While sipping a cup of coffee loaded with sugar and cream did it occur to you that humankind is addicted to sugar and love — we all seek it, and don’t realise it. While love is elusive, the hazards of sugar are comprehensible.
Sugar is an indispensable part of our food and lifestyle but if you have decided to go cold turkey on it then the market is full of many alternatives to choose from. Sugar takes an important part in our culture as sweets all over the world are more ceremonial than just a component of food. Though sugar is needed for instant energy, the ill effects lead us to search for healthier options for an overall better lifestyle.
Since sugar is known to increase our blood insulin levels, suppress satiety by increasing the hormone ghrelin, thus leading to obesity and many other health problems like cancer, poor cerebral functioning, heart diseases, etc., there is no harm in going easy on it. While the market is full of artificial sweeteners and natural substitutes as well, it’s advisable to check out the labels and varieties of sugar alternatives.
This is extracted from the yacón plant, which is native to South America. It tastes sweet, is dark in colour, and has a thick consistency. Yacon syrup contains 40–50% fructans, which are a special type of sugar molecule that the human body cannot digest thus making yacon syrup less calorific than sugar. Fructans can lower the hunger hormone ghrelin, helping reduce appetite. The fructans also feed the friendly bacteria in the intestine and gut thus leading to various beneficial effects on metabolism.
Monk fruit sweetener
Monk fruit sweetener is extracted from monk fruit juice. It has glucose and fructose in it but the presence of antioxidants mogrosides lends it the sweet taste. This is processed and separated to make the sweetener It has zero calories and is known for its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Birch sugar or Xylitol
Xylitol is a natural constituent of some vegetables and fruits eg., cauliflower, berries and plums. It’s usually extracted from corn cobs to save expenses. It’s 40% lesser in calorie than sugar but if had in more quantity it can cause diarrhoea or flatulence.
Stevia is a plant extract loaded with nutrients and phytochemicals and has no known adverse effects. Stevioside, a sweet compound in stevia, has been shown to lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and insulin levels. It has zero calories and has an extra sweet taste to it than sugar thereby making it one of the best alternatives to sugar.