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Healthy Sugar Substitutes with Low Glycemic Index – Part 1

Although, sugar is known to cause various health issues, it could be found in most of the packed food sold everywhere. So, which are the healthy sugar substitutes?

Generally, you need to eat less sugar in any form, if you what to avoid problems with your heart, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, weight gain and even hormonal imbalance. Even if you substitute it with a healthy option, the daily consumption should not be too much as it will be turned into glucose anyway. Not to forget, that if you eat too much carbohydrates per day, your body will start storing them in the form of fat somewhere. The glycemic index is used to show you how much insulin your body will produce in order to digest a certain type of food or in other words, how much your blood sugar levels will be raised after the consumption of that food.

Fresh and dry fruits

Although some fruits are very sweet and others are not so sweet, if you eat the whole fruit and not drinking the fresh juice for example, in your body the carbohydrates will come together with some enzymes and fiber. The effect of this will be that your blood sugar levels will not jump drastically. So, fresh fruits would be the healthiest substitute of sugar. However, this is not the case with the sweet dry fruits like dates, figs, dried prunes etc. The sugar in them although coming from fruits, is very concentrated so the glycemic index is much higher, for example dates have more than 50 glycemic index. One of the best choices in that case is freeze-dried berry powder as berries are not sweet fruits in the first place.

Stevia

Stevia is a herb that is much sweeter than sugar and has zero glycemic index which makes it a very good sugar substitute for people suffering from diabetes, metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance. The best way to consume it is in the form of dried leaves powder but you can find it like a liquid or crystals. Although, stevia is very healthy and has no side effects, sometimes the chemicals used in the processing of stevia are harmful, so make sure you read the label very carefully. Some stevia products are 200-300 times sweeter than sugar, so use them in moderation until you find the best dose for your recipe. It doesn’t contain any carbohydrates, so it is great for you if you want to lose some additional weight.

Monk fruit (Luo Han Guo)

In some organic or bio shop, you could find powder or drops of Monk fruit which is another great sugar substitute with zero glycemic index and no carbohydrates. This Chinese fruit is know also as Luo Han Guo or longevity fruit, it is around 300 times sweeter than sugar and in the tradition of the Chinese medicine it was used to treat obesity and diabetes. Again you need to be quite careful when buying products containing Monk fruit as sometimes you can even see sugar as part of the ingredients. The ideal case would be to use the fruit extract or the dried fruit powder.

(In part 2 of this article you will find more healthy sugar substitutes.)

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