We all know refined sugar is bad for your health… but this doesn’t stop us from wanting to have a sweet treat every now and again.
And as long as it’s done in moderation, there’s nothing wrong with giving into these cravings.
The problem is most of the sweet treats we eat are full of white Bakers sugar or high fructose corn syrup (HFSC)– highly processed items that can wreak havoc on your health.
So how can you get that sweetness you crave without the risks that come along with it?
It’s simple: you use natural forms of sweetener instead.
I know from experience that this is easier said than done. If you don’t have experience replacing sugars, you can easily end up with a huge culinary mess on your hands.
So… I wrote down a few tips on how to use my 5 favorite replacements for refined sugar:
1. Agave Nectar.
This syrup has been around since the days of the Aztecs, and has only gotten more popular over time. It is great in coffee or tea, and can be used as a replacement for sugar in just about any recipe.
When replacing white sugar, use 2/3 C agave for every 1 C sugar, and reduce the liquid by ¼ C.
For brown sugar, you still 2/3 C agave for every 1 C sugar, but reduce liquid by only 2 TBSP.
2. Yacon Syrup.
This is a molasses-like syrup that is known for having some extreme health benefits, and may even boost your weight loss efforts. A lot of these health benefits are lost if you bake with this syrup, so I recommend using it to sweeten smoothies or hot beverages.
If you do bake with it, you can use it as a replacement for molasses in any recipe. If you would like to use it as a replacement for sugar, follow the instructions for Agave.
3. Maple Syrup.
Maple syrup lends a subtle flavor change to your baked goods, and is an amazing replacement for brown sugar in just about every recipe, from oatmeal to granola. It’s also great in somewhat savory recipes, like BBQ sauce.
When replacing sugar in baked goods, use ¾ C of pure Maple Syrup for every 1 C of sugar, and reduce the liquid by 3 TBSP.
But make sure you read the ingredients and get PURE Maple Syrup… a lot of maple syrup on the shelves right now is actually HFCS with artificial flavoring!
Honey isn’t just a natural sweetener—it’s also a great source of antioxidants and can sooth a sore throat.
It’s a great replacement for regular sugar in teas, dressings, baked goods like muffins or cakes. I’ve even known people who use it to sweeten their coffee.
To replace white sugar with honey when baking, use ¾ C for every 1 C and reduce your liquids by ½ C. Also, reduce the oven by 25 degrees to keep whatever you’re baking from browning too much.
5. Coconut Palm Sugar.
With a low glycemic index and a ton of vital minerals like magnesium and potassium, it’s no wonder coconut palm sugar is my absolute favorite replacement sugar.
It’s also the absolute easiest to use when baking, because it is a 1-for-1 substitute for refined white sugar. So if your recipe calls for ¾ C of sugar, you replace it with ¾ C Coconut Palm Sugar…. no adjustments required.
Hope these tips help you enjoy some of the treats you love!
But keep in mind – the key is moderation. Replacing the refined sugar won’t help you be healthy if you’re polishing off a bottle of Agave every week.