Coconut sugar, agave and date syrup are all popular alternatives to table sugar but don’t fall into the trap of thinking they are healthier. They are still a source of sugar albeit a different type. The World Health Organisation recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar for optimal health.
- Maple syrup is a good choice for people with food intolerances because it’s 100% natural and is made by refining the syrup from maple trees.
- Rice malt is produced by fermenting brown rice, and it does have a very high glycaemic index. It is best used in moderation.
- Dates and date syrup are high in fibre, which slows down the absorption of the sugar into the bloodstream.
- Stevia is made from a sweet, herbaceous plant and is up to 150 times sweeter than ordinary sugar. It contains no glucose or fructose, but some people find it has a slightly metallic aftertaste.
- Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the coconut plant and is very high in fructose but is quite good for baking.
- Agave is made from the same Mexican succulents used to manufacture tequila and could cause problems for people with irritable bowel syndrome.
- Raw honey is loaded with nutrients derived from the nectar in flowers but is also high in fructose.
- Xylitol is found in many sugar-free gums and is derived from birch trees and is actually best for your teeth. However, consuming too much could cause problems with diarrhoea and bloating.
So whatever sugar you choose, remember to use it in moderation.