5 Natural, Better for You Sugar Substituteson
Whether you're focusing on being healthier this year, weight-loss, or you are participating in a strict-diet for your athletics, sugar has a big part to play in what foods you consume. Refined sugar is the most common sweetener used in your favorite products. From protein drinks to tomato sauce, you may be surprised at just how much added sugar is in popular foods on the market. Minimum intake is okay, but too much sugar in your diet can have a negative impact on your health including higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
We're NOT telling you to lose your sweet tooth, but in this blog we ARE exploring 5 natural, better for you sugars so when you're taking your daily trip to the grocery store or baking a treat at home, you can consider these substitutes for sugar.
Used as a sweetener and a natural preservative over the last 8,000 years, it's no big surprise that honey is used as a refined sugar alternative for many recipes and products. Raw honey comes in many different variety and flavors, but all contain contains amounts of enzymes, minerals, and vitamins making it one of the best sugar substitutes. It has also been associated with preventing cancer and heart disease, regulating blood sugar, a probiotic, and used in Ayurvedic medical for 4,000 years.
At Rise Bar, we never using artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols, so our deliciously simple whey-protein bars are sweetened only with honey. Have you tried our best-selling Almond Honey Rise Bar? With only 3 ingredients (almonds, honey, and whey protein isolate) and 20g of protein, these bars are the perfect snack for the health-conscious, the foodies, and the fitness lovers.
What sugar option does not contain any calories and is 100 to 300 times sweeter than white sugar? Stevia! Due to its non-caloric, it’s safe for diabetic use and won’t contribute to obesity. It is also available in both a powder or liquid form making Stevia is a great refined sugar alternative for baking and cooking. A sweeter taste than sugar, less is definitely more when it comes to this sugar substitute. However, the taste is very strong, making it less than ideal for certain recipes. Be sure to experiment with different recipes and products to find the ones for your specific taste buds.
Made from coconut palm sap, which is the sugary circulating fluid of the coconut plant, coconut nectar is a great refined sugar alternative. Coconut nectar contains more nutrients than sugar, including minerals iron, zinc, calcium and potassium, along with some short-chain fatty acids like polyphenols and antioxidants. Though comparable to refined sugar in terms of calories and carbohydrates, coconut nectar has a lower glycemic index, allowing a more stable release of glucose into the blood.
For our vegan foodies and fans, we utilize coconut nectar in all of our plant-based protein Rise Bars. Available in delicious flavors; Lemon Cashew, Chocolatey Coconut, and Sunflower Cinnamon, each bar contains only 4 or 5 simple ingredients and 15g of protein.
Real Maple Syrup
You love it on pancakes and you might just love it even more after reading this! Maple syrup is a natural and unrefined product, making it a great refined sugar alternative. Along with its distinct flavor, it is also high in B vitamin and full of anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-bacterial antioxidants. Wow, that's a mouthful!
Compared to brown sugar, maple syrup has significantly more calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese, minerals that aid in cell formation, maintaining healthy red blood cells, and immune support. When shopping or consuming products with maple syrup, make sure it is 100% REAL maple syrup rather than maple-flavored corn syrup to reap all of the benefits of this healthier sugar option.
Replacing sugar with fruit is a common practice of sweetening recipes in a more natural way. This has increased in popularity among brands, creating more products on the market using fruit and fruit concentrates instead of refined, white sugar. Fruits like apple, orange, mango, pineapple, and berries are often used to add flavor to recipes while bananas, figs, raisins, and dates make excellent additions to a low-sugar diet while providing additional nutrients. Keep in mind, however, when adding fruits to recipes or shopping for products, keep in mind that some fruit juices are high in fructose, so like sugar, is recommended in moderation.
You won't find artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols or preservatives in our protein bars! At Rise Bar, we pride ourselves in only using natural sweeteners, one of them including fruit. Our bars like Lemon Cashew and Cacao Banana are sweetened and flavored with these real ingredients so you can keep your refined sugar intake low and enjoy what you're eating.
Tips to Reduce Sugar in Your Diet
There you have it... 5 natural, better for you sugar substitutes! Though these sugar options are better than refined, white sugar in many ways, these alternatives still contain sugar and you should be mindful of how much you are consuming. That being said, we'll leave you with a few tips to help you watch your overall sugar intake:
- Check the labels on your products before buying and consuming. Common names for hidden added sugar include: corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, etc.
- Cut back on dessert and when opting in choose whole fruits instead of processed and sweetened cakes and cookies.
- Add flavors and spices like vanilla, ginger, allspice, cinnamon or nutmeg to give a kick to recipes and create the illusion of sweetness.
- When baking, try cutting the sugar called for in your recipe or replacing milk chocolate chips with healthier, dark chocolate.
Author: Katie Nguyen, Rise Bar Team