Did you know processed or refined white sugar is not healthy for our bodies? In fact, our bodies aren’t even equipped to handle the amount of refined sugar that is typically consumed in a day. You may think you are not eating a high amount of sugar, but sugar can be found in almost every pre-packaged food at the grocery store. For additional information on why sugar is extremely bad for us, Click Here.
So why it is bad and even called toxic or a poison. It is not that sugar is “toxic”, as in; you’ll die the moment you eat it. You will however, have a higher risk of developing obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. Refined sugar is put on the same scale as being as addictive as cocaine. As shocking as that might sound, sugar fools our brain into believing we are not full so that we continue to eat it. Not only can we be fooled by people, we can now be fooled by our food! So the next question is…
What is a good sweet substitute to use instead of refined sugar?
Stevia – One of the best sweetener substitutes out there. What most people don’t realize is that stevia in its natural plant state is 40 times sweeter than sugar. In its powdered or liquid form, it is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. You thought sugar was sweet! Refined sugar only works on the sweet receptors on your tongue, whereas stevia pulls on both the sweet and bitter receptors. This is why a lot of people do not care for the taste of stevia. If you get too much stevia you start tasting the bitterness. You have to use stevia in moderation to get the full sweetness effect. Two more bonuses, it will not affect your blood sugar level, and it has 0 calories.
Date Sugar – Do you like dates? If you do, date sugar is the way to go. Date sugar is exactly what it says, ground dates. It needs no additives to make it sweeter. There are approximately 25 grams of sugar is just 5 dates, that’s a lot of sweet! The one thing that you’ll need to know before you start pouring it in your coffee is date sugar does NOT melt. It’s fantastic for baking though! You can use 2/3’s the amount of date sugar when substituting for brown or white sugar in your baking recipes. Don’t use more than that or your recipes will be too sweet.
Coconut Sugar – This sugar is one of the best if you are also want the benefit of adding extra vitamins and antioxidants to your diet. It’s hard to believe but sometimes sugar can be healthy for you. This one definitely proves that it can curb a sweet tooth and also be healthy. Coconut sugar contains iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium. It is best when used as a substitute for brown sugar. It does not make a good substitute for white sugar. I would not use it in your coffee as it’s not quite as sweet as sugar, but don’t worry about your baked goods, they’ll be just as sweet!
Pure Maple Syrup – When I say pure maple syrup, I am not talking about the kind you buy from the store for your pancakes. If you read the back of that you’ll find it’s mostly high fructose corn syrup and other chemical additives that are not healthy for you. Pure maple syrup, that comes straight out of a sugar maple tree is high in manganese and zinc. Both are great for energy, antioxidant and immune system support. Plus there is about 54 grams of sugar per 2 tablespoons, now that’s sweet! A little bit goes a long way whether you’re baking with it or sweetening your coffee.
Organic Sugarcane Molasses – This sugar is created in the process of refining sugar, but whereas refined sugar has no nutrients, molasses is the opposite. Molasses has approximately 30% of our daily iron intake as well as 14% of our copper which promotes healthy hair. It is also high in calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and antioxidants. So if you were wondering what happened to all the nutritious parts of cane sugar, it’s in the molasses. Molasses is one of the most overlooked sugar substitutes.
Raw Honey – Being one of the most commonly used sugar substitutes for teas. We all know that it’s great for treating sore throats, but did you know it is also great for dressing wounds? Yes, I am talking about deep or shallow cuts on your body that you put anti-bacterial creams on to ward off infection. Before penicillin was created in 1928, raw honey was used in hospitals to dress wounds. Raw Honey has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant qualities that have been forgotten by most people today. It can kill around 250 strains of bacteria including MRSA.
Honey is also one of the best natural cures for allergies. Using local honey can help build your tolerance to local allergens. These are just some of the amazing attributes of this sugar substitute. The next time you go to use sugar in your coffee, tea or even when cooking or baking, try to use raw honey!
How much do I use in my recipe?
One of the bigger concerns of those who want to use refined sugar substitutes, is how much to use in the recipe. Obviously every sweetener has it’s own qualities and some are sweeter than others. You can’t just use a 1 to 1 ratio when you’re baking. Here is all the information you need to know on your substitute to sugar ratio.
Stevia – (Powdered Stevia) 1 Teaspoon (Liquid Stevia) 6-9 Drops = 1 Cup (Refined) Sugar. (Powdered Stevia) 1/4 Teaspoon (Liquid Stevia) 2-4 Drops = 1 Tablespoon (Refined) Sugar
Date Sugar – 2/3 Cup = 1 Cup (Refined) Sugar
Coconut Sugar – 1 Cup = 1 Cup (Refined) Sugar
Pure Maple Syrup – 3/4 Cup = 1 Cup (Refined) Sugar
Organic Sugarcane Molasses – 1 1/3 Cup = 1 Cup (Refined) Sugar. (Tip)- Because of the acidity in molasses, you’ll need to add 1/2 tsp of baking soda to every cup of molasses. You will also need to reduce the amount of liquid in your recipe by 5 Tbsp.
Raw Honey – 2/3 – 3/4 Cup = 1 Cup (Refined) Sugar
When using a sugar substitute your recipe may not turn out the way you expect it too. Baking with some of these sugar substitutes can make the recipe taste and look different.