Your guide to common sugar alternatives!
Want to change the way you deal or live with sugar? This is a guide to the most common sugar alternatives for a more conscious approach to healthier eating.
When it comes to sugar we often think it’s enough to know the common types used for creating desserts, but the times where we only used caster sugar or powdered and maybe raw cane sugar are over. There is a huge variety when it comes to sugar alternatives and not all of them have to be expensiv
So many plants provide the sweetness that we all crave, not only processed sugar cane or beet do the magic (in this post described as common sugar). There are alternatives with fewer calories, different sweetness and also different ranges of use.
In this post you’ll get a look into all the common types of sugar alternatives, I know there are many more that are not described here but I tried to list the most familiar in this post.
Before I dive into the world of sugar alternatives I like to mention a thing or two about the usage of sugar in general.
There’s one thing that I started to apply to my everyday life – reducing sugar on a constant level and not just replace it entirely with an alternative. Whether you like to lose weight or try to live healthier for whatever reason you have, it is always a good thing to look at your habits first. When do you use sugar (is it impossible for you to drink your tea or coffee without a sweetener?) and if, how much? If you just replace sugar with a healthier alternative you don’t actually change your habits at all. You might just want to reduce it and with that, I don’t mean cutting it off entirely form one day to another. It’s all about a steady and slow reduce.
I started looking at this topic about four years ago when I gained quite a lot of weight while I was traveling and that’s when I got interested in healthier desserts, where the amount of sugar (and also fat) is reduced and replaced by a healthier alternative. So I made my way through the slow reducing process and I am now at a point where the only packaged sweets I buy at the supermarket is dark chocolate. Of course that doesn’t mean that I am eating only chocolate on a daily basis, but I actually make all of the desserts by myself on more or less like a daily basis 😀 This is also a big part of why this blog exists, to share healthy and delicious dessert recipes for anyone who likes to live healthier and more mindful! Even if you don’t have much time for baking, you can spare some time on your less busier days and bake a little more to provide for the upcoming week(s) (pack your freezer with your healthy delights so you can’t run out of sweets when you need them).
Sure, there are days when I eat lots of or way too much sugar, but that’s also when my body feels the need to take some sugary time off afterward.
Even if you don’t feel the need for this sugar break and crave even more sweets, remember to not be hard on yourself. The journey to a healthier lifestyle or a healthier version of yourself never ends, you might always have to adjust. I do too! Be gentle to your body and soul and give yourself the time you need. You’ll get to know your cravings and needs in the course of time.
Here is the list of sugar alternatives. I also added the calories per 100g for each alternative so you can compare them to the common sugar (with 400 calories per 100g):
Coconut Blossom Sugar
is extracted from the coconut palm and has a slight caramel taste (it does not taste like coconut). It’s rather expensive and some people really like it whereas some don’t. I love to put it in my mueslis where the caramel taste is absolutely amazing. This sugar is not healthier than the common one but has the same sweetness (384 calories).
Coconut Blossom Syrup
is quite similar, also extracted from the coconut palm but has a stronger taste and fewer calories (289 calories).
is extracted from the agave, a kind of cactus from Mexico. It has a higher sweetness and fewer calories (310 calories) than the common sugar. It has a rather neutral taste and that’s why I love baking all kinds of things with it.
is probably one of the oldest sweeteners! Honey is loved for its great sweetness and often used as a spread on a hot toast or bread. It has the same sweetness as the common sugar. It has fewer calories (304 calories) which makes it a bit healthier. Produced by the bees, this product never tastes the same which is something that I love about it. I like to use honey where I can taste the pure taste of it, like pouring it over my pancakes in the morning.
This viscous syrup with a strong taste of its own comes from the maple trees in Canada. It’s also used as a vegan version for honey, with fewer calories (260 calories) than common sugar.
Birch sugar (Xylitol) and Erythritol -The „sugar-free“ option
Both sugar types appear naturally. Xylitol is extracted from the peeling of the birch tree and Erythritol from some fruits and also mushrooms. They are sugar alcohols, have almost zero calories (20 calories) and are good for your teeth. You should pay attention to their laxative effect, especially if you bake for children.
is also one of the oldest sweeteners in the world and mostly used in Japan as a sugar replacement. It is less intense as a sweetener and has fewer calories (316 calories). I use it for baking all kinds of things just like the agave syrup.
Also: You can really help yourself by trying to split the sugar you need for a recipe in half and for the other part use a natural sweetener like banana, dates or applesauce. You can do that if you want to edit a recipe which is not created to be a healthy dessert.
Source: Book: “Echt süß!” by Dr. Andrea Flemmer
Don’t forget to check out our health posts for more insights on improving your well-being!