So if you’re looking for different sweeteners, there are a bunch of different options out there.
Coconut Sugar: Coconut sugar is a great alternative to white sugar because it is the only one on this list that is actually in a solid form. If you need a solid sweetener that is low on the glycemic index (meaning it will not easily spike blood sugar levels on its own), then coconut sugar can be a great alternative for you. Coconut sugar can be easily found in all health food stores today.
Coconut Nectar: A great choice as a sweetener. It is very low glycemic index, meaning it will not spike your blood sugar to the same extent as those processed, refined carbohydrates and sugars. It is also full of minerals and nutrients so it has health benefits as well. You can find this is most health food stores.
Coconut Aminos: This is one of a few soy-sauce alternatives on this list, but not as similar in taste as tamari (mentioned below). This product is a bit on the sweeter side, so it is not an exact substitute. However, it is still an incredibly tasty and versatile ingredient. It can still be used in many Asian-inspired dishes or even as an alternative to a sweetener in the right situation. You can find this in virtually all health food stores.
Honey: My personal favorite when it comes to sweeteners. When you cook using honey, you only need to use small amounts. Just be sure to remember that when you add honey, you are adding sugar. Simple as that. This sugar just has higher levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals compared to other sweeteners. When shopping for honey, be sure to look for locally sourced honey or Manuka honey. These have the highest amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds. The Manuka honey comes from bees fed the nectar from the Manuka tree, which is found mainly in Australia.
Maple Syrup: Distinct in taste, but very similar to honey. Just like honey, many of the same rules apply (See: Honey). Best to find locally sourced, organic maple syrup with no added preservatives.
Stevia: A natural, zero calorie sweetener that has gained a lot of traction in recent years. Stevia comes from a plant, and its extract is about 300 times sweeter than sugar. You can find it as a powder or in liquid form. Beware when buying, as many preparations do contain fillers. Look for stevia extracts that are in their purest forms. Personally, I would stick to other unprocessed sweeteners, such as honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar.
Additionally, you can look for things like monkfruit or date sugar as well. The goal should be to look for minimally processed sources when you are making decisions.If you’re looking for more options, you can check out two podcasts episodes where we cover sweetener alternatives as well as other healthy pantry swaps!
Hope this helps!
DisclaimerThough based in research, personal, and clinical experience, the opinions in this article should not be taken as medical advice. The information is designed for educational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose, treat, or cure disease.Botanical medicine and nutraceuticals should be treated with the same caution and care as pharmaceuticals, as both have the potential for strong, potentially adverse effects and allergic reactions. Please consult a trained, licensed health care practitioner before proceeding.