It is a well-known fact that too much sugar is not good for us but I wasn’t concerned about it much as I didn’t eat sugar in high quantities and didn’t consume any sweet drinks. But when I found out sugar breaks down collagen and makes us age faster, I started to look for best sugar substitutes in order to avoid sugar completely.
What Are The 5 Best Sugar Substitutes?
Of course there is honey, maple syrup or molasses but they are high in calories and contain sucrose as well so to me it’s not a big difference if I eat sugar or honey.
On the other hand, I like natural food and think we have everything we need in the nature. However, it is not easy to satisfy the sweet tooth and keep your body weight in terms at the same time. I mean: when you want to lose weight or keep it afterwards, you are not supposed to consume a lot of sweet fruits like cherries or grapes, are you?
Another thing is that fruits are not recommended being eaten after a meal as they ferment in the gut then. So what to do when you want something sweet after lunch? Or if you like your coffee sweet. What to reach out for?
In these cases, sweeteners come handy and they have found increased popularity. They do a great job for people with diabetes or those who are on keto diet.
But there is still a large group of people who think that all sweeteners are detrimental to our health.
So where is the truth?
As always, I can only speak for myself from my experience. In addition to that I also like looking for scientific evidence. So in this article I’m showing you a list of my favourite sugar alternatives that do not affect your blood sugar level and should not have any bad effects on your overall condition either.
BIRCH SUGAR (XYLITOL)
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, a naturally present substance that can be found in various fruits and vegetables. It is widely present in birch and beech trees, rice, oat and wheat but main source of xylitol for commercial use is corn cobs. After extraction and processing the product is white and looks like crystalline sugar. The sweetness of xylitol is equivalent to sugar and it has been widely used in food and health products for many years.
Xylitol has low glycemic index so it has low effect on blood sugar levels. As everything else, it should be used in moderate amounts. Overuse can cause laxative problems.
– no aftertaste
– low glycemic index
– increases body absorption of calcium
Safe amount to consume: 50 mg per day
It is important to note that xylitol is highly toxic for dogs so it is recommended to store it out of the reach of dogs.
Erythritol, together with xylitol, is my favorite sugar substitute. It is a sugar alcohol that has only 6% of the calories of sugar but contains 70% of the sweetness. It doesn’t affect blood sugar level which is a benefit. Sugar alcohols are not digested by the body and that’s why it is good if you are concerned of your weight.
Our body does not have the enzymes to break down erythritol so it is absorbed directly into the blood and excreted with urine.
Erythritol is an excellent sugar alternative with no side effects if it’s consumed in moderate amounts.
– no aftertaste
– acts as an antioxidant
– almost no calories
Safe amount to consume: 35 mg per day
Stevia is a South American plant that is naturally sweet without calories. Being about 200 times sweeter than table sugar, it is sold in a liquid form, as dissolvable tablets or a powder. Stevia is the only sweetener out of the five ones mentioned here that has an aftertaste and I don’t like it. But I had to add it to my list because it is a save and good sugar alternative. I suppose that everyone’s taste is different so you might as well find it your favorite one. It has been used as a natural sweetener for centuries.
– strong sweetness so you only need small amount
– no calories
Safe amount to consume: 4 mg / kg body weight per day
Sucralose is a sugar substitute that is produced by chlorination of sucrose. It is six hundred times sweeter than sugar but has zero calories. Its taste is similar like sugar. I have this sugar substitute in my morning shake as it is contained in the protein powder I use.
– no aftertaste
– it is heat stable so you can use it for cooking
– it’s stable at different pH so you can add it to vinegar or lemon.
Safe amount to consume: 5 mg / kg body weight per day
Sucralose is quite a controversial sweetener. Some experts suggest that sucralose is linked with weight gain but others say that it is a safe alternative.
It is not recommended using it for baking and cooking as it may break down at high temperatures and create harmful substances.
Monk fruit extract contains zero calories just like stevia and is about 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is rich in antioxidants and in this regard it seems like the best option. However, it does have a special flavor and aftertaste which might disturb some people.
– zero calories
– not known side effects
There are many more sweeteners and some of them are not considered safe. I wouldn’t recommend using saccharin, aspartame or acesulfame as well as many other artificial sweeteners.
Talking about replacing sugar, you might say that honey, agave syrup or maple syrup can substitute sugar very well. That’s true but with the regard of sugar effects on our skin, these options won’t help. Honey and the other foods do not contain refined sugar but they do contain sucrose and for our skin it is as bad as sugar, I’m convinced of that.
If you eat sugar in fruits, you can never eat as much as if you have chocolate, ice cream or sugary drinks. Fruits contain a lot of fibre and we are unable to eat them in huge amounts, plus they are also full of antioxidants and that balances the sugar off.
So I’m not against consumption of fresh fruits. However, I don’t think fruit juice, honey, maple syrup or dried figs are any beneficial for our skin, let alone the calories contained in them.
Xylitol, erythritol and monk fruit extract are the best sugar substitutes to consume in small amounts if you prepare a home made ice cream, protein shakes, ice coffee or anything you want to replace sugar, cut down on calories, but most of all prevent your skin from losing more collagen.
Do you have experience with any other sugar substitute? I’ll be happy to hear that!