Many families rely on sugar to boost the taste of certain foods during meal preparation. Whether you’re adding it to coffee, tea, cereal or your favorite baked goods, there’s no denying the power of a little sweetness. But Americans get far too much added sugar in their daily diets, meaning it may be time to put your sugar jar back in the pantry. However, you don’t have to make do with bitter or flavorless foods. Instead, use these healthy sugar substitutes.
1. Agave nectar
This nectar comes from the agave cactus, and Health magazine reported that its taste and texture are comparable to honey. It doesn’t have as many antioxidants as honey does, but it has about the same amount of calories – about 20 per teaspoon. However, you really don’t need much to taste a difference in whatever you add it to. Women’s Health magazine noted that it’s 25 percent sweeter than sugar, so a few drops is all it takes to sweeten up your cup of coffee. Since agave nectar has more fructose than table sugar, Health added that it’s less likely to spike your blood sugar but may be more likely to reduce your metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
Sucralose, which is found in Splenda, is considered the safest of the sugar substitutes compared to brands like Equal and Sweet ‘n Low. It has zero calories and is 600 times sweeter than table sugar, so a little goes a very long way. Sucralose is derived from real sugar and has undergone plenty of testing that has found it safe for human consumption. It’s a nice substitute to use while baking since it holds up well to heat. Holly Kistler, R.D., from Cederquist Medical Wellness Center in Naples, Florida, told TotalBeauty.com that foods can cook faster when they’re sweetened with sucralose, though, so you may have to alter your baking times.
This Central- and South-American herb is becoming more popular as companies figure out how to make the taste more appealing to consumers. It has zero calories and is 40 times sweeter than table sugar, but it won’t cause your blood sugar to spike. Some people are put off by its bitter, licorice-like aftertaste, but many brands now limit their products to the sweetest parts of the plant that don’t have this taste.