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Still Sweet: Sugar Substitutes

Photo credit: Nutrition Stripped

If you read our Sneaky Sugars article, you’ll know how addictive, evil and unknowingly common sugar can be. Not only is it a bunch of empty calories, it actually robs us of nutrients and has a plethora of serious health implications.

Consuming refined sugar can lead to hormone imbalance and weight gain, also putting us at risk for heart disease, high cholesterol, attention deficit disorder (ADD), depression and diabetes. That’s not to mention the studies that are linking sugar to cancer cell growth — reason enough for us to quit the white stuff.

But sugar doesn’t have to be a mainstay in our everyday diet. By reducing the amount of refined sugar we consume and using natural forms instead, we can still enjoy a little sweetness in our lives — minus the health implications. That means unrefined, unprocessed sugar and no artificial sweeteners like Splenda. Do note that natural sugar substitutes are still a form of sugar – so be sure to use only in moderation! 


Coconut sugar. With a minimal effect on blood sugar levels, coconut sugar is emerging as a favourite alternative. Great tasting, mineral rich and a low Glycemic Index of 35.  

Raw Honey. One of our favourite sweeteners of choice. Be sure to choose raw organic honey. Superfoods expert David Wolfe says to look for wild honey because it is lower in fructose and higher in trace mineral content.

Maple Syrup. Great for baking, maple syrup is also full of beneficial minerals. However, be sure to buy authentic organic maple syrup. Don’t be tricked by maple flavoured syrups which are usually fake coloured sugar water and not at all healthy.

Dates. Dates are very sweet, but also packed with fibre, which helps slow the absorption of sugar. Great for baking or even on their own with some nuts if you’re craving a sweet fix! We prefer using fresh Medjool dates. 

Rice Malt Syrup. Made from fermented cooked rice. It’s a blend of complex carbohydrates, maltose and glucose and is 100% fructose free. 

Stevia. A plant-based sweetener. Stevia has up to three hundred times the sweetness of sugar (so you only need a little!), without having any impact on glucose levels. It’s great in recipes where you want to add a little sweetness, but avoid using it in large quantities as it can have a bitter aftertaste.

Lucuma. A superfood powder derived from a delicious fruit. Containing a healthy dose of beneficial fiber, vitamins and minerals and high in iron and niacin (Vitamin B3). Try adding it to your morning smoothie, chia seed pudding or healthy baked goods!

What’s your favourite natural sugar alternative? Have you tried any on our list? Do let us know in the comments below!