Few people know that sugar is one of the most harmful substances for the human body. First, sugar contains huge amounts of calories and there are no healthy substances in it at all. Secondly, excessive consumption of sweets will spoil not only your figure but also health.
Sudden jumps in blood sugar are dangerous because they can cause diabetes or even cancer. Therefore, this article is dedicated to all the sweet lovers. Here we will talk about natural products, which are excellent substitutes for regular sugar.
Natural Sugar Replacements
1. Maple Syrup
Most of this sweet wood syrup, which has a rich dark amber color, is produced in Canada. Juice collection begins in late January and ends in late April. Everything looks almost the same as in the extraction of more common birch sap: we drill holes in the tree trunk, insert tubes and the juice flows into a container.
Then the juice is thickened, evaporated in a flat heat-resistant dish, without adding a single gram of sugar. The process is not fast, because the juice is 98% water. As a result, 40 liters of raw materials yield about a liter of flavored syrup, which goes well with pancakes, waffles, and other desserts.
This dark thick molasses is a by-product of sugar production. Sugar beet molasses is very pleasant to the taste and is used as a syrup. In this form, it is very popular, despite the slight bitterness, plus it is rich in calcium, which celebrity orthodontics say is good for your teeth. Since ancient time, it has been used in brewing, in particular when cooking stouts, porters and so-called historical ales.
Recently, this natural sweetener has become increasingly popular, especially because it is several hundred times sweeter than regular sugar. Meanwhile, stevia has a rich history: some species of this plant were actively used by the Guarani Indians who lived in Brazil and Paraguay. It was used not only for the sake of sweet taste but also as a medicine.
Today, stevia tablets or powder can be bought at any supermarket. Confectionery is also sold, where stevioside replaces sugar: since stevia does not cause a jump in blood glucose, it can be used by diabetics. Most products with this sweetener can be found in Japan. China has recently become the largest exporter of stevia extract.
4. Corn Treacle
This sweetener was known to the Aztec. The method of extracting molasses similar to the process of sugar production from cane, only corn is used as the main raw material. It turns out a viscous translucent liquid, with virtually no color. Far from being as sweet as regular sugar, but it is much cheaper.
5. Jerusalem Artichoke Syrup
Syrup made from the juice of this plant – no matter if store-bought or homemade – can be an excellent low-calorie substitute for refined sugar. It is done very simply: the plant should be rubbed on a fine grater, the juice is squeezed out of a slurry, which is then evaporated to a certain density. To the finished syrup, you can add lemon juice, ginger, berries.
Sorghum is a nutritious drought grass that belongs to the same family as millet. A sweet syrup is obtained from the stalks of the plant, which is pounded, then filtered and the resulting liquid is evaporated. The yield of the finished product is small, so the scale of production cannot be called industrial.
But sorghum syrup is much cleaner, more natural and harmless when compared to regular sugar, especially since no additional chemical compounds are used in the process of production. And it has a great soft taste and pleasant texture. Today, most sorghum is grown in China, sorghum syrup is also actively used there.
5. Locust Bean Syrup
The carob tree, also known as John’s breadfruit, is well known to vegetarians and healthy food advocates. Its fruits are large brown beans that, in addition to seeds, contain a juicy sweet pulp.
When boiling the pods without adding sugar, sweet carob syrup is obtained. It’s dark brown thick syrup has a very unusual taste. It is most widely spread in Mediterranean cuisine, where it is added to a wide variety of dishes, from pancakes to ice cream.
6. Blue Agave Syrup
The extremely famous Mexican culture is used not only for the production of tequila – recently agave juice has been positioned almost as the best natural substitute for sugar. The production technology of sweet syrup from it is extremely simple: the squeezed juice from the fresh leaves of the plant is evaporated until it acquires a thick consistency.
7. Lucuma Powder
Lukuma – a sweet fruit that grows in the Andes valley in Peru and Chile. It is an oval-shaped fruit with yellow flesh, very sweet and juicy. If they are dried and then turned into flour, then it makes a gentle cream-colored powder with a very pleasant taste and delicate aroma.
Dried lucuma can be a good sugar substitute because you need very little powder to sweeten the baking or yogurt.
8. Brown Rice Syrup
This is a typical Asian sweetener. Brown rice is made into a deep dark yellow or brown syrup. It has a pleasant aroma and delicate flavor, but the manufacturing process is rather laborious. It consists of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, it does not provoke sharp jumps in blood sugar levels, and the dishes prepared with its use have a good caramel flavor.