Ask Dr. Cobi: Cut the Sugar!
I really want to get off sugar but need some healthy natural alternatives for the occasional sweet treat. What are the best natural sweeteners to use?
The sweetener market is confusing and manipulative with many people being completely unaware they are making a detrimental decision when purchasing sugar alternatives. Fortunately there are many great choices.
Here is a list of my top 4 picks:
Xylitol is extracted from birch trees and corncobs. It contains 40% fewer calories than sucrose and has no negative effect on blood sugar levels as well as actually helping to reduce sugar cravings. It has a very similar taste to sugar with no bitter or unpleasant aftertaste and can be used in baking, drinks and can also be added to meals and cooking. ½ cup of xylitol is equivalent to 1 cup of sugar.
Bonus- Xylitol actually helps to reverse dental decay and protect tooth enamel. Try Xylitol chewing gum as a great alternative to aspartame and sugar gums.
Originally native to South America, stevia is an herb that produces naturally sweet leaves that can taste 300 times sweeter than sucrose. It is available commercially for use in a liquid, powder, capsules, tablets and loose leaf that can be used in cooking and added to food and beverages.
Stevia is a green leaf plant and should only be consumed in it's most natural form. When choosing Stevia it should be green in colour and organic. The white version of Stevia is extremely concentrated and has been chemically processed with chemicals like Hexane, Chloroform and aqueous Ethanol! 1 tsp of Green Leaf Stevia is equivalent to 1 cup of sugar.
3. Lo Han Kou
Lohan is the sweet tasting fruit of the Siraitia Grosvenori plant, which is native to Southern China and Northern Thailand. The fruit is collected green and mashed to form the basis of a concentrated fruit juice or puree. Further manufacturing isolates the sweet components of the Lohan and is found to be up to 300 times sweeter than sucrose.
Traditional use of Lohan in Southern China is to promote healthy ageing as well as utilizing its healing properties for colds, coughs, sore throats and as a blood cleanser.
Lohan is commonly found in a powdered and liquid extract form and is very low on the glycemic index. 2 tbsp. of Lohan is the equivalent to 1 cup of sugar.
4. Raw, Unfiltered Honey
Raw, unpasteurized honey straight from the hive is one of nature's most potent antibiotics. It is also alkalinizing, immune enhancing and is great for reducing allergy symptoms. Topically it can be used to enhance wound healing and helps to treat burns. 2/3 of a cup of raw honey is the equivalent to 1 cup of sugar.