What sugar substitutes are there and what is behind them?January 14, 2020
For many years people have been aware that too much sugar is not good for the body. And yet we eat it every day in an amount that is far beyond the needs of our body. One reason for this is that sugar is added – often unnecessarily – to many products of our daily life. At the same time, as sugar is criticized heavily, many sugar substitute products have entered the market. In this blog post we are going to take a closer look at those. We are looking into the question of what sugar alternatives such as honey, agave syrup and birch sugar are actually good for and we also discuss the disadvantages of these substitutes.
- Is sugar really so unhealthy?
- Sugar substitutes – what alternatives are there?
Is sugar really so unhealthy?
So now we think to know that sugar is unhealthy. And yet it is not at all easy to avoid it on a large scale. But sugar is not only bad – glucose is the most important energy supplier of our body and in form of carbohydrates or other substances it is even vital for our survival.
This does not mean, however, that every type of sugar has these properties. On the contrary – added sugar in soft drinks, juices and other products may be an energy supplier for a short period of time, but it causes the blood sugar level to drop even faster afterwards.
The sugar we know is mostly derived from plants and consists mainly of sucrose. Today, however, our main supplier of sugar is no longer sugar cane, from which cane sugar is made, but the sugar beet, from which our white sugar is made. So how can we avoid a commodity that is almost unavoidable? We take a close look at various sugar alternatives and explain the differences between the various options.
Sugar substitutes – what alternatives are there?
Of course, sugar, sugar syrups, sweeteners and the calories associated with them are present everywhere in our daily lives. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look for alternatives – there are plenty of them:
The classic honey as a sugar substitute
Honey is a natural sweetening alternative to sugar – and also the oldest sweetener in the world. It has always been used to sweeten food and beverages. Honey has also been considered as a remedy for years. It is antibacterial, antiseptic and slightly anti-inflammatory. Paired with ginger it helps against colds.
But you should be careful – 100 grams of honey contain about 350 kilocalories. This is almost the same calorie amount as normal sugar – but honey is a stronger sweetener than normal sugar. In some of our products you can also find honey as a sugar substitute with its anti-inflammatory effect, for example in our Honey Crunchy or our Apricot & Honey Porridge.
Sugar from wood – Birch sugar as a sugar substitute
Birch sugar is often obtained from the remains of corn cobs. The normal production process from wood sugar is very expensive, which is why people like to make use of this option. Birch sugar contains up to 40 percent fewer calories than conventional sugar and therefore does not cause the blood sugar level to rise as much after eating it. Unlike honey, the sweetening power is the same. Here the rules also apply that you should only consume it in moderation!
The liquid alternative to honey – agave syrup as a sugar substitute
This sugar alternative is quite similar to honey. The colour and consistency are almost the same, but the agave syrup is a little more liquid and therefore better suited for cooking. It is also suitable for vegans and contains valuable plant substances, vitamins and minerals. The sweetening power is also stronger than the one of honey – but the calorie amount contained is almost the same.
The slightly different fruit sugar – erythritol as a sugar substitute
Erythritol is similar to birch sugar and can be found in strawberries, pears, melons or even grapes. However, it is mostly obtained from corn or mushrooms. This makes the sugar substitute extremely expensive. But the price is worth it – erythritol contains almost no calories and does not damage the teeth. The effect on the blood sugar level is almost zero!
The exotic substitute – coconut blossom sugar as sugar substitute
This sugar alternative is obtained from the nectar of coconut palm blossoms and is obtained by boiling it down. Usually the sugar is brown and tastes like caramel. Coconut blossom sugar contains numerous vitamins and minerals. These include iron, zinc and magnesium. The price is also rather high. Because coconut blossom sugar is a pure form of sugar, it can increase the risk of diabetes and other diseases. Therefore, same as before, you should not eat too much of it.
In a comprehensive article, we have dealt very closely with the question of how harmful sugar really is.
Sugar and sugar substitutes also play an important role in product development at Verival. We are producing more and more breakfast products without added sugar, including many of our delicious porridges and mueslis without added sugar.
In addition, we are constantly working on reducing the sugar content in our products while maintaining their delicious taste.
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