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Popular sugar substitutes and their uses

Sugar forms the major ingredient in the foods and beverages but refined sugar of processed food can cause obesity and diabetes. For losing weight and improving health, sugar substitutes are good options. As a substitute for sugar, natural sugar substitutes are considered better than the artificial ones because they are made from chemicals and are toxic. Natural sugar substitutes, on the other hand, are made from natural ingredients and are the most commonly used sugar alternatives that people like to opt for its health and safety benefits. A wide range of natural sugar substitutes are available in the market which are good for health and even have nutritional properties. Some of them have lower glycemic index than others.

A variety of sugar substitute syrups is available in the
market which are:

Agave syrup:

Agave nectar tastes sweeter than honey and has a combination of glucose and fructose sugars. The sap of blue agave plant is extracted and then purified to obtain Agave syrup. The agarve syrup obtained from the native Mexican plant has the quick blending property. This syrup is commonly used in hot and cold drinks. The added advantage is, having a low glycemic index; agave syrup does not have harmful effect on sugar levels.

Maple Syrup:

This naturally occurring sweetener is an excellent sugar substitute syrup. A big advantage of maple syrup is that, it helps in balancing the cholesterol levels and contains trace minerals like manganese and zinc. However, those with diabetics should consume it moderately because it has a high glycemic index.

Brown Rice Syrup:

This syrup contains 45% maltose and is less refined than table sugar. Having high glycemic index value, Brown Rice Syrup should also be taken in moderation by those with high glucose level.

Barley Malt Syrup:

This sugar substitute syrup is made by malting grains of barley; thus a kind of sugar is produced which is called maltose. This sweetener comes with half sweetness of refined sugar and has a distinctive dark, rich colour and typical flavour like molasses. Barley Malt Syrup is commonly used in brewing beer, baking and cooking. However, containing 65% maltose, Barley Malt Syrup is high on the glycemic index; people with diabetes should take it carefully.

Evaporated Cane Juice:

This is a healthy substitute for white table sugar and contains most of the nutrients of brown sugar as it does not require same degree of processing like refined sugar. Evaporated cane juice is considered as one of the healthy sugar substitutes and a natural source of sweetener and is a part of healthy diet. It is used for sweetening foods and beverages and found in lot of processed foods as well. Evaporated cane juice is also available as crystallized cane juice, dried cane juice or milled cane sugar.

Raw Honey:

It is one of the most popular healthy sugar substitutes, which is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, carbohydrates, amino acids and phyto-nutrients. Certain types of honey like orange blossom honey or red clover honey has lower glycemic index.

The substitute natural sweeteners can be used for all purposes like cooking and baking. These can also be added to already prepared meals and drinks.