Sugar plays a very important role in the everyday functioning of your body. Sugar is a form of carbohydrate and it provides you with energy to use as fuel. There are different types of sugar including glucose, fructose, sucrose, and lactose. Glucose is a sugar that is essential for your central nervous system, red blood cell and brain function.
As we sometimes see in children, too much or too little sugar can play a huge part in their behaviour and hunger. Sugar can cause an interference with hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism which can lead to increased insulin and fat storage. A diet that is high in refined sugars that are derived mostly from cane, sugar beets and corn and are heavily processed can lead to poor oral health, heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer. In addition to these health implications, sugar is highly addictive as it causes a dopamine release in the reward centre of the brain.
Keeping all of this in mind, remember that not all sugars were created equally. There are lots of healthy sugar sources that can be used as substitutes in your baking recipes, meals and drinks.
Our pick of the healthy alternatives to sugar
Extracted from the leaves of a South American shrub, Stevia is a natural sweetener. Up to 350 times sweeter than sugar, this plant based sweetener has two compounds called stevioside and rebaudioside. Each contains zero calories and is packed with nutrients and phytochemicals. The taste of Stevia does differ slightly from sugar, but it has been known to help lower blood sugar, insulin and blood pressure.
This is a sugar alcohol with a sweetness level that is akin to that of refined sugar. Extracted from birch wood or corn is it also found in loads of different fruit and vegetables. Xylitol contains 2.4 calories per gram which is approximately 40% fewer than the white sugar you would most commonly use to sweeten things. Great dental and bone health and low blood sugar and insulin levels are connected to this good source of sugar.
Similar to Xylitol, it is a sugar alcohol, but contains even less calories - just 0.24 calories per gram. This type of natural sugar alternative tastes the most like sugar which makes it an easy way in for people with a real sweet tooth. Erythritol doesn’t raise blood sugar, cholesterol, triglyceride or insulin levels, making it a fantastic healthy alternative to sugar.
Monk fruit sweetener
Extracted from the monk fruit found in South East Asia, this small round fruit is a powerful sweetener that makes a great healthy alternative to sugar. Containing zero calories, it is up to 250 times sweeter than refined table sugar. It has fructose and glucose, but the sweetness comes from the antioxidant properties in mogrosides.
Derived from the sap of the coconut palm, this is a totally delicious natural sugar alternative that contains loads of great nutrients. Although this natural sugar is high in calories, zinc, calcium, potassium, iron and plenty of antioxidants are present, making it a delicious low GI alternative to sugar.
This thick and golden liquid produced by bees contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals and has loads of helpful antioxidants. Honey is a fantastic natural source of sugar and has been known to help prevent inflammation, heart disease, some types of cancer and diabetes.
Benefits of switching to healthy sugar alternatives
- Can aid in weight loss
- Creates a more stable mood and
- Boosts energy levels for longer
- Increases dental health
- Maintains clearer skin
- Can improve mental health and mood
- Aids in better digestion
- Maintains heart health
- Boosts brain function
Shop for healthy snacks at Funch!
When you’re looking to cut back your intake of refined sugars but still want that satisfyingly sweet and delicious snack then you need Funch in your life! Made with all natural ingredients, we have many different options when it comes to those moorish morsels with natural sugars and no nasties. No matter what your dietary requirements are, we have something that will fit - gluten free, nut free, dairy free, vegan and no added sugar options are available. Explore the range DIY snack mixes and you’ll find some fabulous flavours including:
- Protein balls in vanilla and coconut or salted caramel
- Snack balls in spiced apple pie or choccy chia
- Raw slices in strawberry cheezcake or choc orange
Buy them in bundles or separately online today and we will ship them directly to you!