My Top 5 Healthier Sugar Alternatives to Try (And Sweeteners To Avoid)

Sugar addiction is the real deal!
we’re all human and cutting all sweeteners tomorrow isn’t realistic

Quitting this sweet drug of choice isn’t so simple, but knowing which types of sweeteners to choose can make all the difference in how you look, think, and feel.

How sugar affects your health

Sugar sweetens, preserves, and enhances the flavour of food. This makes it hard to avoid and resist, but the health benefits of reducing your sugar intake are clear. A diet high in sugar has been associated with a wide range of health conditions, either directly through its effect on the body or indirectly due to complications from obesity.

More obvious symptoms might be headaches, fatigue, and uncontrollable food cravings that impact us in different ways, most notably the quality of day-to-day life.
Several other chronic conditions that can be triggered by high sugar intake are as follows:

• Tooth decay and cavities

• Type 2 Diabetes

• Weight gain and obesity

• Poor nutrition

• High triglyceride levels

• Low Immunity

• Chromium Deficiency

• Faster Aging

• Stress Increase

How to choose the right sugar replacement for you?

It may be difficult to sort through all the sugar alternatives on the market to decide which one is right for you.

Are sugar alternatives a healthier option?

Whether or not sugar substitutes are a healthier choice for you depends on which type of sweetener you use, how much you use, and why you use it. 

Low-calorie sweeteners, or sugar substitutes, can allow people with diabetes to enjoy sweet foods and drinks that do not affect their blood sugar levels.

Top sugar substitutes and sweeteners

Now that we’ve covered some of the reasons to limit sugar intake and why you should consider healthier and more natural sugar substitutes for health, you’re probably wondering what are the best options for satisfying your sweet tooth.

1.Coconut sugar

We love all things coconut, coconut sugar included!

Coconut sugar
Coconut sugar comes from the nectar within the coconut blossoms which then goes through a natural processing technique to evaporate the water from the sap, allowing the nectar to crystalize.

The fructose content of coconut sugar is around 39% which is an unfortunate downside considering the other nutrients like zinc and iron plus the bonus of some antioxidants and a small amount of inulin fiber which works as a prebiotic to promote gut health. 

Also, read 9 Warning Signs You Have Poor Gut Health
Potential benefits: 

  • Coconut sugar is unrefined, so it retains all its vitamins and minerals, and doesn’t lead to fluctuations in blood sugar.
  • However, coconut sugar has the same amount of calories as table sugar, and it’s still high in carbohydrates and fructose. This means people looking to lose weight should limit it.
  • Also, it may not the best option for those who have diabetes.

Check out 8 Surprising Guilt-free Healthy Diabetes Snacks

How to use it:

Coconut sugar can be used as a 1-to-1 replacement for white or brown sugar, so it’s easy to use in the kitchen. However, it can be very coarse. You may want to grind it in a blender or food processor for a few moments before using it for baking or in place of powdered sugar.

Brand Pick: Sattvic Foods

2.Honey

Probably the oldest replacement for sugar all around the world, honey (please read “raw honey”, not the commercial type) is made without any processing.

Honey

Yes, it is almost half fructose, but its benefits as a cleansing substance, even having antibiotic properties, with antioxidants and B vitamins, both in internal and external usage make it one of the best choices for a healthy alternative to sugar. 

Also, read the surprising benefits of honey

Potential benefits:

  • Honey contains more nutrients than table sugar, including antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
  • Used as an additive to teas as a cold remedy, which is a great choice to add a little sweetness to your drink, but don’t overdo it. 
  • It’s also easier to digest than regular sugar. However, like table sugar, honey is high in calories and breaks down to glucose and fructose, so it poses some of the same health risks.

How to use it: 

Honey can be particularly tasty in smoothies, baked goods, sauces, marinades, and salad dressings.

Honey is sweeter than sugar, so you may have to reduce the amount you add.

Since there’s water in honey, you’ll also want to reduce the liquid you use when substituting honey in baked goods.

Brand Pick: Pahadi Kissan

3.Date paste

Date paste

Dates are rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins, so using date paste as a sweetener to your recipes can add more nutritional value to your diet than simply using regular sugar.

Date paste is also an easy sugar alternative you can make at home in a blender using 3/4 cup of water, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and about 1 cup of warm, pitted dates.

