Natural sweeteners are a common alternative to refined sugar, like white sugar. These are simply food products that are sweetened naturally when it is harvested and undergoes very minimal processing. Several can compare to white cane sugar nicely because they evoke a similar sweetness. Many people choose to opt for natural sweeteners because consuming too much added sugar can lead to increased blood pressure, weight gain, diabetes, and more, according to Harvard Heart Health.
You might be familiar with some natural sweeteners, like stevia, honey, and maple syrup. But have you ever used date syrup, coconut sugar, or monk fruit? Natural sweeteners are an easy way to sweeten a dish without the use of white granulated cane sugar.
Most people are generally aware of the downsides of using regular sugar. Added sugars like liquid sweeteners, corn syrups and sugar syrups are likely to raise blood sugar and lead to conditions like diabetes and heart disease. That’s why natural sweeteners are a helpful alternative. For more information on how refined sugar impacts your body and health, check out this page by Science Direct explaining the science of it all.
Some sweeteners may appear to be natural, like maple syrup and honey. But they are sometimes modified with additions like corn syrup, which is refined sugar. Next time, be sure to read labels carefully and look out for ingredients that you’d rather avoid.
Pure Maple Syrup
Pure maple syrup is a go-to natural sweetener in many kitchens. That’s because it’s easily accessible, affordable, and familiar to many people. Just be sure to read the ingredients to ensure it’s pure maple syrup without any additions like corn syrup. In addition to a few other varieties, try one of these pure maple syrups at Tacoma Boys:
- Field Day Organic Maple Syrup
- Coombs Family Farms Organic Maple Syrup
- Stonewall Kitchen Maine Maple Syrup
- Natural Value Organic Maple Syrup
Believe it or not, all honeys are not created equally! Like maple syrup, some cheap honeys may have been altered with sugar syrup or corn syrup. It’s important to read the ingredients and other labels to make sure you’re getting the right honey for you, like one of these at Tacoma Boys:
- GloryBee Honey
- Bandi Foods Raw Honey
- Oregon Growers Blackberry Honey
- Marie’s Honey Oxymel
Dates and Other Fruit
Dates are a great alternative to refined sugar because they are naturally sweet with subtle flavor. Any fruit is nicely sweet and can be used as a sweetener. But dates are common because they are generally sold dried and don’t taste too strong in any way. Plus, blending dates can result in a nice, thick, caramel-like substance that is easy to use in place of sugar-loaded caramel. Try these date products and fruit at Tacoma Boys:
- Joolies Organic Date Syrup
- Date Lady Date Sugar
- Delreal Organic Coconut Date Rolls
- Remlinger Farms Frozen Fruit (berries, apples, peaches)
Coconut sugar is often used as an alternative to white sugar. Think of it as a sweetener to coffee, replacement to brown sugar, or in baked goods. You can use it at about a 1:1 ratio to white cane sugar. You can find these coconut sugars at Tacoma Boys:
- Bob’s Red Mill Organic Coconut Sugar
- Madhava Organic Coconut Sugar
- GloryBee Organic Coconut Sugar
- Big Tree Organic Brown Coconut Sugar
Other sugar substitutes can include:
- Monk fruit: Lakanto Monk Fruit Sweetener and Lakanto Simple Syrup. Monk fruit is a fruit native to Asia that is incredibly sweet when ripe and has no calories.
- Stevia: SweetLeaf Stevia Syrup. The well-known sugar substitute comes from the leaves of the stevia plant and is significantly sweeter than white cane sugar.
- Erythritol: Swerve Sugar Replacement. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is calorie free and measures just like sugar.
Some people are not sure how to use sugar alternatives instead of white sugar. It’s not much different sometimes. But other sugar alternatives don’t quite work the same way, and have to be adjusted. Research whatever kind you’re using to understand how it works as an alternative to white cane sugar. In general, try using your sugar alternatives in:
- Coffee and tea
- Jams and jellies
- Sauces, dressings, and marinades
- Smoothies, cocktails, and other drinks
Cooking With Natural Sweeteners
Baking and cooking with natural sweeteners is not much different than white sugar. Most natural sweeteners can’t be used as an equal replacement to white sugar. But it comes quite close! For example, some people recommend using maple syrup instead of sugar in a 0.75:1 ratio in baked goods. That means that for every 1 cup of sugar used in a recipe, you should use ¾ cup of pure maple syrup. To get an idea of how to go about cooking with natural sweeteners, check out these refined sugar free recipes:
- Tacoma Boys’ own Overnight Oats Parfaits.
- Honey Shallot Vinaigrette by The Peppermill with honey.
- Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies by No Sweat Vegan with coconut sugar and maple syrup.
Refined Sugar Free Treats at Tacoma Boys
Find these refined sugar free goods, plus much more, at your local Tacoma Boys market:
- Keto and Co Chocolate Keto Cake Mix: This cake mix and other mixes by this brand include sugar alternatives like monk fruit.
- Eating Evolved Chocolate Bars and Keto Cups.
- Lily’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.
Swing by Tacoma Boys for a selection of natural sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, monk fruit, dates, and more. And to stay up to date on insider deals and specials, sign up for Tacoma Boys’ text list. Just text (253) 246-1661 to tell Paul you want to be on the list!