If avoiding honey in the diet, it may seem like there are not a lot of choices out there for a natural sugar substitute that will avoid the health risks of refined table sugar on one hand and artificial sweeteners on the other. The good news is that there are actually a number for healthy, natural options available to satisfy the sweet tooth without guilt.
While many people think of maple syrup exclusively in terms of waffles and French toast, this syrup makes an excellent sweetener and is a great alternative to honey, since its rich and earthy flavor is somewhat similar. It can be used in baking to make cookies, cakes and other desserts much healthier. It is important to remember to buy the more nutrient-rich grade B syrup and not to confuse it with commercial table syrups which are an unhealthy combination of corn syrup and artificial flavors and dyes.
Yacon Root Syrup
This sweetener has not been as widely publicized as maple syrup or date sugar, for instance, but it, too, is an excellent honey alternative. Although it is incredibly sweet, it is low on the glycemic index and can actually help promote regularity of blood sugar levels as well as weight loss, making it very diabetic-friendly. It has also been shown to help ease gastrointestinal issues like ingestion and constipation and it high in iron.
Coconut sugar has become increasingly popular as a sugar substitute in this country, but coconut nectar, too, is beginning to catch on. People purchase it for its delicious and rather rich flavor but also because it is naturally rich in mineral and B-vitamins and, like yacon root syrup, ranks low on the glycemic index, making it an ideal choice for those with blood sugar problems. It is particularly good when used atop breakfast cereals or in smoothies.
Another great alternative if avoiding honey in the diet is date paste. This sweetener can be made at home quickly and simply by processing the dates in a blender with water until the desire consistency is reached. This is also made attractive by the fact that is easy to find at grocery or health food stores and contains all the vitamins, mineral and fiber of the dates themselves.
This naturally sweet plant, native to South America, has been used since ancient times as a sugar substitute. It is a great aid to weight loss and has even been endorsed by the American Diabetic Association as a diabetic-friendly sweetener that will not adversely affect the blood sugar. It can be used in desserts, coffee or tea or smoothies and comes in both a liquid and powder form.
So don’t worry: even if trying to avoid honey in the diet, there are still a number of wonderful natural sugar substitutes to choose from. Not only do they satisfy the craving for sweets, they all bring with them a variety of health benefits so that it really is possible to have the cake and eat it, too!
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