We all need a touch of sweetness in our lives here and there but with the knowledge that too much sugar is detrimental to our health, choosing what sweetener is the hard part! We’re well aboard the refined sugar-free train but we certainly have a bit of a sweet tooth from time to time so natural sweeteners are a staple in the pantry, particularly when it comes to creating healthy snacks and treats for the week. Here are a few of our fave natural sweeteners that feature prominently throughout our Recipes section of the blog…
Stevia is derived from the leaf of a plant and it contains no sugar. That’s right, NO sugar! And what’s even better, it tastes 300 times sweeter than sugar so you don’t need to use anywhere near as much. Zero nasty side effects with lots of sweetness = yes please!
This sugar-free alcohol can be derived from fruits and vegetables, has fewer calories than traditional sugar and does not spike blood sugar levels. Low GI is a win when it comes to natural sweeteners as it provides a slow release of energy for your body to utilise rather than it being stored as fat.
We looove honey… On toast, in baking or a dollop in a hot tea. While honey is high in sugar, raw unheated honey is also rich in vitamins and minerals with antibacterial and antioxidant properties. A teaspoon a day for a little added sweetness is the way to go.
Our fave addition to raw treats and smoothies, dates provide a thick creamy texture and plenty of sweet flavour. Dates are not only known for keeping hunger at bay but also for maintaining a healthy digestive tract and promoting great eyesight.
This sweet sap from the flower of the coconut palm tree has a delicious, malt-like flavour and is a wholesome sugar alternative. With virtually no processing, coconut nectar provides an incredible nutrient profile attributable to the coconut flower, with no additives, bleaching agents, chemicals or other nasties.
Rice Malt Syrup
Made from 100% organic brown rice, rice malt syrup is a great natural sweetener choice that is fructose-free and contains a combination of complex carbohydrates, maltose and a small amount of glucose.
Steer clear of artificial sweeteners and refined sugars. Always opt for natural sweeeteners! Artificial sweeteners are just that, artificial. They are not recognised by our body and may cause long-term damage to our health. Refined sugars are the worst of the lot! Highly processed. No nutritional value. High GI. Think the traditional white powder that gets poured into baking recipes. Consuming refined sugars are likely to cause spikes in your blood sugar levels so you will have an immediate burst of energy before crashing and burning into a state of lethargy or fatigue. Refined sugar will also be stored as fat in your body and not utilised as energy.
It is important to always read the Ingredients section on food labels to ensure your food is free of refined sugars and artificial sweeteners. By sticking to a wholefood lifestyle, choosing foods in their most natural state and consuming organic where possible, we can be confident that we are not only looking after our health and wellbeing but hopefully the food tastes great too!
What natural sweeteners are staples in your kitchen? Let us know in the comments below xo