Did you know you have a lot of alternatives to white sugar?

Olga Amado

20 of December, 2017

We always ate sugar. In fact, the sweet taste of sugar comes with us almost since childhood, but unfortunately we have made it quick. The vertiginous transformation of the society in which we live and the changes in eating habits, together with a fierce food industry, have exaggeratedly collaborated.

We currently find sugar in a large quantity of processed food products, and everyone knows that, since ancient times, a way of preserving food and also making them more delicious is using sugar. Therefore, the problem is not only sugar in addition, but also in the whole of our diet. Now that we have enough perspective, scientific studies warn of the negative effects these excesses have on our health.
Adverse effects of sugar
1. Appearance of caries
2. Alteration of the nervous system, especially in children
3. Promotes the demineralisation of the bones
4. It promotes an acidifying state and inflammatory disorders that are related to diseases such as cancer
5. Alteration of the immune status by favoring candida or parasitic infections
6. Weight gain with everything that it entails
Like a match
Sugar is sucrose in a pure state, a simple carbohydrate that is rapidly metabolized and passes into the bloodstream. It provides immediate energy, because we understand, it would be like a match that, as quickly as it is lit, also shuts off. Therefore, operating on the basis of this energy is not feasible.
So, seeing its effects, it seems logical to replace it with other sugars or sweeteners but remember that we will do little if this is our point of action. What alternatives are there? Are they what they promise? Let's review to find out who's who in the world of sugars and sweeteners.
Sugar, brown or wholemeal or cane
It is still a less refined version of the traditional white sugar, poor in nutrients and in many occasions it is still the same sugar that is slightly dyed to say so.
Panela or rapadura
Darker than the previous one, also its taste and aroma is more powerful. It is the authentic unrefined sugar. More widely used in South America here, the panela is obtained from ripe sugarcane syrup. Its composition does not deceive, sucrose, glucose and fructose but also minerals since it is not subjected to processes of refinement like the previous one.
Coconut sugar
Coconut is a superfood for its nutritional properties and highly recommended for athletes. It is a sugar of natural origin that provides energy, but also vitamins, minerals, some fatty acids and fiber. The sugar that the coconut provides has a low glycemic index, a good ally while exercising because it does not raise glucose quickly.
Apple concentrate
It is typical of the Nordic countries and it is obtained by cooking the apple at low temperature slowly. It provides basically fructose, sugar from fruits and some other nutrients, although in the baking process most of the nutrients of the apple are lost.
Mel
Honey is basically a food rich in two sugars, fructose and glucose, it also contains vitamins, minerals, fiber and some proteins. Since ancient times it has been used to sweeten and cure diseases since it has different therapeutic uses. Honeys that have been subjected to industrial processes lose these properties to a large extent, hence raw honey is recommended.
Cereal melons
They are fashionable, they are obtained subject to cereals such as barley or rice to fermentation processes. They are natural sweeteners, of soft taste, nutritiously interesting and easy to digest.
Agave syrup
It is another natural sweetener that is obtained from the heart of a cactus called Maguey. Its use was already popular among Aztecs and Incas since it has an interesting property on the body. Between hobs, it is appreciated because it is not strong enough to taste and color. It contains fructoligosaccharides, prebiotics that strengthen the intestinal flora and does not cause decay.
In very elaborate commercial presentations, what they contain is basically fruitful and, therefore, you have to be careful with what you buy. As coconut sugar has low glycemic index, however, people with diabetes can not abuse it.
Maple syrup
Like the previous one, it is of natural origin, and is made from the sap of the maple. These trees are basically found in the forests of Canada and North America. Its elaboration process is laborious already since the collection of the sap, this means that in the end different syrups of various qualities exist, with some where the final concentrate is very poor in nutrients and most is fructose Not a diabetic-friendly syrup.
Stevia
Non-caloric natural sweeteners obtained from a Amazon plant. It is much sweeter than white sugar and instead does not raise blood sugar. It is a good option for diabetics and for those who like sweet tastes and are subject to diet to lose weight. Due to its height, a large number of products have appeared on the market, which under the name of the actual content of the product is very poor and most contain steviol gluosides.
Fructose
This is the fructose that is sold as an acid sweetener. This sugar is not recommended because it tends to accumulate. Its high consumption promotes metabolic disorders among them obesity.
Synthetic sweeteners
They are substances that are used to sweeten foods of artificial origin. They have a sweet taste often a bit peculiar without calories so they are suitable for diabetics and for those who like the sweet taste but do not want to fatten. We find them in most light products, in commercial fruit juices, sweets or chewing gums, biscuits, industrial brioche products and even as an excipient for medication. They are not subject to controversy as to their harmful effects on the body. Important not to get rid of recommended daily consumption. Some of them are acesulfam, aspartame, monosodium cyclamate, saccharin or polyols such as sorbitol, xylitol or mannitol. The latter, which we can easily find in chewing gums or candies, can cause intestinal discomfort and gases.

the author

Olga Amado

Responsible Area of ​​health of the Llinars Sport

Graduate in medicine and surgery (UAB). Specialist in Physical Activity and Sports Medicine (UB). Master in Nutrition and Food (UB).

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