If you’re a sugar addict, it can be challenging to control your weight or maintain a healthy diet. North Americans consume an average of 150 pounds of sugar a year, and these unhealthy diets have contributed to a startling rise in obesity and chronic diseases. Thankfully, you can still give in to your sweet tooth by eating foods with sugar substitutes. Some of the top sugar substitutes include stevia, agave nectar and honey.
Stevia is a sweetener that has zero calories. This herb, native to South America, is actually thought to be a better alternative to table sugar because it is sweeter. The stevia plant’s leaves provide the sweetness, making it appropriate as an ingredient in a gluten free chocolate cupcake recipe.
Although agave nectar is largely known as the plant that tequila is made from, it is also used as a sugar substitute. Referred to in Mexico as aguamiel, or “honey water,” the Aztecs believed that agave was a gift from the gods and used it to sweeten beverages and foods. Natural food chefs, doctors and health-conscious consumers are quickly switching to agave nectar as their choice sugar substitute thanks to its beneficial properties. The nectar has a low glycemic index and provides sweetness without raising blood sugar.
Honey is a familiar item for most Americans, but many don’t realize that it can be used as a sugar substitute. Honey can be used in baked goods by adding 2/3 to 3/4 cup honey for every cup of sugar. Only pure honey should be used, since some honey has added sugar.