Excessive amounts of added sugar in food and beverages are a major concern of the modern diet. People tend to consume huge amounts of sugar in the form of hidden or added sugar without even knowing about it. Sugar in excess amounts may directly lead to serious health consequences.
Some major health issues that result from heavy sugar consumption include obesity, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and even cancer. People need more awareness about the harms of using processed sugar and some natural substitute of sugar simultaneously. This will allow them to better control sugar consumption.
Why Is Eating Sugar Bad For You?
In addition to many serious health issues, sugar is bad for health in other ways. It tends to disturb normal metabolism and causes an increase in insulin and fat storage in the body. Sugar is addictive with excess intake; the hormones are triggered, which develops the desire to have it again.
What Are Sources Of Added Sugar?
There are many ways people tend to consume added sugar without being aware of it. It is essential to point out these sources in order to deliberately avoid such sources. The most common sources of added sugar are:
Soda drinks have a huge amount of added sugar in them. People of all ages love to drink soda drinks, but these are very harmful to health. One reason is that it has an immense amount of sugar in it. Such drinks offer a body with zero nutrition and more calories.
Sugary Alcoholic Beverages
Many companies have launched processed and packaged alcoholic beverages. You may find a number of brands in the market. However, these alcoholic beverages also have huge amounts of sugar added. Sugar is added to make it taste even better. This makes it very hard to avoid such drinks and makes a person addicted.
Addiction, whether it is alcohol, sugar, or other drugs, is very hazardous for life. It deteriorates the quality of life. In order to enjoy a more sound and healthy life, it is essential to look for a way out of addiction. You may even inquire whether your health insurance covers addiction treatment to get started with professional treatment.
Snacks And Sweets
This again makes up a big source of added sugar. Generally, people like to munch on sugary snacks in between regular meals. However, using these sugary snacks such as cake, donuts, pastries, and other sweets can load your body with a heavy amount of added sugar.
Natural Substitutes Of Sugar
Based on the fact that sugar is very unhealthy and in order to replace it with a healthier option, a person may find various substitutes of sugar which are natural too. Let us review some healthy and natural substitutes for sugar.
Honey comes on the top of the list for various reasons. Not only is it a natural sweetener, but it offers many health benefits. You may easily add honey in beverages and even food to make it taste sweeter. Furthermore, honey has a low glycemic index, and it makes it much safer.
It is found that honey actually lowers blood sugar levels, and thus it is widely used to lose weight. This also helps in avoiding excess weight gain. In addition, honey is rich in antioxidants, and it has several minerals to offer to the body.
Maple syrup is again a good substitute for sugar. Maple syrup is prepared by cooking sap of maple tree. Studies show that it has an even greater amount of antioxidants and minerals as compared to honey. Maple syrup is good for people with Type I diabetes.
This is because of oligosaccharides in their composition. Despite it being a better substitute for sugar, it still has sugar and should be consumed in moderation.
Molasses, thick brown syrup, is derived from sugarcane. In addition to minerals and antioxidants, it is also very rich in potassium and calcium. This composition makes it beneficial for stronger bones. It also has a good amount of iron that makes it great for the heart.
Again a good substitute for refined sugar, but still, it is a form of sugar. It is better to consume it less often and avoid excess use.
As the name suggests, it is derived from coconut palm; it is another natural substitute for sugar. The inulin, a soluble fiber, found that coconut sugar offers many benefits to gut health. Inulin slows down digestion and keeps you fuller for longer.
However, just like table sugar, coconut sugar is high in fructose. So, it is better to use it occasionally. It also offers similar calories just as regular sugar.
Stevia is basically a plant-derived natural sweetening agent. It is derived from a shrub native to South America. The best thing about it is that it offers zero calories, and it tastes 350 times sweeter than regular sugar.
Packed with nutrients and phytochemicals, this natural sweetener makes up a sweetening agent with many health benefits. So far, research suggests that it is safe to consume.
Monk Fruit Sweetener
Derived from Monk fruit, it is a natural sweetener with zero calories and sweeter in taste in comparison to table sugar. Monk fruit sweetener also makes up a great substitute for table sugar. Research suggests that monk fruit sweetener has less effect on blood sugar and insulin levels and is a safe way to sweeten up beverages and foods.
Yacon syrup is again a plant-derived natural sweetener with a thick consistency and dark color. It is similar to molasses. Though it has some calories, it is still one-third of that of regular sugar. Yacon syrup is a great natural substitute for regular sugar.
No matter what form you are putting sugar into, it is important to keep the intake in moderation. Sugar in any form is still harmful, and hence it should be taken in limited amounts. However, replacing regular sugar with natural sweeteners can have reduced harm.