Interesting Plant-Based Alternatives to White Sugar
You don't have to be on a plant based diet to realize the hazards in artificial sweeteners we call sugar. Dodging white, processed and artificial sugar can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. Processed sugar is sneaky and it’s in more products than you would think-even toothpaste. Who’s idea was that?
Yes, my friends, in the world of sugar intake there is little to no mercy, not even in the name of common sense. Anyone who has ever attempted to cut back on sugar will tell you so.
Thankfully, all hope is not lost in the world of wanting to be healthy without giving up your favorite flavors and treats. Here are a few alternative, plant based sugars you can use as a healthier alternative to the white stuff.
As always, we've done the research and prepared a list of the top 5 natural sweeteners for a healthier lifestyle.
They may look creepy but dates are a delicious natural sweetener. There’s a reason why you’ve seen them used as an ingredient more in more in those sped up instagram healthy recipe videos. Once liquefied or blended into a paste, they can be used to sweeten virtually anything. If you ever just need a sweet afternoon treat, they’ll get the job done thanks to its high fiber content.
Yacon is yet another root vegetable with deep historical and cultural significance. Native to the Andes, it has been used for centuries by the indigenous people of South America. The sweetener in syrup form is made from the roots of the plant. With its dark caramel taste, it’s packed with antioxidants. A part from being a delicious sweetener, Yacon has also been known by locals to aid with treatment of diabetes and digestion problems.
No, this sweetener has no relation to cute, fuzzy pandas but it does hail from the same continent. Pandan is a plant used for flavoring across southeast Asia. Yes, we cheated a teeny bit on this one since it isn’t exactly a sweetener but rather it will add flavor to your recipes. In addition, while it has little nutritious value, it can be a great way to axe unhealthy, artificial flavors from your food without sacrificing taste.
The flavor lies in the plant’s leaves and describing it is hard to pin down. The leaves are fragrant and the taste is both nutty, and citrusy --wrapped in one.
Asia is killing the plant based sweetener game. Monk Fruit is native to China and Thailand and like most on this list, has been used for centuries. You may already be familiar with monk fruit sweetener as it’s popularity has recently increased around the world. You may have even seen small packets of it for your iced americano at your favorite hip coffee shop. One of the key factors in its popularity is that in its pure form, it has zero calories and is sweeter than cane sugar. As a result, less is required for the same degree of sweetness. It can be found in powder form in health food stores and online.
Despite what its name may imply, coconut sugar does not taste like coconut. It is made from the sap of coconut palm. Doesn’t that sound magical? It kind of is since coconut sugar is delicious and can be used as a 1:1 substitute for brown sugar. In addition, it contain trace amounts of iron, zinc, calcium and potassium—unlike cane sugar. While you may be tempted to hop on the coconut sugar train based on this info, it’s important to practice moderation as it is not calorie free. Coconut sugar can be found online and in health food stores.
Have you tried any of these plant based sweeteners? Did we miss any?
Tell us which and share your experiences in the comments below