Since it is not realistic to cut sugar out completely, one can try alternative sweeteners. There is stevia, xylitol, palm sugar, turbinado and agave nectar – just to name a few. Some natural sugar alternatives do not elicit as high of a blood sugar roller coaster as conventional white sugar (sugar cane) – plus, they taste great!
Organic agave nectar is extracted from agave plants using low heat and no chemicals. A sweet natural alternative, agave nectar that is about 1.5 times sweeter than sugar due to its high concentration of fructose. Since it is so sweet you can use less. Agave nectar causes less of a blood sugar spike (lower glycemic number) than sugar.
From the sap of coconut trees, palm sugar has gained popularity from preliminary reports out of the Philippines suggesting it has a lower glycemic index than sugar. Similar to brown sugar, everyday consumers find it easy to convert to using instead of sugar. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, palm sugar is one of the most sustainable sweeteners.
Also known as cane sugar or raw sugar, turbinado sugar is a less processed, higher moisture product from sugar cane. With a few less calories than sugar it could be considered a slightly healthier choice.
Stevia is an herb that is 300 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia does not have any calories, and thus no glycemic effect making it suitable for diabetics. Used as a sweetener for centuries in South American and Japan, it makes up 41 per cent of the global sweetener market.
You may already be familiar with xylitol as it is a common ingredient in chewing gum. This is because xylitol has a natural ability to prevent the growth of bacteria and thus prevent the development of dental cavities. Xylitol is naturally found in fibrous fruits and other plants.