- Processed sugars are harmful for the body.
- Artificial sweeteners have been denounced by health experts.
- Date and coconut sugar are two most nutritious sweeteners out there.
Multiple studies have blamed the hidden sugar in our food for increased risks of obesity and a number of other weight-related illnesses. Diet and nutrition experts around the world suggest cutting out processed sugars from our meals, in order to shed the extra kilos on our body. Moreover, the artificial sweeteners that have managed to create a market for themselves, have also been denounced by dietitians and weight loss experts, as they may be ‘unhealthy’. These store-bought sweeteners are calorie-savers as compared to processed and crystallized sugar, but they have a number of harmful health effects, including increased risk of diabetes and hormone imbalances.
So should you just give up sweet food altogether, in order to lead a healthy lifestyle? For die-hard sweet lovers, that might be something akin to leading a bland life, devoid of all colors. Thankfully, there are some naturally occurring sweeteners that don’t cause any harm to your health and enhance the taste of the dishes that they are added to. So if you are worried about your weight and want healthier alternatives to processed sugar, you might want to switch to the following natural sweeteners:
Honey has been hailed as a healing food in Ayurveda and has been used in a variety of medicines, since time immemorial. Besides improving immunity and protecting you from cold and flu, honey also aids weight loss and is extremely versatile. It doesn’t have any overpowering flavor that might disrupt the overall taste of a dish and hence, can be easily used instead of sugar in almost all sweet dishes and even beverages like tea, milkshakes, smoothies, etc. However, only raw honey has all these health benefits. Processed honey is as harmful as sugar.
Gur or jaggery is another superfood that can be used in a variety of sweet dishes, not just to add sweetness to them, but to also make them more nutritious. It’s made from boiling concentrated sugarcane and is available in multiple forms. The granular jaggery called jaggery sugar or guria shakkar can easily be added to milk tea, or any other desserts like halwas, laddoos, etc.
3. Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is one of the most enriched natural sweeteners out there. With the rise of coconut oil as a health food around the world, people are slowly recognizing the benefits of coconut sugar as well. It has a low-glycaemic index and hence, can control blood sugar. It is also rich in nutrients like iron, calcium, potassium, etc and is chock-full of antioxidants.
4. Date Sugar
Date sugar is another highly nutritious natural sweetener that can be a very valuable addition to your diet. It’s made from dried dates that are ground to a fine powder. Dates are rich in fiber and can promote the feeling of satiety, keeping you full for longer. They are also rich in potassium that is detoxifying in nature. Cooking with date sugar might take some getting used to, but once you know how to use it properly, you’ll end up making your dishes yummier and healthier.
Besides processed sugar, fizzy drinks and sodas, as well as packaged fruit juices are also bad for health and hence, should only be consumed in the most minimal amounts.