The healthiest alternatives to sugar to follow a balanced diet without giving up sweets

According to the WHO, consumption of sugar should not exceed 10 percent of the total caloric intake, since it provides us with empty calories, favoring the weight gain and body fat, in addition to increasing the risk of diabetes or cardiovascular disease. The ideal would be delete it of the diet, but it is not so easy, since it activates the brain’s reward center and is very addictive, even more than some drugs. Sugar stimulates the production of dopamine what makes us feel pleasure and it is this pleasure that makes us need to eat more and more since our brain becomes less sensitive to this hormone.

The healthier alternatives

All nutritionists recommend use of fruit to replace sugar in our diet. Ripe or dehydrated fruit can be used as well as sweet vegetables such as pumpkin, carrot or beet. They can be used to make dough biscuits, sauces or syrups and, if we educate our palate well, it can be as pleasant as the use of sugar in recipes.

But therein lies the key palate education, as the sweetness level of these alternatives is never going to be that high. If you are not yet at that stage, you can always use other alternatives, such as sweeteners healthier like stevia or panela or honey. Although these have some advantages over sugar, they are not the best option since they keep the sweetness threshold too high, masking the true sweet taste of food.

Sweet alternatives that you can find in the supermarket

Honey

Honey is mainly made up of fructose, natural fruit sugar, and is also rich in minerals and vitamins from group B. Even so, we should limit its consumption, since it is a simple sugar. Also, if you opt for this option, always choose the most natural or ecological that you find, since it is extracted directly from the honeycomb without undergoing any process. The most commercial honeys can incorporate other types of simple sugars or artificial aromas.

Agave Syrup

Agave syrup comes from the leaves of the agave, a plant similar to aloe vera. It mainly contains fructose and glucose and it is rich in fructooligosaccharides, which are beneficial for intestinal health. The combination of fructose and glucose makes it have a lower glycemic index than white sugar, so its absorption is slower, which benefits your metabolic process.

Stevia

Stevia is a perennial shrub that belongs to the same family as chrysanthemums and is native to tropical and subtropical areas of South America. This sweetener is rich in iron, magnesium and cobalt and leaves no metallic aftertaste after consumption.

Panela

This product is prepared from sugar cane syrup. Unlike sugar, it has glucose, fructose, proteins, minerals (calcium, iron and phosphorus) and vitamins (A, C, D, E, group B). Among its benefits, it strengthens the immune system and the bone system, helps regulate heart rate and the transmission of nerve and muscle impulses.

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