Sugar is one hell of a drug. While consuming sugar in small quantities is nothing to be worried about, most people take in way more that the recommended dose of sugar on a daily basis and this has a negative effect on their health.
But, why do people consume so much sugar despite knowing that it is bad for them? Basically it is the same reason why people smoke, do drugs, do base jumping, and so on. It’s dopamine. As soon as sugar comes in contact with out taste receptors, the signal triggers our brain’s reward system which causes large doses of feel-good hormones, such as dopamine, to be released. Stimulating this reward system from time to time is harmless, however, when we do it frequently, a number of problems occur such as craving, loss of control, and increased tolerance to sugar.
When you consider the fact that sugar is present in almost 75 percent of packed food and drinks in supermarkets, you can see how easy it is to get hooked on the stuff. Thankfully, more and more people today are aware of the many harmful effects sugar has on our body and they are trying to find healthy alternatives to sugar that will still quench their thirst for sweetness.
But, many of the sugar substitutes on the market are artificial and may even be more unhealthy than regular sugar. Although finding a sugar substitute natural and sweet at the same time can be pretty challenging, there are a number of options that meet those standards. Here are some of them.
- Stevia is one of the most popular natural sweeteners and it is exploding on the sugar alternatives market. It is extracted from the sweet leaves of the Stevia plant, which has been used for hundreds of years by the indigenous people of Asia and South America. The great thing about Stevia is that it contains zero calories and does not affect blood sugar at all. This makes it the perfect natural alternative to sugar for diabetics and people who are trying to lose weight. The Stevia extract comes in both liquid and powdered from and it is much sweeter than regular sugar which means just a tiny amount of it is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Xylitol is another type of natural sweetener found in a number of plants and fruits. It is a hybrid from the sugar and alcohol molecule but doesn’t actually contain any alcohol. It looks and taste similar to regular sugar but has 40 percent less calories and doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. It is commonly used in sugar free products such as chewing gum, candy, oral care products and diabetes friendly foods and beverages.
- Maple syrup is also a good natural sweetener but not the regular one that most people use since it contains artificial colouring, sweeteners, and flavours. What you need is pure maple syrup that is made from evaporated sap of maple trees. It contains manganese and zinc which are needed for energy production and improving the immune system.
Other popular types of sugar substitute natural, sweet, and healthy, include raw honey, molasses, coconut sugar, brown rice sugar, and a few others.