- Honey is a delicious, healthier alternative to white refined sugar
- Coconut sugar and date sugar are also healthy sugar substitutes
- Take care of portion sizes though
White refined sugar is nothing but empty calories. Health experts and nutritionist recommend avoiding sugary foods for good health and weight loss. Eating too much sugar has been linked to increased risk of diabetes and obesity. According to the American Heart Association, men should not consume more than 9 tsp of sugar in a day. This means 36 gms of 150 calories of added sugar in a day. The number is lower for women. 6 tsp or 25 gms or 100 calories per day from sugar is allowed for women, as per AHA.
To see in contrast, one 12-ounce of soda can contains 8 tsp or 32 gms of added sugar. Imagine, one day's sugar allotment gone in drinking that one can!
Sugary drinks and desserts are biggest culprits when it comes to added sugar in your diet. Other sources of hidden sugar come from juices, processed and packaged food, biscuits, bakery and confectionary foods.
In order to regulate your intake of sugar, it is important that you avoid these foods. Also, there are a few healthy alternatives of sugar that you can add to teas, coffee and even homemade sweets to make them healthier.
Natural, healthier sugar alternatives
1. Honey: Honey is a delicious, healthier alternative to white refined sugar. Though it is high in calories, it has a lower glycaemic index (GI) value than sugar. It does not raise blood sugar levels as quickly. Keep a close eye on the portion sizes.
2. Date sugar: Dates are supremely nutritious and offer multiple health benefits. They can satisfy the urge of something sweet, while also providing you with added nutrition, which is not the case with sugary foods. Dates do contain natural sugar. On an average, a medium-sized date contains 6 gm sugar. But, it is also packed with fibre. This fibre slows down the release of sugar in blood stream, preventing any spikes in blood sugar levels.
3. Coconut sugar: Coconut sugar is extracted from the sap of coconut palm. It contains nutrients like iron, zinc, calcium, potassium and antioxidants. Its GI is lower than sugar and contains insulin. Insulin is a kind of soluble fibre which can slow down digestion, increase feeling of fullness and provide gut-friendly bacteria.
4. Maple syrup: Maple syrup is obtained by cooking down the sap of maple trees. It contains minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, zinc and manganese. Maple syrup is also known to have more antioxidants than honey. Its GI is lower than sugar. Portion size needs to be checked though.
The idea is to control consumption of sugar to prevent weight gain, obesity and diabetes risk. Avoid sources of added sugar mentioned above and you're good to go.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.