Sugar. Some consider it a phrase of love, some a symbol of joy, and some think of it as a reward. However, over the course of a few generations, sugar has crept from the margins of our diet to the point where it is essentially a three-times-a-day indulgence—proudly sprinkled on artisanal doughnuts, added without thought into coffee, and covertly snuck into condiments and salad dressings. Don’t even get us started on the aftereffects of an overindulgent sweet tooth.
So, we did a bit of a deep dive into a few guilt-free alternatives that are easy to incorporate into your diet while also giving you sweet satisfaction.
Known as the zero-calorie sweetener, monk fruit is giving stevia a run for its money as it becomes a more mainstream sugar alternative. It's 100-250 times sweeter than regular sugar and is a non-nutritive sugar, which means it contains zero carbs and calories per serving. More common in China, but quickly gaining popularity worldwide, monk fruit is now being cultivated in India as well making it quite accessible to us. You can get your hands on Lakanto and TruNativ monk fruit extract available online or at a specialty grocery store.
As the name suggests, coconut sugar is derived from coconut palm which is known to have a strong caramel taste. It is a relatively easier alternative to use as it can be added to your everyday coffee, smoothie, and meals just like white sugar. We get our coconut sugar from the super trusty Conscious Food and Pure & Sure available online or at your nearest convenient store.
While known to be a concentrated source of sugar, the fruit itself helps with slowing down digestion and balancing out the sugar in your system. Dates come in many varieties, but the best has to be Medjool dates. They are fleshier and much sweeter. Power-packed with nutrients, a little goes a long way so add it to your smoothies on the go. If you have anyone coming in from the middle east best to get from there but King Solomon’s Medjool dates are also said to be the best in the Indian market, easily available online.
A well-known alternative to sugar, we can’t go through this list without mentioning this solid natural sweetener. Always go for locally harvested, raw unfiltered honey which can be dense and very sweet, so we suggest adding a dollop to your buttered toast or a swirl into your yogurt. The best is from Under The Mango Tree offering a variety of raw honey available to order online.
An unrefined dark brown sugar, muscovado is nutritionally richer and healthier than white sugar. Compared to brown sugar muscovado is less refined and retains much of its molasses component, making it a great addition to baked goods. It is also extensively used in Ayurvedic medicine for blood cleansing and healthy digestion. While it can get confusing to choose the best in the market as there are numerous options, India Tree’s dark muscovado sugar is our pick.