about this syrup are false. It’s supposed to be a good sugar substitute for diabetics, but the only research that backs this up was conducted on animals and wasn’t even that remarkable. It’s also marketed as being a natural alternative to chemical sweeteners, and this is where the claims begin to fall flat.

It’s true that it comes from the blue agave plant, which is also used to produce tequila, but the method of turning agave juice into agave syrup is highly processed and results in all the nutritional benefits being stripped from the end product. This means that agave syrup is no more “nutritious” than corn syrup.

Even Dr. Oz—once a big proponent of this sugar substitute—is turning against agave syrup.

Sweet Food Substitutes: The Good

Now onto the good stuff. These sweet alternatives should still be consumed in moderation because in some cases (as with honey and maple syrup) they are rich in simple sugars. But when used to sweeten up drinks and food, they are much healthier than regular sugar and the options listed above.

Stevia

This is an all-natural sweetener and one that deserves a place on any list of sugar and sweet food substitutes. It’s the natural sweetener that keeps superfood mixes like DetoxOrganics from tasting like their ingredient profile would suggest. It comes from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant and is 150 times sweeter than sugar, which means you don’t need to use a lot of it.

Stevia has been used by humans for over 1,500 years in South America, mainly to sweeten teas and medicines. It is thought to be a safe sugar substitute and is also recommended for diabetics looking to cut down on their sugar intake.

Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup Sweet Food Substitute

Maple syrup flows through the blood of every Canadian. In the Great White North it’s super cheap and found on every dinner table. Here in the US, we tend to opt for the cheaper, nastier alternatives, ones that tend to be loaded with processed sugars and flavorings. Make no mistake about it, there is no goodness in these alternatives, but if you get the real deal then you can benefit from a unique flavor and a host of nutrients.

Maple syrup is still very sweet and it’s mostly sugar, so it’s not exactly healthy, but with a nutrient profile that includes zinc, magnesium and calcium, as well as the knowledge that you’re consuming something natural that has been manufactured with mineral processing, it makes for a great sugar alternative.

Honey

Honey has been consumed by humans for thousands of years and is actually one of the very first antimicrobial agents. Our ancestors didn’t really know why it seemed to have such miraculous powers, but they knew that there was something magic in this sticky substance. We now know that honey is a very powerful anti-microbial and anti-bacterial substance, as well as being rich in a host of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

There are many different types of honey, with the flower it is sourced from greatly impacting the taste and the nutrient level. A lot of hype has surrounded Manuka honey in recent years as it has been hailed as the strongest and best honey on the market thanks to its higher than usual anti-bacterial properties. But unless you’re smothering it on a wound, then you won’t benefit from that, and the taste is…somewhat to be desired.

As a sugar substitute honey provides a rounded, fuller favor. It also delivers a comparable sweetness for fewer calories and because 2% of its composition is amino acids, vitamins and minerals, you’re also getting some goodness with that sweet taste.

Other Good Sugar Substitutes

Xylitol is often bundle in with the “bad” sugar substitutes. It is thought of as a synthetic substitute and even has a name that has a very chemically, manmade ring to it. But xylitol is actually a sugar alcohol and can be found naturally in some fruits.

It’s probably not as good of an option as some of the ones listed above because it doesn’t have such an extensive history of use and research behind it, but it certainly doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Sucralose.

Good Sweet Food Substitutes

Brown rice syrup may also be acceptable in moderation. As you can imagine, there is some processing involved to get this sugar substitute—brown rice isn’t exactly naturally sweet. But it’s not heavily manufactured. The rice starch is simply cooked with enzymes that break it down, before it is then reduced until it becomes a sticky syrup.

It’s much more natural than others, but it has a higher GI score than table sugar and there are also some concerns regarding the levels of arsenic that it could contain. This toxic element is found naturally in rice and according to one study, it transfers to the end product in doses large enough to cause concern.

This further highlights the reason why you should do your due diligence when making choices about what foods and supplements to consume. The goal of the food industry is not to make you healthier and help you live longer, but to get as much of your money with as little effort as possible.

The onus is on you to do the research and make the right choices, but hopefully this guide to the best and worst sweet food substitutes has helped to make that process easier.

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