Have you ever wondered what you could use as a natural substitute for sugar?
So you’re trying to cut down on sugar? There are a lot of sugar substitutes that, while they may not have as many calories or be as overprocessed as refined sugar, may still be quite bad for your health. Yet, there is nothing to despair about if you still want to be able to feel that sweetness in your life. Being more health-conscious doesn’t mean you have to cut everything sweet out of your life, but rather that you should try to find the best replacements.
And the best news out there is that there are some natural sweeteners and substitutes that are guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth without adding to your health issues. If anything, some are going to help you more in your health journey, and you can use some of them for anything from baking to adding to your oatmeal or coffee.
Continue reading our list, and let us present to you the best sugar substitutes that you have to give a try! After all, you never know when you may find a healthier alternative to something in your diet.
Let us know which one is your favorite, or share with all of us if you are using something else!
One of the best alternatives to using sugar in your baked goods is dates. The fruit is jam-packed with sweetness and comes as a package with a lot of other health benefits. Dates are actually full of potassium, copper, and manganese, and if you only have four of them, they contain about 7 grams of fiber, which is amazing news for people who are also following certain diets and exercising as well.
Otherwise, you can use dates in a lot of recipes instead of sugar, especially in the ones that require you not to bake anything: their texture, which is quite sticky, helps keep everything bound together. Moreover, you can substitute sugar or honey for dates in most smoothies for some added sweetness.
#2 One of the best substitutes: Vanilla
It may not seem like it, but America’s favorite flavor is actually vanilla, and the big surprise is that it can actually be used as a substitute for sugar. It comes with the added benefit that it is actually harvested from pods and seeds, and it doesn’t need to be processed or chemically refined like other sugar alternatives.
Despite it not being sweet by itself, vanilla can be found in a ton of products, especially in baked or sweet goods. And it’s exactly this memory of sweetness that gives vanilla the added benefit of being one of the best alternatives. It’s packed full of flavor, and you can add it to anything from plain yogurt and oatmeal to coffee and smoothies. And with something as delicious as vanilla, you won’t even miss the sugar!
If you’re looking for something that is closer to sugar but remains natural, you should be looking around your local grocery store for barley malt syrup, or you can even try to get it online. It’s more common than you think, and while it still contains the same amount of calories as sugar, it is actually made from whole grains. Barley malt syrup comes with all the benefits of sugar but leaves behind the crashes that sugar gives you and the nasty blood spikes you may experience.
Barley Malt Syrup is more healthy on this front than its refined brother, and has a mellow sweetness with an added malty flavor (that may not be everyone’s cup of tea). Otherwise, it would work wonderfully with most of the baked goods you may love.
One sad thing is that you cannot substitute all the sugar in a cake with barley malt syrup, as it may alter the taste quite a lot. The good news is that you can replace up to 75 percent of it depending on the recipe, which is far superior to using only sugar!
Some of the biggest pros for using cinnamon as a substitute for sugar are that it has zero calories and that a study published in 2020 by the Endocrine Society has shown that it may be linked to slowing type 2 diabetes from progressing and maybe improving blood sugar levels in prediabetic people!
It may not be the end of all of the replacements, but you cannot deny that adding a bit of cinnamon will bring a lot of flavor to your coffee and even some dishes. When it comes to snacks, you can make apples more interesting with a sprinkle of cinnamon, and if you find your yogurt too tart, adding a little bit will sweeten it up immediately.
#5 A great substitute for brown sugar: Lucuma
You wouldn’t think that a type of fruit could end up tasting just as sweet as sugar, but this may just mean that you have never had the pleasure of eating this Peruvian fruit. Native to South America, lucumas grow in trees, and when you try one, you will immediately recognize the familiar taste of brown sugar. It’s not a one-to-one similarity, but it is pretty close.
It is so close that you can easily substitute it in most recipes; you will just have to use double the amount. If the recipe calls for two tablespoons of sugar, then you will have to use four of lucuma! It’s that simple!
Where it definitely shines as an ingredient will be in recipes that contain fat, especially in ice cream and smoothies.
Also, besides the fact that it is nature’s alternative to brown sugar, it also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
Can this substitute get any better?
You probably haven’t seen this one coming, but among all the more exotic substitutes, we shouldn’t forget about our good friends the grapes. They are rich in fiber, have great flavor, and only amount to three calories per grape! This is both what makes them amazing snacks and also an amazing ingredient for any smoothie. They’re also a great replacement for sugar in any muffin (just make sure you blend them up beforehand).
You can easily substitute fresh grapes for the sugary raisins in any salad or rice dish, and no one will know the difference. If anything, it will do you a favor, as they’re great for your health, and they come with the added benefit of being packed with anti-oxidants and proven properties that will protect you against cancer and heart diseases.
The people who say that you shouldn’t be eating too many grapes because they contain their own sugars don’t know what they’re talking about; after all, it’s so much better to eat grapes, which have natural sugars, than to eat a spoonful of processed table sugar. Your body also processes these differently, so don’t lend an ear to bad voices.
#7 Wild Blueberries
Many people recommend using ripe bananas to replace too much sugar in recipes, but they also contain their own types of sugar, which become more potent as the fruit ripens. And while natural sugars aren’t bad for you, like we talked about before, they aren’t the best either if you consume too much of them. This is where wild blueberries come in: they have lower sugar content than bananas and other fruits, but can still bring that touch of sweetness to any recipe!
People love to add them to their smoothies, and doctors and dieticians vouch for them because they are packed with antioxidants. Moreover, there are studies that suggest that eating wild berries on a regular basis may help you prevent stroke and other heart diseases, cognitive decline, and even type 2 diabetes.
The only catch is that they are way different than the traditional berries we find around all year round. After all, it’s in their name, and wild fruit ends up growing only at certain times and in certain parts of the country. This is why a great way to enjoy this natural sweetner is to keep them frozen all year round after their harvest period is over. You can add them to homemade ice cream, as a smoothie ingredient, and even defrost them slightly as a topping for pancakes, french toast, or even yogurt!
Not to mention, they work beautifully in a lot of baked goods as a substitute for sugar!
#8 Cacao powder
If you find yourself craving chocolate but you cannot eat it for whatever dietary reasons or fear of getting into a spiral of eating too many sweets, know that there is a way to appease your sweet tooth. Cacao powder is known to be full of magnesium, fiber, and iron, and it is a great way to get that chocolate-like taste without consuming a lot of added sugar.
You can replace it in recipes that call for chocolate chips or just add it to other baked goods recipes, even in oatmeal, yogurt, and smoothies! It will be a bit bitter since there is no added sugar around, but if you add it only in small doses, you will find that it is a great substitute for sugar without losing the taste of chocolate that we are all fond of.
And if you’re looking forward to adding even more goodness to your diet, you should definitely give turmeric a chance!