Potential benefits: 

  • Dates have a lower Glycaemic Index than normal sugar. Studies have shown that eating dates does not result in blood sugar spikes like eating sugar does. They’re therefore better for managing blood sugar levels and are beneficial sugar replacers for both non-diabetics and type 2 diabetics alike.
  • Dates are also packed with fibre. We need fibre to keep our bowels regular and healthy and eating a couple of dates a day helps keep our fibre intake topped up. We Brits are notoriously bad at eating enough fibre so dates can be a tasty, fibrous addition to our diet.
  • There’s also plenty of vitamins and minerals in dates. Date paste, since it’s just minced up dates, still contains all the same nutrients and has all the same benefits.

How to use it:

Dates can be particularly tasty in smoothies, baked goods, sauces, marinades, and salad dressings.

Date paste can be sweeter than sugar, so you’ll have to reduce both the amount you add and the amount of liquid when baking.

Type Pick: Medjool Dates, Omani Dates

4.Maple syrup

Think beyond pancakes and waffles. Maple syrup can be used in many different ways to add flavour to sweet and savoury dishes. It’s one of the most natural, unrefined sources of sugar out there. It also has a lot of antioxidants, including inflammation-fighting polyphenols.

Healthy pancake
Potential benefits: 

  • Maple syrup is high in antioxidants and rich in minerals, including calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and manganese.
  • However, like other natural sweeteners, maple syrup is high in calories and should be consumed in moderation.

How to use it: 

Use it in healthier breakfast options such as oatmeal or plain yoghurt, or savoury dishes such as vegetables, chicken, salmon, or salad dressings.

You can also use maple syrup when baking — just be sure to reduce the number of liquids in the recipe.

Brand Pick: Urban Platter

5.Stevia extracts

This sweetener is made from the leaves of the Stevia Rebaudiana plant, which grows only in warm climates. Without any carbohydrates or calories, stevia doesn’t raise blood sugar, making it a great natural sugar substitute.

Stevia

Potential benefits:

  • Stevia is a plant extract with little-to-no calories. It’s also much sweeter than sugar, so you need less of it to provide the same amount of sweetness.
  • Since stevia extract is very low in calories, it’s considered a healthy sugar alternative for those who have diabetes or need to control their weight.

How to use it:

It comes in various forms, including powder and liquid, so you may need to experiment to find out which ones work best in different recipes. Stevia extract is also relatively stable in heat, so it can be used in cakes, sauces, and pastries.

Brand Pick: Ritestevia

Top 3 Sugar Substitutes To Avoid

1. Agave Syrup 

Although agave is natural sugar, don’t be fooled by the marketing hype.

Agave gained notoriety for its low glycemic index, it ultimately was shown to have a higher fructose content than high-fructose corn syrup (about 70% to 90%). It has been marketed as a healthier alternative, but it’s no better than the worst offenders.

It is highly sweet, replacing sugar with success, with lower amounts of the substance required.

However, it has 75-90% fructose, even more than high fructose corn syrup, which doesn’t metabolize, raising the blood sugar levels rapidly, which means that the skinny margarita that you ordered is a lot more harmful than you thought.

2. Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial and low-calorie sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, and neotame are considered the worst of the worst in the realm of alternative sweeteners.

Synthetic sweeteners like Sucralose (Splenda, Maltodextrin), Aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet), Saccharin (Sweet N’ Low), and Acesulfame K (Ace K, Sunette, Sweet One) should be avoided altogether.

There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that shows this stuff just isn’t that good for you.

Many people report headaches, stomach aches and a general ill feeling after eating artificial sweeteners. And some studies have shown that chemical sweeteners can change the bacterial makeup of your microbiome, throwing your entire gut health out of whack.
The major problem with all the sweeteners in this category is that they require additional chemicals like chlorine to create their low-calorie nature, which poses serious long term health risks.

3. High Fructose Corn Syrup

High-fructose corn syrup, which is made through a chemical process that’s anything but natural, is one of the worst offenders for insulin spikes, as it doesn’t have to be digested by your body. This stuff simply filters right into your bloodstream and goes wild.

what makes it so harmful?


With corn being one of the most common genetically modified crops, the majority of HFCS is produced using GMO corn, but that’s not the only issue. The problem is that just as the name suggests, this sugar alternative is extremely high in fructose.

The problem with fructose is highly concentrated forms is that it gets rapidly metabolized by the liver, which has downstream effects that contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease ( NAFLD), insulin resistance, and obesity.

