Keep it sweet and simple
It is not surprising that a little sweetness in our diet elevates our moods. The trigger behind such craving is a hormone and neurotransmitter called Dopamine that gives positive feeling. Sugar can be addictive for this reason and consuming in mindful quantities is very important for a healthier lifestyle.
FDA recommends a sugar intake of 10% of our daily calorie consumption and WHO recommends a much lower intake of 5%. But medical research indicates that sugar overload can lead to type 2 diabetes, obesity and may be linked to liver disease, dementia and depression.
While all sweeteners have the same risks, refined white sugar is a bigger threat as it has ‘empty calories’ and does not add anything valuable to your diet. But keeping health point of view aside, if you are guilty of having sweet tooth like me, there are alternatives available easily in supermarkets.
Jaggery: An excellent source of iron, jaggery is made from a variety of plant-based sources and is easily available in Asian markets. Sugarcane, palm and coconut jaggeries are very popular additions to desserts, bakes, gravies and sauces.
Date syrup: Dates are packed with carotenoids, potassium, manganese, magnesium, antioxidants, fibre etc. Date syrup has the same goodness of dates and can be used as an alternative to honey.
Fruit purees and juices: Swap sugar with fruit purees in your cereal, cakes and other goodies. Check for added sugars though if you are buying bottled purees.
Agave syrup: Popularly used in cocktails and smoothies, Agave syrup has lower GI and considered good even for diabetics. But make an informed choice as it is 30% sweeter than sugar.
Molasses: Made by reducing sugarcane or beet juice, molasses is a great alternative to sugar and it is high in minerals and antioxidants.
Fruits/dry fruits: Chop them into cereal, over pancakes, in sandwiches or eat a bowlful, for your daily dose of sugar.
These alternative sweeteners go well with ice creams, pan cakes, salads, milk or even coffees and teas!
Scroll through EarthBased to shop for some of these products and join the growing health conscious global community.