The American Heart Association has recommended
in their heart-healthy guidelines that you should not consume more than 100 to 150 calories
from added sugars. Added sugars are considered the sugar and
syrups that are added to food either during processing or preparation. Sugar affects each and every part of your
body, from head to toe. It can cause diabetes, tooth decay, obesity,
heart disease, cancer and poor cognitive functioning. A form of sugar that should be especially
avoided is refined sugar. It is instead recommended that you choose
natural sweeteners when you are craving something sweet. Natural sweeteners are substitutes for sugar
that are healthier than the processed table sugar, or other artificial sugars. Fruit is high in natural sugar and can easily
satisfy your sweet tooth. However, you cannot usually add fruit to beverages
or recipes that call for sugar. Yet, there are natural sweeteners that are
healthy substitutes for sugar and they can be used in many different forms. Here are the top eight natural sweeteners
and sugar alternatives: 1. Raw Honey Raw honey is one of the best natural sweeteners
since it also provides health benefits for your mind and body. Honey is made from the nectar of flowers and
is collected by honey bees. Honey contains eighty percent natural sugar,
eighteen percent water and two percent of minerals, vitamins, pollen and proteins. Honey contains fructose and glucose, which
make up the majority of its sugar content. In order to fully experience the health benefits
of honey, you should always choose honey that is organic and local. 2. Stevia Another healthy sugar substitute is stevia. Stevia is created from the leaves of the stevia
rebaudiana plant. It is more than two hundred times sweeter
than table sugar and can be found in liquid, packets, dissolvable tablets and baking blends. Stevia contains antioxidants and anti-diabetic
properties. It can be heated and used in cooking and baking
as a sugar substitute. 3. Dates Another healthy alternative to sugar are dates,
which are a sweet fruit that come from the date palm tree. When ripe, their sugar content is about eighty
percent. You can also use sugar made from dried dates. They have a sweet flavor that is similar to
that of brown sugar. Dates are also good for your health, since
they contain anti-infectives, anti-inflammatories and anti-hemorrhages. They are easy for your body to digest and
can help your body to break down protein, fat and carbohydrates. Because dates are high in sugar, it is important
to consume them in moderation. Only a handful of dates are necessarily daily
in order to reap their full benefits. 4. Agave Syrup Agave nectar, or agave syrup, is also a healthy
alternative to traditional sugar. It is produced from several types of agave
plants. The taste is very similar to that of honey. However, agave syrup has a high amount of
fructose and it is recommended to use in limited quantities. 5. Blackstrap Molasses Blackstrap molasses is another healthy sugar
alternative. It is made from the sugar production process,
when the raw sugar cane is boiled and its nutrients are concentrated. It has a glycemic measure of fifty-five and
therefore can be used by diabetics and those who are trying to lose weight. 6. Coconut Sugar Coconut sugar is another natural sweetener
that can be used instead of sugar. It is created from the sap of a cut flower
bud from the coconut palm tree. It has a sweet taste, similar to brown sugar,
with a hint of a flavor like caramel. 7. Xylitol Another natural alternative to sugar is Xylitol,
which is made from plant fibers of berries, birch trees and cornhusking. It is beneficial to your teeth, has very few
calories and does not raise blood glucose levels. Therefore, it can be consumed by diabetics. It is of the same sweetness to sugar. It is created in granular forms that can be
used to bake and in hot beverages, such as coffee and tea. 8. Yacon Syrup Another healthy alternative to sugar is yacon
syrup, which is made from the root of the yacon plant that grows in the Andes Region
of South America. Yacon is also a prebiotic that helps your
body to absorb Calcium and other vitamins. It can also help to grow healthy gut flora,
which aids in digestion. Yacon syrup has a very low glycemic index
score and a high concentration of inulin, which is a prebiotic fiber. Because of this, yacon syrup is a great option
for diabetics and can be beneficial to those who are trying to lose weight. What are you favorite natural sweeteners? Comment below to let us know which you use
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