Tips for reducing sugar in your diet

Follow these steps to help reduce sugar in your diet daily:

• Choose to drink water, calorie-free beverages, or low-fat milk instead of sugary sodas and drinks.

• Choose whole fruits instead of processed desserts and fruit juices. When you do drink fruit juice, make sure it’s 100% fruit

• Add fruit to cereal instead of buying sweetened cereal or adding table sugar

• Use sugar-free preserves or fresh fruit to sweeten plain yoghurt instead of eating sweetened yoghurt with fruit in it

• Choose lower-calorie, sugar-free hot chocolate drinks instead of candy

• Snack on vegetables, fruit, low-fat cheese, or whole-wheat crackers

• Choose unsweetened products, such as unsweetened applesauce or nut kinds of butter

• Add flavours like vanilla, spices, or citrus to flavour foods and drinks.

When you do need a little sweetness, consult this list, choose the healthiest sugar substitute, and use the least amount possible.

So what’s next, try our healthy deserts recipes:

Healthy Dessert

1.Healthy Mango Recipes

2.Healthy Spiced Hot Chocolate

3.Irresistible Peanut Butter Desserts

4.Low-Calorie Makhana Kheer

5.Homemade Energy Bars

15 Top Diabetes Diet Myths Busted

Everyone knows everything about diabetes — particularly those who don’t have it.

Uniquely among health conditions, uninformed family members, friends, and even strangers think they know all about your diabetes and are quick to judge you, give you advice, or ask whether you can do, whatever the activity under discussion is.

There are numerous myths regarding diabetes. Many are archaic scraps of information that simply no longer are true.

Others were never true in the first place, but have been believed by people both with diabetes and without it. Finally, some myths are just curiously bizarre.

Diabetes

Myth 1: People with diabetes can’t eat sugar

This is one of the most common diabetes myths; that people with the condition have to eat a sugar-free diet. People with diabetes need to eat a balanced diet, which can include some sugar in moderation. People with diabetes can eat natural sugar.

Here are 8 Surprising Guilt-free Healthy Diabetes Snacks

Myth 2: Overweight and obesity can cause diabetes

Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes but it is not a direct cause. It can happen that overweight people may not develop type 2 diabetes while some people who are of healthy weight will develop type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is not preventable and is not caused due to excess weight, physical inactivity or any lifestyle factors.

Weight loss

Myth 3: Are all types of diabetes the same

The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Each type of diabetes has different causes and needs treatment differently but if someone has any type of diabetes except gestational diabetes, it needs management every day. However, gestational diabetes goes away after pregnancy, but it does significantly increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. All types of diabetes are complex and serious.

Here is the Path to Understand Diabetes

Myth 4: If we eat too much sugar, can we get diabetes?

Genetics and other unknown factors are responsible for triggering type 1 diabetes, while lifestyle factors are responsible for causing type 2 diabetes. Being overweight increases your risk of having diabetes and a diet rich in calories can lead to an increase in weight gain. Sugary drinks can cause type 2 diabetes.

Craving snacks

Myth 5: Type 2 diabetes only affects fat people

Whilst type 2 diabetes is often associated with being overweight and obese by the media, it is patently untrue that type 2 diabetes only affects overweight people. Around 20% of people with type 2 diabetes are of normal weight, or underweight.

Here are 13 health tips towards reduced fat

Myth 6: You will know if you have diabetes by your symptoms

Not true always. Type 2 diabetes often goes undiagnosed because it usually has few or no symptoms when it first develops.   

Myth 7: Exercising when you have diabetes only increases your chances of experiencing low blood sugar

Don’t think that just because you have diabetes you can skip out on your workout! Exercise is crucial to controlling diabetes. If you’re on insulin or a medication that increases insulin production in the body, you have to balance exercise with your medication and diet. Talk to your health professional about creating a nutrition program that is right for you and your body.

Diabetic diet

Myth 8: Only people with type 1 diabetes need insulin?

People who are suffering from type 1 diabetes depend on insulin replacements. They need to check their blood glucose levels several times during the day. On the other hand, type 2 is a progressive condition. 50% of people with type 2 diabetes will need insulin 6-10 years of being diagnosed with diabetes because the pancreas produces less insulin over some time. Taking medication when required can result in fewer complications in the long-term and is part of managing type 2 diabetes.

Myth 9: Can Insulin be harmful?

