Why are we searching for alternatives to sugar, basically because we are aware sugar is bad for our health and well-being.
Over the years we have been looking for healthier alternatives to the traditional Table Sugar - that comes from sugar cane or beet, which once harvested is crushed/sliced to extract its juice, then boiled until it evaporates leaving behind the sugar crystals, that is then ground creating Granulated, Caster or Icing Sugar.
What natural alternative are we looking to replace sugar for;
Coconut Sugar (or Palm Sugar)
Stevia (often added artificial products)
Are these natural alternatives better for us...
Just like sugar the natural alternatives are made up of different quantities of glucose and fructose to make sucrose. However they are basically the same, having said that they often contain extra micronutrients; vitamins, minerals and polyphenols.
For example Honey - Greek honey you taste the herbs that the bees have collected the pollen from, and the herbs create the added vitamins, minerals and polyphenols, although its microscopic amounts.
Honey and Maple Syrup are less processed as Honey is taken from Bee Hives and Maple Syrup is the sap harvested by tapping Maple Trees.
The table sugar or natural alternative we add at home are not the sugars we should be worried about, its the added hidden sugars with-in processed foods. In fact sugars that are packaged within the original food that it came from behave very differently; for example fruit and there sugars are actually good for our whole health and well-being if eaten whole chewing through the natural fibres which slows down the absorption's rates of the sugar, not creating dips and peaking within our blood sugars approximately 15 minutes after we consume, often taking 2 hours to return to baseline. These peaks can initiate inflammation, which has a negative effect on our health. Some people can have dips after too much sugar which can cause us to feel really hungry quite quickly and tend to be less alert and cause us to eat a lot more energy at our next meal, in excess of an extra 300 calories over a day.
So to reduce the hidden sugars, know what you are eating, cooking from scratch clean whole foods adding sugar or natural alternatives in conservative amounts, putting your health and well-being first.