Sweet talk: Is there a healthier alternative to sugar?

June 11th 2014 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru / 0 comment

get-the-gloss-suagr-alternatives-1.jpg

Getty Images

Sugar addicts take heed; this is essential reading for those who suffer from a sweet tooth

With the debate on sugar reaching epic proportions, we have to wonder whether there is a way to satisfy our sweet tooth that’s better for us in the long term. While it seems that there are healthier alternatives available, it’s important to bear in mind that there are also still risks to be wary of. With much confusion about which swap is best, we thought that it was time to find out the truth about three of the most well-known sugar substitutes around.

We asked nutritional therapist Gabriela Peacock to shed some light on the new league of natural sweeteners, to see how each weighs up and the important things we should be mindful of before serving up a spoonful. Here are her top picks and valuable words of wisdom to make sure you get the most out of your sugar substitute of choice.

STOCK UP ON STEVIA

Sugar substitute stats:

“Fresh leaves can be used in hot or cold drinks. The leaves are then dried to form a powder which can be used in baking."

Sugar fix facts:

“It’s popular, as you can use less of it to achieve the same sweetness as sugar. With no calories, no sugar and no carbohydrates, its GI is 0 and it is favoured among diabetics and those on low carbohydrate diets.”

Words of warning:

“It's important to look at the 'natural' labels that accompany stevia... the extraction process changes the properties of the whole leaf into something quite different and there is need for further research into the metabolic effects.”

Buy it online:

Try Natvia Stevia Sweetener, £5.55.

MORE GLOSS: 5 kitchen switch-ups for a flatter stomach

GIVE AGAVE A GO

Sugar substitute stats:

“Derived from a cactus plant, agave is now commonly used as an alternative to sugar, honey or maple syrup and it has become a popular replacement for table sugar. It's versatile and easy to use, popular for sweetening hot drinks, porridge or used in baking”.

Sugar fix facts:

“Although there are slightly more calories in agave than white sugar you will need to use less than half the amount of agave to achieve the same sweetness, meaning fewer calories overall.”

Words of warning:

“Agave has less of an immediate impact on your blood sugar levels due to its low GI score but the high fructose content may make it more difficult for your body to digest. Some opponents of agave claim it is simply a condensed fructose syrup, with minimal nutritional value.”

Buy it online:

Try Biona Organic Agave Nectar Light, £3.29.

SWEET AS HONEY

Sugar substitute stats:

“Honey has traditional use in nutrition and medicinal healing too. It is a popular, versatile sweetener that can be used instead of white cane sugar in baking, sauces and hot drinks.”

Sugar fix facts:

“Honey is made up of fructose (40%), glucose (30%), water and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Due to the high level of fructose, honey is sweeter than table sugar.”

Words of warning:

“Honey is sweeter than sugar, so you may use less of it, but is does have slightly more calories per teaspoon so it's wise to keep a close eye on your portion sizes.”

Buy it online:

Try Raw Health Organic Acacia Honey, £4.89.

Join the conversation

Agile web development by Byte9