Insulin is a lifesaver but it is also difficult to manage for some people. New and improved insulin reduces blood sugar. Testing your blood sugar levels, however, is the only way to know how your treatment plan is working for you.

Myth 10: Being on insulin means, you don’t have to make any lifestyle changes

When you’re first diagnosed, your blood sugar may be controlled adequately by diet, exercise, and oral medications. Eventually, however, your medications may not be as effective as they were, and you’ll likely need insulin injections to help control your blood sugar levels.

Managing your diet and exercise with insulin is very important to help keep blood sugar levels in their target range and to help avoid complications.

Myth 11:  Women with diabetes should not get pregnant

Women who manage their diabetes well can have a normal pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby.

Kids nutrition

Also read: Top 16 Kid Nutrition Questions Answered

Myth 12: People with diabetes should only eat diabetic food

Diabetic food is one of the most common myths of the last ten years. The label ‘diabetic’ is often used on sweets foods. Walk down almost any grocery store aisle and you’ll find a selection of sugar-free, processed foods. But don’t assume that a sugar-free label on a product makes it healthy. It may still contain a lot of carbs, fat, or calories.

Often sugar alcohols, or other sweeteners, will be used instead of sugar. Diabetic food will often still affect blood glucose levels, is expensive, and may also cause adverse side effects. Be sure to check the nutrition label for the total carb content.

Myth 13: Fruit is bad

There are no forbidden fruits on a diabetes diet. While it’s true that some fruits contain more natural sugars than others, you can enjoy any of them if you stick to the proper portion. One serving of any type of fruit contains about 15 grams of carbohydrate.

Weight loss

For example, that’s equal to about:

• 1/2 medium banana

• 1/2 cup cubed mango

• 3/4 cup cubed pineapple

• 1 1/4 cups strawberries

• 2 tablespoons dried fruit

Myth 14: Carbohydrates (carbs) are the enemy

Carbs aren’t your enemy. It is not carbs themselves, but the type of carb and the quantity of carb that you eat that is important for those with diabetes. Not all carbs are created equal. Those that are low on the glycemic index (GI) scale, a measure of how quickly foods with carbohydrates may impact blood sugar levels, are better choices than those with a high GI. Examples of low-GI carbs include:

https://detoxpri.in/2020/09/22/healthiestbread/

• rolled or steel-cut oatmeal

• whole-grain bread

• dried beans and legumes

• low-starch vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, and tomatoes

Here is your guide to pick the healthiest bread

Myth 15: Artificial sweeteners are safe

Although many people assume that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strictly regulates artificial sweeteners, many food additives enter the market without any oversight. The manufacturer itself can determine if their additive is “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). They can also decide whether or not they want to notify the FDA when they use a new food additive, whether it’s GRAS or not.

Despite the controversy around the safety of artificial sweeteners, the FDA Trusted Source has deemed the following sweeteners safe to consume under certain conditions of use:

Stevia

saccharin

• aspartame, which you should avoid if you have phenylketonuria

• acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K)

• sucralose

• neotame

• advantage

stevia

Not all people with diabetes need drug therapy. A healthy eating plan and exercise alone can be enough if the person makes significant lifestyle changes. This health condition can be prevented by following a balanced nutrition diabetic friendly diet , staying physically active, and getting regular medical screenings.

By Priyanshi Bhatnagar

Also read the Real-Life Solutions For Women With PCOS

The Path to Understand & Treat Diabetes Starts Here!

Whether you’ve been newly diagnosed, have been fighting against type 1 or type 2 diabetes for a while, or are helping a loved one, you’ve come to the right place.

This is the start of gaining a deeper understanding of how you can live a healthier life—with all the tools, health tips, and food ideas you need.

What is DIABETES

Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that causes your blood glucose, or blood sugar levels too high. The insulin hormone moves sugar from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it does make.

Diabetes mellitus (DM) relates to a group of common metabolic disorders that share the phenotype of Hyperglycemia.

Diabetes

Types of diabetes:

Each type of diabetes has unique symptoms, causes, and treatments.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas, where insulin is made. It’s unclear what causes this attack.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body did not makes or use insulin well, and sugar builds up in your blood.

