Natural Alternatives To Sugar
Maple syrup is still made the same way it has been for decades - by boiling sap from maple trees. While it does contain some vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, the amounts in a typical serving are quite small. One tablespoon provides about 1% of your daily needs for calcium, potassium, and iron. When it comes to choosing a syrup, you might want to consider the color. Dark syrups may have higher mineral antioxidant levels and tend to have stronger maple taste, potentially helping you use less.
This natural sweetener has been shown to possess small amounts of nutrients, antioxidants, and antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory compounds. It's recommended to buy raw, USDA Certified Organic Honey whenever possible, to get the highest quality honey with minimal processing. While a healthy alternative to sugar, don't adopt a "honey is good for me, so I can drizzle it on everything" mentality. One teaspoon provides about 20 calories and 5 to 6 grams of sugar.
While whole dates are a good source of several key nutrients, the nutrient amount in date sugar is minimal. And that one teaspoon contains 15 calories and about 3 grams of sugar. Date sugar can replace white sugar in equal amounts, but using two-thirds also works well in most recipes.
Coconut sugar is made from sap extracted from the buds of coconut palms. Like table sugar, it has about 15 calories and four grams of sugar per teaspoon. It does provide small amounts of nutrients, including thiamin, iron, copper, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, and antioxidants. This sweetener also contains inulin, a naturally-occurring, indigestible carbohydrate that acts as a prebiotic, or "food" for beneficial gut bacteria.
This thick, dark syrup is the byproduct of processing sugar cane. It retains some of the nutrients naturally found in sugar cane, including potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, copper, selenium, and manganese. One teaspooon provides about 15 calories and 4 grams of sugar. It also contains 6% of the Daily Value for iron and calcium!