Refined table sugar is widely used today but unfortunately it comes with many negative consequences – not only does sugar have hardly any nutritional value but it also contributes to many diseases and encourages obesity. Artificial sweeteners aren’t much better but fortunately there are many natural sweeteners that not only don’t have the negative consequences of sugar but also have many health benefits.

1. Molasses

Molasses is my favorite. It is the byproduct of the sugar manufacturing process and contains many nutrients which are essential to our health. It also has excellent antioxidant properties which are able to combat a number of diseases [1]. It is a rich source of manganese, copper, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and selenium.

2. Honey

The benefits of honey have been known since ancient times and it is perhaps one of the most well-known, natural substitutes. Honey is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial agent and has also been found to have anti-tumor and anti-mutagenic properties which are important factors in cancer treatment [2].

3. Stevia

Stevia is a herb that is gaining popularity as a natural sweetener. It has zero calories but It is three hundred times as sweet as sucrose so you only need to use a small amount. In addition it has shown beneficial results in terms of hypertension and hyperglycemia. It is an antioxidant with chemo-protective and anti-inflammatory properties and can also help to support the immune system [3].

4. Xylitol

This popular health food can be found in many supermarkets and health stores. Not only is it a more health-promoting sweetener than sucrose but it also actually helps prevent tooth decay where sucrose promotes it [4]. It has also been found to increase bone density and treat middle ear infection.

5. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is taken from the maple tree Maple syrup is antioxidant, antiradical and anti-mutagenic which holds important benefits in protection from a number of different diseases [5]. It is a good source of organic acids, amino acids, minerals and flavonoids.

In a world where obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease are reaching epidemic proportions it is becoming increasingly important to take our health seriously and to do whatever we can to stop these problems before they start. One way is to find alternatives to sugar and fortunately there are a number of different options available that will promote good health and protect us from disease.