Monday, 26 November 2018


  1.       What are all alternatives to processed white sugar and their benefits?
White sugar is an ingredient that is added just for taste. This white crystal does not provide the body with any nutritional benefits, except energy as it’s a simple carbohydrate which is quickly absorbed in the body. The fact that more people are being aware about it, is a good thing but due to so much of information on the internet, people usually fall prey to synthetic alternative which are equally bad. For starters, you should definitely avoid artificial sweeteners like sugar free tablets or powders as these can create more damage to your body than you know. Also, sugar alcohols like xylitol and erythritol can wreak havoc on your digestion, gut health, kidney function to name a few. Thus, the recommended way is to stop using sugar all together or have a restricted quantity of about a tsp. sugar per day. In addition, foods such as biscuits, ice creams, milk shakes, cakes etc. are loaded with sugar, so I recommend to limit its consumptions. But during times, where you crave for a little sweetness, you can use the following healthier alternatives:

  •  Honey: Organic raw honey is natural food that is made by bees. Always opt for the organic form that contains lots of beneficial nutrients like B vitamins and iron. Make sure to buy a good quality from authentic sources. Honey has been used as an age old remedy in times of sickness due to its immune system boosting properties and presence of antibacterial compounds that help fight infection in the body.
  • Jaggery: This natural sweetener has been a great go to ingredients since centuries. The two commonly used jaggery types are palm and sugarcane. It has been used to boost immunity, haemoglobin levels and prevents constipation.
  •  Date Syrup: Date syrup has been used to improve iron levels and is also packed with vitamins, minerals and dietary fibers. It has shown to improve digestion, fight against infections etc.
  • Stevia: A leaf of a plant native to South America is ground into powder called Stevia. Its unique property is that it’s 100 times sweeter than sugar and it’s all natural. Though as a nutritionist I still would avoid it and go for honey or jaggery instead.
  • Other natural flavour enhancers: Cinnamon, dates, prunes, dark chocolate or raisins also count as natural sweeteners or flavor enhancers that can be added or consumed for sweetness.
However it’s important to note that all these alternatives are nutrient dense and therefore have to be used in limited quantities.

     2. Is there any false claim regarding any, that you would wish to bust?

Yes, since the health awareness has boomed in these years, so has the demand to low calorie food products. Thus artificial sweeteners which were originally used as a replacement to sugar for diabetes but nowadays it has been more advertised for weight loss (zero calories). However, since it’s synthetic it is 2000 times sweeter than sugar. Frequent use may change the way we taste our food which means we may find less sweet foods like fruits or unsweet foods such as whole grains, vegetables less appealing and sweeter foods such as diet soda or coke more appealing. Abstaining or preventing yourself from having these artificial sweeteners can lead to withdrawal symptoms and can have short term and long term side effects. Thus next time you pick up a sugar free capsule, please ask yourself at what cost?

Personally, I would recommend a bit of white sugar in tea/ coffee than use of these artificial sweeteners.

      3. Best ways/pairing of sugar alternatives with foods?

Healthier alternatives to sugar such as honey, date syrup can be added to milk, milkshakes, yoghurt smoothies etc. Dates syrup can also be added to oatmeal, fruits, custards etc. Jaggery could be used in tea/ coffee. I would also like to share an interesting healthy recipe that I make for my kids i.e. Pancakes for which I use wheat flour, milk, egg and jaggery instead of maida and white sugar.

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