Refined sugars, such as sucrose and high fructose corn syrups, are known to be bad for you as they contain a high level of calories with no essential nutrients (hence being known as 'empty calories'). Ingesting high levels of refined sugar results in a spike in your blood-glucose levels. Having too much glucose in your bloodstream is highly toxic and can lead to a barrage of disorders such as insulin resistance, type II diabetes, weight gain and heart disease.
We know it's hard to go cold-turkey in getting a sweet fix, so we put together a list of six sugar substitutes and natural sweeteners which are lower in calories than regular sugar and won't spike your blood-glucose levels, meaning they are a better option for the whole family!
1. Monk Fruit
Native to China and Southeast Asia, this small, sweet melon was first cultivated by Buddhist Monks in the 13th Century. What make monk fruit so amazing is that its sweetness comes mainly from a unique natural compound called mogroside, which has no impact on blood-sugar levels.
Our Monk Fruit Juice Powder does not spike blood-sugar levels, making is a great sugar replacement for diabetics, low-carb dieters, or people simply wishing to cut back on their sugar consumption. It has a pleasant sweetness, with no bitter aftertaste, and only a small amount is required to reach desired sweetness.
Stevia has been used for centuries as a way to naturally sweeten food and beverages. However, its sweetness does not come from sugar. Rather it comes from its unique natural chemicals known as steviosides. This compound provides around 200 times the level of sweetness than that of regular sugar, all whilst not spiking your blood-sugar levels.
The sweetness of our Stevia with Monk Fruit Powder comes primarily from steviosides and mogrosides, which have no impact on blood-glucose levels. This makes it a great sugar alternative for diabetics and those requiring less sugar in their diet.
Known as the 'apple of the earth', yacon is a crisp, sweet tasting tuber originating from South America. It has been consumed for centuries in Peru for its delicious flavour and unique nutritional profile.
Our Organic Yacon Root Powder, which is naturally low in calories, has a delicate sweet taste with hints of maple syrup and caramel. It has a low G.I. of 34 due to its large content of indigestible carbohydrates, which are not absorbed into the blood stream.
4. Coconut Nectar
Coconut nectar is one of the most sustainable sweeteners in the world, as the coconut palm tree does not need to be cut down to produce it. With a low G.I. of around 35, trace vitamins, minerals and even a little protein, coconut nectar is one of nature's excellent sweeteners, not to mention super easy to use in baking and cooking.
Made from the concentrated sweet sap of the coconut flower stem, coconut nectar is a delicious alternative to honey, golden and maple syrups. Due to minimal processing, many of the beneficial vitamins and minerals are retained within the nectar, meaning you are not consuming empty calories typical of most other sweeteners. The sugar in coconut nectar contains inulin, an important plant fibre which moderates the way sugar is used by the body, and is the reason why coconut nectar has such a low glycemic index. This significant difference is similar to the way sugar from fresh, whole fruit acts in our bodies is a healthier way compared to the sugar from fresh fruit juice. The key to sugar absorption when ingesting coconut nectar and fresh whole fruit is that both contain inulin fibre, which moderates the way the sugar is absorbed by our blood stream. Once fruit sugar is separated from inulin (i.e. during the manufacturing process) you create an entirely different beast and is why too much fruit juice is bad for us!
Our Organic Coconut Nectar is sourced from organic coconut palm trees grown in remote co-op farms in the Philippines. It is processed naturally by collecting the sweet sap of the coconut flower stem. This is done by connecting a bamboo tube to the coconut flower stem, which catches the nectar as it's produced by the tree, transporting it to a collection bowl at the other end. It is then collected by co-op members every 4-5 hours before being put through a natural evaporation process at a low temperature until it becomes a viscous syrup.
5. Pure Coconut Sugar
Harvested from coconut trees, pure coconut sugar is minimally processed to retain all of its natural coco-nutty goodness. Its delicious, sweet caramel flavour makes it an excellent alternative to regular cane sugar and the perfect addition to your coffee, tea, baking and cooking. Pure coconut sugar has a naturally low G.I. rating of around 35. By comparison, agave has a G.I. of 42, honey 55, and cane sugars 68.
Our Pure Organic Coconut Sugar is minimally processed, with it being one step further down the dehydration scale from its source (coconut nectar eventually turns into coconut sugar crystals before being packed ready for your use). Pure coconut sugar contains nature’s vitamins, minerals, amino acids, electrolytes and even a little protein – everything nature needs to grow a perfect coconut!
Pure coconut sugar’s inulin fibre content and other micronutrients make it act more like an intrinsic sugar (such as that which occurs naturally in a piece of fruit). We consider pure coconut sugar to be one of the healthiest sugar options available and the smarter choice for the whole family.
Note: pure coconut sugar is not to be confused with palm sugar and cheaper coconut sugars which may contain a mixture of different palm species sugars, molasses and cane sugar. Only pure coconut sugar has the low G.I. and other benefits as stated above.
Traditionally known as the 'Gold of the Incas', lucuma fruit can be identified by its green skin, bright yellow-orange flesh and large seed. It's a sacred food item native to the Andean regions of South America, where is has been used for thousands of years.
Our Organic Lucuma Powder is made from whole Peruvian lucuma fruit, which has been carefully dehydrated at low temperatures and milled into a fine powder. It has a delicious flavour (much like maple syrup with a hint of apricot), and can be used as a 100% natural sweetener - it's an amazing addition to baking.
Fun fact: Lucuma is also Peru's #1 ice cream flavour!
To see all of the natural sweeteners we have to offer, click here.