7 Sweeteners That Are Actually Healthy
Artificial sweeteners are terrible for you. White sugar is bad also. So, which sweeteners can you use? Keep reading for the 7 sweeteners that are actually healthy.
Most of the times when I write these articles to help you with what’s healthy and what’s not, it’s pretty cut and dried. I usually know, without a doubt, what to include on the healthy list. I’m going to tell you up front right now, that this one is not so simple. There are lots of differing opinions and so many different research studies…
If I were writing about the six sweeteners you can use, I’d be 100 percent sure of my list. It’s the 7th sweetener on the list that causes me issue.
I like to use food as fuel; food as medicine. And, with the first 6 sweeteners on this list, that’s exactly the case. They are fantastic. They taste great. They are healthy. And you should use them all.
Number 7 causes me pause, but I’m including it anyway and you can make your own choice. Many people who I truly respect love number 7 — oh, it’s stevia (I’m making it sound like a really big mystery, and it’s not…) but for me, I like to use the other 6, and lay off the stevia.
I’m including stevia in the list because there are some great pre-packaged beverages and powders that are sweetened with stevia… and so many of my clients do well with it. I know it’s not bad for you, but to me, it will always taste a bit chemical and unnatural.
But I’m going to let you put your big girl/big boy pants on and decide this one for yourself!
That being said, I’m here for you.
If you eat the right foods and herbs for your unique body and circumstances, you can heal yourself. All you need is the correct information. And I’m here to give it to you. So, read on and you’ll find out what the 7 sweeteners that are actually healthy are. And, if you want to learn more about healing whatever your specific concerns are, I’d love to help you create a healthy lifestyle plan specifically for your unique needs, so sign up for a free phone consultation and we can chat about it.
Download your free copy of my Radiant Skin Ebook now!
Here Are The 7 Sweeteners That Are Actually Healthy
1. Raw Honey
Honey is great. It has so many nutritional benefits — BUT, it needs to be raw. Once honey is processed and pasteurized, it’s health benefits diminish. This longevity food has tons of enzymes and antioxidants. It’s also good for your digestion in that it acts a bit like a probiotic by supplying healthy bacteria to your digestive tract.
Honey is a Chinese herb called Feng Mi and it’s used for constipation, to lessen some coughs, and to boost energy levels. As a general rule, the darker the honey, the better it is for you. Raw honey is also good for brain function and can help promote sleep. Raw honey also has the unique ability to expose the body to trace amounts of pollen, working like a seasonal allergy shot — so add some into your diet during allergy season. If seasonal allergies effect you, see my article: How To Fight Seasonal Allergies With Food And Herbs.
Try using honey in some of your baked goods, instead of traditional sweeteners. I love this recipe for Grain-Free Oatmeal Cookies.
2. Pure Maple Syrup
Pure maple syrup contains antioxidants that help reduce inflammation in the body (think inflammatory bowel syndrome or heart disease). It also contains zinc, calcium, and magnesium. It’s much lower on the glycemic scale than traditional sugar and it doesn’t cause as big of a blood sugar spike as sugar. Whenever possible, use a darker (grade B) syrup because the nutritional composition is better than that of lighter syrups.
And, if you’ve never drizzled pure maple syrup on top of your oatmeal, chia pudding, or mashed sweet potato, you are really missing something wonderful.
3. Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the blossoms of the coconut tree. While it does not have the same nutritional benefits as the coconut meat itself, it is a much better option that traditional white sugar and, in most recipes, can be substituted one-for-one for traditional white sugar.
Coconut sugar is a way better choice than artificial sweeteners and white sugar. It’s a better sweetener for diabetics, does contain a few minerals, and is much better for your digestive system.
There’s a debate going on as to whether or not coconut sugar is considered Paleo. My opinion is yes! Maybe that’s because I’m happy including some desserts in my Paleo lifestyle, or maybe it’s because I find that my system does well with it. I suggest you test it out and see how you feel.
