Sugar alternatives: what are they?
Very often we look for an alternative to white sugar, a refined ingredient that is widely used, but whose consumption should be limited.
However, it's often difficult to choose which sweetener to use because not all of them are as healthy as you think. Indeed, in some cases, they could be rich in glucose and fructose and therefore can still expose you to the risk of obesity and cardiovascular diseases.
Here are the sugar substitutes that, on the other hand, can be considered healthier.
Honey is a completely natural product made by bees that has been consumed since ancient times. There aren't big differences in terms of calories, given that 100g of honey corresponds to about 300 kcal , but it is a food that has many beneficial properties and is an excellent ally to prevent infections and inflammations.
Contained in foods such as strawberries and melons, erythritol is also extracted from mushrooms and is one of the best alternatives to sugar. In fact, it does not affect the glycemic rate, and therefore can also be consumed by those suffering from diabetes, but it also has a low calorie content of around 0.2 per 100 g. Also, erythritol does not harm your teeth.
Here you can find more information on erythritol and some tips on how to use it in the kitchen.
Among sugar substitutes, stevia is certainly one of the best known, at least for some years. In fact, until recently, this plant native to South America was not authorized for food consumption in Europe, but was used for the formulation of toothpastes and mouthwashes. Stevia is highly appreciated for the absence of calories, for its ability not to alter blood sugar and to be safe for the teeth, but it could give a bitter aftertaste to the preparations.
Even the syrup extracted from this tree is an excellent alternative to refined sugar, but only if you buy a truly natural product with no additives: that's why it's important to read the label carefully before putting it in your shopping cart. Maple syrup is rich in numerous components that have a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. Furthermore, it is a food rich in vitamins and minerals. However, its sweetening power is lower than that of sugar and, therefore, it could be easy to overdo the quantities.
This ingredient is often used to make candies and gums with very few calories: in fact, xylitol helps improve dental health by reducing tooth decay. This alternative to sugar is very expensive and, while it was once made only from birch bark, it is now also extracted from wood and corn waste. Xylitol, also called birch sugar , has fewer calories than traditional sugar, but does not work by raising blood sugar levels. Excessive consumption, however, could lead to gastrointestinal problems.
Rice syrup is often preferred by vegans as an alternative to honey. It is a glucose-based compound and, therefore, also indicated for those who cannot consume fructose. Furthermore, rice syrup is gluten-free, but has a lower sweetening power than sugar.
“ These texts are not intended as indications for the diagnosis and treatment of pathological states, therefore it is always advisable to consult your doctor”
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