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Sweet! The Healthiest Alternatives to White Sugar

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There is nothing worse than being hit with that sudden urge to suck down any and all sweets in sight. It’s called a sugar craving, and you are not alone! Everyday, millions of people in America suffer from random and unexpected sweet tooth attacks causing unnecessary angry outburst and floors littered with ripped up candy bar wrappers. Okay, so, even though it may seem like you have lost almost all control over yourself during a sugar craving episode, having a sweet tooth probably won’t lead to total mayhem or riots on the streets. All you need to do is take control of your cravings and make sure to satisfy your sweet tooth in the healthiest ways possible.

Whether natural, added, or artificial, sugars and sweeteners are in much of our foods and drinks; refined granulated white sugar, also called white table sugar, is one of the most popular sweeteners in the United States. Refined sugar is a common added ingredient found in processed foods and is more often than not added in excess.

What is white sugar? Sugar is a class of soluble sweet crystalline substances that comes from various plants like sugar cane and sugar beet, and it is a sweet tasting carbohydrate composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. It consists essentially of sucrose and is widely used as a sweetener in food and drink. However, once refined the sugar becomes nutrient-poor offering only sad empty calories and no nutritional value to the food or beverage it has been added to. From start to finish, the basic steps in refining changes the sugar a great deal. The refining process starts by cleaning and purifying the raw sugar, then it goes through a process called affination to remove the liquid layer built up around the sugar crystals. It ends after being filtered through a beef bone char (it may be new information to some people to find out that refined sugar is not a plant-based food), and the natural brown color of the cane or beet sugar changed to white.

Although your need for something sweet is completely natural, do not give in to satisfying a need for sugar with nutrient-poor white sugar or worse, fake sugar made of chemicals. Always treat yourself to natural sweetener alternatives that will not only please sugar cravings, but ones that will contribute to your health as well. So, don’t go checking yourself in to an addiction clinic just yet; leave that space open for the celebrities and look into healthier sweetener alternatives to white sugar like the suggestions below!

Coconut Sugar

A good natural sugar choice is coconut sugar which is made from the sap of the coconut palm tree buds. Don’t confuse Coconut Sugar, also called Coconut Palm Sugar, with Palm Sugar which comes from a different type of palm tree. Coconut sugar is low on the glycemic index and a rich source of iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium, and B vitamins. The natural two-step process begins with cutting the flower of the coconut palm and collecting the liquid sap.Then, the sap is placed under heat until most of the water has evaporated. The taste of coconut sugar is very different from white sugar, as it is rather earthy and tastes of creamy caramel. Try substituting this natural sugar in your cooking and baking.

Navitas Naturals Coconut Palm Sugar

 

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Navitas Naturals is a family owned green business located in Marin County, California. They specialize in organic super-foods from around the world including products like their certified organic coconut palm sugar.

Maple Syrup

A delicious and versatile natural sweetener, maple syrup is sure to satisfy your sweet craving. Maple syrup is most commonly made from the sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees. After sap collection, it is heated to evaporate as much water as possible, which then leaves the concentrated syrup we know and love. This sweet golden goodness does not contain high fructose corn syrup (YAY!), is a great source of magnesium and zinc, and tastes best and is healthiest when 100% pure and organic. Check the ingredients to make sure that the only ingredient is 100% Pure Organic Maple Syrup and labeled Refrigerate After Opening. New to using maple syrup? Pour it over your pancakes, bake with it, drizzle on your hot cereal or on yogurt, and if you’re a coffee lover, stir in a teaspoon to sweeten instead of using creamers or white sugar.

Coombs Family Farms 100% Pure Organic Maple Syrup

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Taking care of the forest is Coombs Family Farms’ greatest responsibility. Their certified organic maple syrup is all harvested and processed responsibly in ways that both protect trees and reduces energy use. Coombs Family Farms’ maple products are made without artificial flavors, preservatives, or thickeners, and are naturally gluten free.

Image Source: David Goehring/Flickr

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