Natural Balance Foods

Natural sugar and sugar alternatives

coconut sugar

So, we’re all well aware that sugars and sweet stuff can be really bad for you especially in the consumption of refined or man-made products and snacks. Lucy-Ann, our expert nutritionist, is on board to look at the role of sugars and offers up some fantastic natural alternatives.

The best alternatives for sugar in cooking and baking

We don’t actually need to look for products as such, there are other methods of adding the sweetness and texture which sugar offers. Turning to fruits brimming with a natural sweetness is how to progress along this sugarless avenue. For example, try soaking oats overnight with a handful of raisins and witness the deliciousness of your cereal turn up a few notches! Why not apply out to our delicious Nakd Tropical Quinoa Porridge? Pureed banana and apple is another great way to go as is utilising the likes of mashed parsnip, carrot, sweet potato or beetroot. Believe it or not, these kinds of ingredients can be very much a part of scrumptious cake and muffin recipes!

Here’s a list of healthy alternatives to traditional table sugar, however, as with sugar, continue to use in moderation…

Coconut Palm Sugar

Coconut sugar is widely growing in popularity. It has a low-GI (Glycaemic Index: meaning sugars are released into the blood at a slower rate helping blood sugars to steady rather than rush) and is a fructose-free alternative to regular table sugar. The sugar is attained from the nectar accumulated in the blossoms of the coconut palm. It holds a caramel-like flavour and a similar taste to brown sugar; apply to your desserts and baking recipes!

Discover some fantastic dessert recipes here.

Xylitol

This is a naturally occurring substance which has the same characteristics of sugar; it’s additionally documented as containing some health benefits too! It has a very low GI which is incredibly suitable and helpful for diabetics. Additionally, it’s has a lower calorie count than regular sugar. Xylitol was initially extracted from birch trees after the short supply of sugar brought on by the Second World War. It can be additionally found in a range of plants and fruits, such as plums, strawberries and raspberries which can be eaily applied to most recipes using sugar.

Stevia Leaf

Often referred to as the ‘sweet herb’, the stevia leaf has been used for centuries in South American cultures and communities. You can use the stevia leaf in granule form, much like regular sugar; this availability is more widespread now with the leaf being approved as a healthy sweetener. One thing to note, Stevia is a whole lot more sweeter than sugar, this means it needs to be tried and tested before presenting your recipes to wider audiences. The investigating is worthwhile, though!    

Maple Syrup

An excellent ‘natural food’ when looking for that sweetness – it’s one of my personal favourites. Maple syrup is delicious and contains some vitamins and minerals, however, it’s worth noting that it is pure sugar so be sure to go easy with it!

If you’re not keen on using maple syrup but require a syrupy sweetener then look into agave syrup or rice syrup. These are both pretty different to the original ‘plant’, once refined and processed the health benefits are somewhat reduced and lost.

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