Powdered sugar or refined cane sugar is devoid of nutritional value, thankfully there are cane sugar substitutes that are full of nutrients.
Cane sugar has been stripped from the sugarcane to give you that crystalline white powder. The answer however isn’t to consume artificial sweeteners like, Splenda, aspartame, Nutrasweet, acesuflame potassium. We don’t want to be consuming an excess of cane sugar but at least cane sugar is a natural substance compared to the aforementioned artificial ones.
Cane sugar substitutes
1. Raw honey is the powerhouse of sweeteners.
2. Date sugar is a great option to sweeten up your life as it is literally granulated dried dates.
3. Monkfruit is another great option it is over a 100x sweeter than cane sugar.
4. Stevia leaf extract is another near zero calorie sweetener similar to monkfruit in that it is 100x sweeter than sugar cane and would be a good option to help overcome sugar cane cravings.
5. Maple syrup especially the extra dark kind is a big winner.
Raw honey is the powerhouse of sweeteners, I will let my daughter have spoonfuls of it. I give it to my kids if they have any kind of upper respiratory infection as it is antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also loaded with vitamin C, B vitamins, and minerals.
Honey has even been shown to inhibit the stomach infection H. pylori that causes gastritis and peptic ulcers. You would think with its sweetness that honey would raise blood sugar, but researchers have found that it in fact lowers fasting blood sugar.
Date sugar is a great option to sweeten up your life as it is literally granulated dried dates. Human studies have demonstrated that dates and date extracts to have a strong antioxidant effect in humans.
In fact, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association published reports demonstrating that amongst a myriad of natural sweeteners only blackstrap molasses had a higher antioxidant profile than did date sugar.
Date sugar is also a reasonable source of potassium, magnesium, and copper. It is important to mention that with new extraction methods, companies are not just granulating dried dates anymore.
Extracting sugars from the dates and saying they are from dried dates, is like saying sugar cane is from cane sugar which it is, but all the benefits other than its sweetness are missing.
Look for granulated date sugar powder or get some Medjool dates and blend them yourself and add to recipes.
Monkfruit is another great option it is over a 100x sweeter than cane sugar. And it is these unique antioxidants called mogrosides that supply the intense sweetness. The main issue is that monkfruit is so sweet that by itself it doesn’t taste that great, so it is often paired with sugar alcohols like erythritol.
Erythritol is associated with undesirable bacterial change in the gut, as well as gas and bloating. So I suggest if you’re using monkfruit to try and use it in tandem with raw honey, maple syrup or date sugar as this could permit you to use less of these sweeteners as well as enjoy the sweet antioxidant hit that comes from monkfruit.
Stevia leaf extract is another near zero calorie sweetener similar to monkfruit in that it is 100x sweeter than sugar cane and is a good option when you’re trying to overcome sugar cane cravings. One thing to be on the lookout for in stevia-sweetened products are: sugar alcohols, dextrose and artificial sweeteners.
Maple syrup especially the extra dark kind is a big winner. As a general rule of thumb, the darker the syrup, the more antioxidants are present. Dark maple syrup is a proposed phytomedicine for gastrointestinal cancers because it has been shown to significantly inhibit cancer cell proliferation.
Unfortunately, the organic maple syrup at Costco is unlikely to have the level of benefit mentioned above, but it is still loaded with a host of minerals, B vitamins, organic acids to support mitochondrial function and amino acids. When we make homemade whipped cream, maple syrup is my go to.
As with anything, check your labels to make sure you are not getting any unnecessary ingredients in your natural sweetener.