We all know that too much sugar is bad for us, but let’s face it: it’s hard to resist the temptations of a sweet goodie here and there. Even health aficionados will tell us it’s good to indulge in a treat every now and again- but that doesn’t mean you have to succumb to sugar! With these natural sweetening alternatives in your pantry, you’ll be able to have your cake (and eat it too).

Honey

We bet, if you were asked to think of an all-natural sweetener, honey would be your first thought. This thick, golden liquid has been prized worldwide for millennia, and there’s little wonder. It offers you healthy traces of vitamins and minerals alongside the sweetness, and is easy to melt into a host of treats, or even just your cup of coffee. It’s also packed with phenolic acids and flavonoids, which help fight inflammation in the body. If you’re able to source locally-made honey, it could even be a mild help for the allergy-prone, as the bees use local pollen to make the honey and you might get some resistance through consuming it.

Maple Syrup

This gooey, dark liquid is made from the sap of maple trees. It’s rich in minerals (including iron, zinc, and potassium) and packed with even more antioxidants than honey. Some promising studies suggest it has far less impact on blood glucose than other sweeteners. This is likely linked to the high number of oligosaccharides in the maple syrup.

Do make sure you get the legit thing, though. It’s common to make caramelized sugar syrups and market it as ‘maple syrup’ because it’s such a popular treat on pancakes. These faux syrups taste good, but they’re just made with normal sugar.

Coconut Sugar

Coconut Sugar is a sugar alternative to sugar

Made from crystalized extracts of palm tree sap, this can give a lovely alternative to sugar that looks like ‘real sugar’, too. It’s higher in inulin than regular sugar, however, which means it has less of an immediate impact on your blood sugar and a lower GI.

That said, it does contain the same amount of calories as regular sugar, and isn’t all that different in composition. So it’s a great way to be a little healthier without losing the look and feel of ‘real’ sugar, but shouldn’t be treated as a way to go hog wild on treats.

Molasses

Made from boiled-down sugar cane or sugar beet, molasses retains a ton more nutrients than regular sugar, including some antioxidants alongside high amounts of iron and potassium. It’s a great way to fight anemia naturally, especially for vegetarians and vegans. It even has benefits for heart and bone health!

As with maple syrup, it’s common to see ‘phony’ molasses on supermarket shelves, so be choosy when picking your source.

While these tasty treats all have a lower Glycemic Index impact, more vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, better health outcomes, and an overall favourable advantage to processed sugar in the diet, remember they still have a caloric impact on the body. It’s important to treat them with respect and don’t overindulge just because they are healthier alternatives!