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Everyone loves something sweet. Culturally these pleasant flavors are seen as something relaxing and pleasurable.
The problem is that most desserts, sweets, snacks, prepared drinks and processed foods all contain alarming amounts of refined sugar which as we know is very harmful to our health. In reality, almost all the foods we eat contain sugar even though we might not be aware of it and even if they aren’t sweet.
We always insist that the best thing we can do for our health is to eat organic and natural products, made at home where we can be conscious of what we are consuming. Our best weapon is a controlled diet.
Living a healthier natural lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to give up sweets forever. Many people wrongly believe that sweets make us fat and that in order to be healthy we have to let go of the flavors we love.
There are a number of natural and organic sweeteners that we can use to substitute refined sugars in many recipes in order to stick to a healthy way of living.
The list below doesn’t go from best to worst but rather is a list of all the best qualities of each one, so that you can be well informed and choose the one you like best for each dish you plan to make.
Raw honey, that is, unprocessed honey, is a wonderful natural food. This honey is pure, without any additives and can be found in 3 different styles; liquid,crystallized or creamed. It is a natural carbohydrate and contains many nutrients such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, C and B, in addition to glucose. One tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories.
Stevia is the only calorie-free natural sweetener. It’s perfect for anyone with diabetes or someone who wants to lose weight. You can eat the leaves fresh, dry or granulated. Even though granulated stevia is processed, the only thing they do with it is dry the leaf and grind it down, so in principle we can still eat it without any problem. It’s ideal to use in drinks.
Maple syrup comes from the natural sap of various species of maple trees. It’s a completely natural plant-based product. Any vegetarian or vegan can eat this natural syrup. With an average of 52 calories per tablespoon, it is a fantastic sweetener for desserts.
Panela and Black Molasses
Black molasses and panela are neither better nor worse than maple syrup or syrup that is extracted naturally from sugar cane, either as a liquid or solid. With only 47 calories per tablespoon, it is very healthy, especially when compared to the refined product that comes from it, white sugar. Like maple syrup, you can use it in desserts. The only thing to keep in mind is that the flavor of molasses is more intense than other sweeteners on this list and its black color is not always very appetizing. Still, if you adjust the proportions you can substitute this completely natural sweetener into your recipes.
Coconut sugar is a perfect replacement for refined sugar in recipes, since when it’s granulated, it’s very similar to table sugar in terms of sweetness, which means you don’t have to change measurements when you’re cooking. Even so, I still recommend that you try it out little by little, especially your first couple of times. It’s more natural than sugar, but remember that it has 45 calories per tablespoon.
A large number of natural sweeteners can be used in common everyday recipes. All of them are healthy and nutritious alternatives that won’t harm our health while still sweetening our dishes. Of course we need to watch what we eat as everything in excess can become harmful. Enjoy this new way of eating sweets!