This blog was submitted to us by our friends at GetRealGetRaw, an organization that promotes the healing power of raw food by providing healthy food and nutrition education to people everywhere. They are best known for their delicious organic green smoothie called the Groothie.
GetRealGetRaw encourages people to use natural sugar alternatives vs refined sugars whenever possible. This blog shares some of their favorite substitutes. (Note: the items listed below will still count as added sugars. The American Heart Association recommends 6 teaspoons a day and 9 for men so moderation and portion control are important).
It’s no secret; we all know that too much sugar is bad for us. It used to be, that refined sugar was just found in cupcakes or candy, but today, almost every food has hidden sugars added. What many people may not know is that consuming too much of these added sugars can lead to serious health issues.
I’m here today to share with you a few natural sugar alternatives that you can use while baking, making smoothies, your favorite cooking recipes, or just when your sweet tooth calls. Below, I have a list of my favorite sugar alternatives that can be used in any of your own recipes! Remember, these will still count as added sugars, so be mindful of how much you use!
- Dates- Dates are a great alternative to sugar because they are SOOO naturally sweet. I compare them to the taste and sweetness of caramel, All of the sugars in dates are naturally occurring fruit sugars and they can be added to any dish to replace white sugar. I use them in my smoothies for a little extra sweetness.
- Applesauce- This may sound kind of weird but trust me – it works! I use applesauce when baking things like cakes and brownies instead of sugar, just cut up your whole apple (skin and core included) and blend it. Apples are a superfood in my book – they have been considered the “golden” fruit by many cultures for many centuries. Remember the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away?” You can add apples to your diet in many ways, using them in your baking can now be one too!
- Natural Maple Syrup- Who doesn’t love a great maple syrup drizzle on top of their morning oats or protein pancakes? Natural maple syrup is a great sugar alternative. Maple syrup has antioxidants which may help fight inflammatory diseases. Just make sure it’s natural; we don’t want that Aunt Jemima’s maple syrup, which is all high fructose corn syrup. Maple syrup is sweet enough on it’s own, you just need a little drizzle.
- Raw Honey- Perhaps one of the easiest and most common sugar alternatives is honey! Look for unpasteurized raw honey, which contains trace amounts of vitamins, enzymes, minerals, amino acids and energy. If you have a weakened immune system due to cancer treatment, go for the heat-treated honey, which is safer as there is less risk of infection. Drizzle a small amount of honey atop your morning smoothie bowl for some natural sweetness!
- Raw Coconut Nectar- This one is definitely one of my favorites! I use this in my baking to replace the unhealthy cane sugars.
- Blackstrap Molasses- Molasses is a sugar alternative that has a pretty distinct taste and may not be for everyone, but I really enjoy it in my smoothies-especially when I make a chocolate smoothie to give it that rich flavor. It contains vital vitamins and minerals and has the lowest sugar content of all sugar cane products.
- Fruit- If you are making dressings or sauces, blending up any sweet fruit as the base is a delicious option. Raw fruit is always an excellent option for added sweetness. Raw produce maintains all of its natural nutrients (and there are thousands) when consumed without heating. Bananas are also incredibly sweet – you can peel and freeze your ripe bananas and then blend them in your blender for a delicious “ice cream” type dessert☺
So there you have it! My favorite refined sugar substitutes. Perfect for baking, cooking, smoothies, oats, and more! You can replace the call for white sugar with your favorite option. Please be aware that “organic” sugar cane is still refined sugar. You don’t have to deny your sweet tooth, to be healthy. Just make a few substitutions, watch your portion sizes, and you’ll start to crave sugar less and whole foods, that are naturally sweet, more!
Here at GetRealGetRaw we believe in the healing powers of raw foods, the more you add to your diet, the healthier and happier your body will be! Visit our site to learn more about what we do.