United Nations marked November 14 as World Diabetes Day in honor of Sir Frederick Banting’s birthday, the man who co-discovered insulin. 1 in 10 people live with diabetes and on an occasion like Diwali, it’s more necessary than ever to find healthier alternatives and substitutes to refined sugar. Here are four substitutes you can replace your sugar with as you make way for Diwali sweets and feasts.
Coconut sugar is unrefined, retaining all its vitamins and minerals, and doesn’t lead to fluctuations in blood sugar. However, if you’re looking to lose weight, coconut sugar is not your option since it has the same level of calories as table sugar. It can be used as a one to one replacement with white or brown sugar in the kitchen. It can be coarse so you may need to grind it before using it while baking and cooking as a substitute to powdered sugar.
Dates are high in nutrition, minerals, and vitamins so adding date paste to your diet will increase its nutritional value as well. You can make date paste at home using ¾ cup of water, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, and approximately 1 cup of warm, pitted dates. You can use it as a sweetener in smoothies, baked goods, and sauces as a substitute to regular sugar. However, since date paste is sweeter than sugar, you may need to reduce the amount you usually use with sugar.
Made by cooking down the sap of maple trees, the syrup contains a decent amount of minerals including calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, and manganese. While not as quickly as sugar, maple sugar will also raise your blood sugar levels significantly.
Honey is probably the world’s oldest replacement for sugar. Specifically, raw honey is made without any processing and while it’s high in fructose it also contains antibiotic properties, making it one of the best alternatives to sugar.
(Contributed by Sakshi Prabhu)