Pre-diabetes is otherwise known as “impaired glucose tolerance”, is a precursor to Type 2 diabetes. It occurs when your blood sugar is higher than normal, but it’s not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar during pregnancy. Insulin-blocking hormones produced by the placenta cause this type of diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes

Diabetes symptoms are caused by rising blood sugar that include:

• Excessive eating (polyphagia)

• Excessive drinking of water (Polydipsia)

• Excessive urinating (Polyuria)

• Extreme fatigue or tiredness

• Mental status changes

• Unexplained and rapid weight loss

• Blurred vision

• Nausea and vomiting

• Recurrent infections

• Poor healing of wounds

• Skin problems

Different causes are associated with each type of diabetes

TYPE 1 Diabetes which is primarily due to the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and leads to a deficiency of insulin in the body. It can occur due to immune-mediated causes or may also develop spontaneously owing to an unknown cause.

TYPE 2 Diabetes which has a range from insulin deficiency to secretion defect of insulin due to insulin resistance in the body. It stems from a combination of genetics and lifestyle factors. This condition runs in families. Family members share genes that make them more likely to get type 2 diabetes and to be overweight.

Pre-diabetes, as the name suggests, is considered to be a station along the way towards full-blown Type 2 diabetes. Many people who develop pre-diabetes are overweight, have poor diets and live sedentary (inactive) lifestyles.

Gestational Diabetes mellitus (GDM) is the result of hormonal changes during pregnancy when a pregnant lady (who is not diabetic) cannot tolerate any degree of glucose. This can cause high blood sugar during pregnancy.

Diabetes Care

Prevention of Diabetes

1. Get more physical activity: It’s important to avoid being sedentary if you want to prevent diabetes. aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes.

2. Get plenty of fibre: Consuming a good fibre source at each meal helps prevent spikes in insulin levels, which may help reduce your risk of developing diabetes, by improving your blood sugar control.

3. Avoid Refined carbs: Eating foods high in refined carbs increases blood sugar and insulin levels, which may lead to diabetes over time. While whole grains reduce your risk of diabetes and help maintain blood sugar levels.

4. Lose extra weight: weight loss can improve insulin sensitivity as well as delay, and even prevent progression to type 2 diabetes.

5. Skip fad diets and just make healthier choices: Low-carb diets, the glycemic index diet or other fad diets may help you lose weight at first. But their effectiveness at preventing diabetes and their long-term effects will not happen.

6. Quit Smoking: Cigarettes can increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes to more than three times that of nonsmokers. It directly decreases the body’s ability to utilize insulin. Moreover, it has been observed that after smoking, blood sugar levels increase.

Diabetes and Diet

Healthy eating is a central part of managing diabetes. The foods you eat not only make a difference in how you control the disease, but also to how well you feel and how much energy you have.

Eating to beat diabetes is much more about making wise food adjustments than it is about denial and deprivation. A better way to look at a diet when you have diabetes is one that helps you establish a new normal when it comes to your eating habits and food choices.

1. Choose Carbohydrates that Keep Blood Sugar Steady

• High fibre foods like whole-grain bread and cereals, and foods made with 100% whole wheat, oats, quinoa, brown rice, corn and cornmeal

• Fresh (or frozen) fruits like berries, apples, pears, and oranges,

• Vegetables. Both starchy and non-starchy vegetables are all healthy carbs that have a less (glycemic) effect on your blood sugar

2.Aim for Heart-Healthy Fats

• Natural sources of vegetable fats, such as nuts, seeds, or avocados (high in calories, so keep portions small)

• Foods that give you omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel

• Plant-based oils, such as canola, grapeseed, or olive oils

3.Aim for Good Protein

• Plant-based proteins such as beans, nuts, seeds, or tofu

• Chicken breast or turkey, Eggs

• Low-fat yoghurt, 1% or skim milk, low-fat cottage cheese, Low-fat or nonfat sour cream

4. Be smart about sweets

Swapping sugary drinks, energy drinks and fruit juices with water, plain milk, or tea and coffee without sugar can be a good start.

5. Avoid

• Trans fats from partially hydrogenated or deep-fried foods

• Packaged and fast foods, especially those high in sugar, baked goods, sweets, chips, desserts

• White bread, sugary cereals, refined pasta or rice

• Processed meat and red meat

• Low-fat products that have replaced saturated fat with added sugar

“Everyone is different and, ultimately, you know best how your body responds to different types of foods, so you may have to make individual adjustments when cooking at home, eating out, or attending celebrations,” Ms Priyanshi Bhatnagar (US certified Holistic Nutritionist) points out.

By Priyanshi Bhatnagar