New Delhi: White sugar which is also called granulated sugar or table sugar is made from refined sugarcane. Granulated white sugar and other natural sugars are sweeteners used in all types of foods, including baked goods, sweetened beverages, and savoury dishes. White sugar is a highly processed item, and with a busy lifestyle, it is best to have foods that are nutrient-dense. As white sugar is refined so intaking a large amount of it can link to obesity, excess belly fat, diabetes, and heart disease. It can also cause depression, dementia, liver disease, and certain types of cancer.
Dr Rohini Patil, MBBS, Nutritionist, and CEO of Nutracy Lifestyle shares five alternatives for white sugar:
Stevia: Stevia is natural, unlike other sugar substances which are made from the leaves of the stevia plant. It contains zero calories and is much sweeter than sugar. Replacing sugar with stevia can help in preventing weight gain and reduce blood sugar levels. For people having diabetes, stevia proves to be great. Have it throughout the day so that carbs may add up.
Dates: Dates are one of the best natural sweeteners. They are a source of fructose, which means a natural type of sugar found in fruit. Dates are high in fiber, nutrients, potassium, iron, and magnese which helps in building proteins in the body, and fiber benefits in your digestive system by preventing constipation. They are not only nutritious but delicious too, which means it`s easy and simple to have and include in your diet.
Honey: Honey is rich in calories and contains important minerals and vitamins like calcium, potassium, vitamin C, B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6. It has also a lower GI value than sugar and includes antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Compounds of honey like polyphenols help in modulating inflammation in the body. It can also finish fungus and unwanted bacteria. As honey is very sweet so you may require it less in comparison to white sugar. You can also have honey for easing coughing and sore throats
Jaggery: Jaggery has more nutrients than sugar because of its molasses content. Now you might be thinking what is Molasses? It is a nutritious by-product of the process of sugar making, which is often removed when making refined sugar. Additionally, it also maintains the electrolyte balance and helps in preventing water retention because of its potassium content.
Brown sugar: As compared to white sugar, brown sugar is less in calories. It consists of various micronutrients like calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, copper, and vitamin B-6, which are very important for a healthy functioning body. The molasses present in brown sugar can help in boosting metabolism.
Nothing happens in a single day, everything takes time. Replacing your long-time ongoing habit is tough but not impossible. Take your time and start this change slowly. High-sugar diets can increase the risk of disease and affect your health. Replacing refined sugar with the above sweeteners may lower the risk but eventually consuming anything excess is not good whether it`s honey, jaggery, or any of the above. So take smaller quantities and be consistent.