Natural Alternatives To Sugar That You May Not Know

   I wanted to talk about the many ways I try to replace sugar in my diet. Some of these natural sugar replacements have appeared on the market very recently in Europe. After years of struggle with the sugar and artificial sweeteners industry, this year Stevia got the apoproval to be sold as a sweetener (before that it could only be labeled as a "dietary supplement"). I have even seen a stevia-sweetened yoghurt in a store, and hope to see more such items being produced.

    Anyway, here is a small list of stuff I use to replace sugar in my kitchen:

   Looks and tastes very similar to sugar but is lighter, with no aftertaste. Has half of the calories of sugar.

   Stevia has zero calories, and is 10 times as sweet as sugar. It comes in many forms: dried leaves, syrup, green or refined white powder. The leaves have a specific taste which goes well with teas, the more refined Stevia has a more neutral taste. You could experiment with using half Stevia and half other sweetener (such as honey) which will mask the Stevia taste. Lots of info here.

Apple juice / concentrate
   This is great for cakes: for kids birthday cakes I use this instead of sugar. 

Bee pollen
  Bee pollen tastes just like honey without the sweetness. This tricks the mind into thinking that it´s sweet ! Also, it´s super healthy. I love to add it to smoothies. It´s not cheap though, so I pick up mine on travels to South America.

Dates, rasins and other dry fruit
   For baking (pureed with water and mixed into the dough), smoothies and fruit salads. Not calorie-free, but still way healthier than sugar.

Agave nectar
  This syrup comes from the agave cactus. The taste is mild, so it goes with almost everything. Although it has more calories than sugar, it is also much sweeter, so you use much less of it. And its glycemic index is much lower than that of sugar (that means that the body takes a longer time to turn it into sugar, so it doesn't affect blood sugar levels much).

    I haven´t actually tried this yet, since it´s very new around where I live. It apparently has zero calories and a glycemic index of zero; and is tooth-friendly. It is supposed to taste very similar to sugar. Ok, ok, I am going to actually buy this and let you know after I´ve tried it out.

Brown sugar
     When I absolutely have to use sugar, I use an unrefined form, sometimes even molasses. It´ s still sugar, but it´ s a tiny bit healthier than the refined white stuff.

    Do you use any natural sugar replacers ? I´m sure there must be many I haven´t listed. Do share!

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