Dates are rich in potassium, dietary fiber and tannins. Fiber is good for your gut and tannins help the body fight inflammation and infection. Dates are also rich in vitamin A, magnesium, and iron. The most amazing thing about dates is that they can be used to replace sugar in almost anything.
Recent research is showing that dates may also be good for your bones and for your brain… these are two great reasons to add dates to your daily routine.
I stopped using sweetened protein powders in my smoothies and now I use unsweetened ones but I add a few pitted dates. Dates can also be used in baking recipes, but remember that if you are replacing sugar with dates, you’ll have to play around with the amounts a bit because the bulk is very different.
Most articles or lists you see about healthy sweeteners, don’t include figs. But this makes no sense to me. Figs are great to sweeten smoothies and desserts. I also love to cut them up and add them to stews — really, if you haven’t tried using figs in savory dishes, you have to try it! There’s nothing better than a big comfy pot of lamb or chicken stew with some chopped figs cooked down with the stew. When fresh figs are in season, I’ll buy them by the bucket just to make some fig-lavender jam… yum.
Figs have the highest amount of calcium of any fruit and are a good source of fiber. They are good for anemia, constipation, indigestion and fever, and they are also good at fighting fatigue and boosting memory retention.
This Berry Fig Yogurt Parfait is one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast.
There are different kinds of molasses. The type with the most health benefits is organic blackstrap molasses — it contains calcium, potassium, and vitamin B6. It is made by boiling sugar cane 3 times, until it becomes this nutritious, thick, syrupy product.
Research is showing that blackstrap molasses can help with PMS symptoms and stress. And, because of its high antioxidant levels, it is now being included in some anti-cancerous diet protocols.
Molasses has a very distinct flavor and does not work well as a substitute for ordinary sugars in some recipes, but it does work amazingly well in others. Start out with small amounts when you are experimenting with a baked goods recipe, and taste test your way to happiness.
Here’s your number seven. As I mentioned earlier, I am not a huge fan of stevia; I much prefer the first six sweeteners on this list. To me, stevia has a too-sweet, chemical kind of taste. But, research has shown that it is a healthy sweetener.
Stevia is way sweeter than sugar. Some sources say it’s 200 times sweeter! It’s convenient, because it comes in liquid, powder, and tablets. When you use stevia in recipes, it’s a bit of trial and error. You only need a tiny bit for use as a sweetener, but then you will likely have to add some of the above sweeteners to add some bulk.
I use many of the above sweeteners in a variety of ways. Remember, these sweeteners are not just for adding to your coffee and tea. They can and should become a part of your regular diet when you are baking or cooking something that requires a more traditional sugar product. Substitute one of the above 7 sweeteners the next time your recipe calls for sugar.
Keep scrolling for some great simple recipes. I am sure you will love them!
Remember, if you eat the right foods and herbs for your unique body and circumstances, you can heal yourself. All you need is the correct information. And I’m here to give it to you. If you want to learn more about healing whatever your specific concerns are, I’d love to help you create a healthy lifestyle plan specifically for your unique needs, so sign up for a free phone consultation and we can chat about it.
Great Ways To Use These 7 Sweeteners That Are Actually Healthy
1. Flourless Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies
Everyone loves these cookies! They have the delicious taste of traditional chocolate chip cookies, but they are made with dates — and they are grain-free.
2. Paleo Lemon Cake
This Paleo Lemon Cake is made with lots of raw honey — both in the cake and in the glaze.
3. Birthday Cake Chia Pudding
Chia pudding is so healthy and delicious; it’s one of my favorite make-ahead breakfasts. My favorite way to sweeten it is with pure maple syrup.
If you make any of these recipes using the 7 sweeteners that are actually healthy, please be sure to let me know in the comments below. I love hearing how you like a recipe, and I love to answer your questions! If you make it, be sure to take a photo and tag me and post it on Instagram.
Download your free copy of my Radiant Skin Ebook now!
Curious… Which would you use in coffee?
Hi Elizabeth, in coffee, I would use the coconut sugar. That being said, if I’m at home, I love to put coffee in my blender with a pitted date and a little collagen powder — it tastes like a lightly sweetened creamy latte!