Natural sweeteners that are good for your health and you need to know. Also, getting off refined sugar can be difficult. But because it’s so harmful to health, it’s worth the effort. Fortunately, there are some sweeteners found in nature that are really good for your health. They are low in calories, low in fructose and taste very sweet. Here are 4 Natural Sweeteners that are Good for Health:
Stevia is a very popular low-calorie sweetener . It is extracted from the leaves of a plant called Stevia rebaudiana. This plant has been cultivated for sweetness and medicinal purposes for centuries in South America.
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Several sweet compounds are found in stevia leaves . The main ones are stevioside and rebaudioside A. Both are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, gram for gram. Therefore, stevia is very sweet, but it has virtually no calories.
Additionally, some human-based studies suggest that stevia has health benefits:
- Stevia can reduce high blood pressure in people with hypertension by 6–14%. However, it has no effect on blood pressure that is normal or mildly elevated.
- Stevia has also been shown to reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
- Several studies in rats show that stevia can improve insulin sensitivity, reduce oxidized LDL cholesterol, and reduce plaque buildup in arteries.
If you need to sweeten something, stevia may be your healthiest choice. However, many people are not very fond of the taste of stevia . The flavor depends on the brand, so you’ll need to experiment to find a type you like.
Erythritol is one of the natural sweeteners that are good for health and it is low in calories. It is a sugar alcohol found naturally in certain fruits. However, erythritol powder for purchase is likely made through an industrial process.
It contains 0.24 calories per gram, or about 6% of the calories in an equal amount of sugar, with 70% of the sweetness. Erythritol does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels and has no effect on blood lipids such as cholesterol or triglycerides.
It is absorbed into the body from the intestines, but eventually excreted from the kidneys unchanged. Studies show that erythritol is very safe. However, as with other sugar alcohols, it can cause digestive problems if you consume too much at a time.
Erythritol tastes very similar to sugar, although it may have a slight aftertaste. While erythritol does not appear to have any health benefits, it certainly does not appear to be harmful and is better tolerated than most other sugar alcohols.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol with a sugar-like sweetness and one of the best natural sweeteners that are good for your health . It contains 2.4 calories per gram, or about two-thirds the caloric value of sugar.
Xylitol does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels. However, as with other sugar alcohols, it can cause digestive side effects at high doses. If you have a dog at home, you should keep xylitol out of your reach, as it is highly toxic to dogs.
4. Yacon Syrup:
Yacon syrup is another one of the unique natural sweeteners that are good for health . It is harvested from the yacon plant , which grows natively in the Andes of South America. This sweetener has recently become popular as a weight loss supplement. One study found that it caused
significant weight loss in overweight women.
It is very rich in fructooligosaccharides, which function as soluble fibers that feed the good bacteria in the gut. Yacon syrup can help with constipation and has several benefits due to the high amount of soluble fiber. Don’t eat too much at once as it can cause digestive problems.
What About “Less Bad” Sugars Like Honey?
There are several popular sugary sweeteners that health-conscious people tend to eat instead of sugar. This includes coconut sugar, molasses , honey and maple syrup . These really aren’t that different from sugar.
They may contain slightly smaller amounts of fructose and a small amount of nutrients, but your liver won’t really be able to tell them apart.
However, the harmful effects of sugar are completely context dependent. Most studies are done on people who are already eating a high-carb diet. For these people, especially those who are overweight and/or insulin resistant, large amounts of sugar are harmful.
Also, there are other groups of people who may want to avoid sugar-based sweeteners altogether. This includes food addicts, binge eaters, and people who are on a very low-carb ketogenic diet .
Healthy people can eat sugar in small amounts without any harm. While it’s still empty calories and can cause cavities, it won’t hurt your metabolism, give you fatty liver, or end up destroying your health.
If you like to use regular sugar in your recipes, but eat otherwise healthy, using natural sugar-based sweeteners such as honey should be entirely fine in moderation.
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In the context of a healthy diet based on whole foods, small amounts of these natural sugars will not do any harm.