We all know that refined sugar is not the healthiest option.
It’s loaded with empty calories and can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and other health problems.
Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives out there that can provide a sweet flavor without all the unhealthy side effects.
From natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup to stevia and monk fruit extract, there’s something for everyone.
In this article, we’ll discuss 11 of the best substitutes for refined sugar so you can make healthier choices in your kitchen.
What is Refined Sugar?
Refined sugar is a type of processed sugar made from either beet or cane, usually in the form of granulated white crystals.
It is typically used to sweeten and add flavor to food and drinks.
Refined sugar starts off as natural raw cane and beet juice that undergoes multiple purification steps such as filtration, evaporation, centrifugation, carbonation, and crystallization.
All these processes remove the impurities present in raw cane or beet juice until only pure sucrose remains.
The resulting product is refined sugar: fine-grained white crystals with a high sweetness level that can be used for baking and cooking purposes.
Refined sugars are also commonly found in many packaged foods like cereals, salad dressings, breakfast bars, soft drinks etc., where they provide extra sweetness without any added bulk or texture.
The 11 Best Substitutes For Refined Sugar
Refined sugar is often used in baking and cooking, but it can be difficult to find a substitute that won’t affect the taste or texture of your food.
Fortunately, there are 11 viable alternatives to refined sugar that you can use instead – including honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar and more.
1 – Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is a natural sweetener made from the sap of maple trees.
It has a distinct flavor and aroma that adds depth to many dishes, including desserts, sauces, and baked goods.
Unlike refined sugar, it contains minerals such as calcium and potassium as well as antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation in the body.
When replacing refined sugar with maple syrup, you may need to adjust the amount used since it’s sweeter than regular white sugar.
It also has a lower glycemic index which means it won’t cause your blood sugar levels to spike as quickly.
Maple syrup is an excellent alternative for those looking to reduce their consumption of processed sugars while still enjoying sweet treats!
2 – Honey
Honey is a natural sweetener that has been used for centuries as an alternative to refined sugar.
It has a unique flavor profile, ranging from floral and fruity to earthy and smoky depending on the type of honey used.
The sweetness of honey also varies based on its variety, with some being milder than others.
Honey contains trace amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may offer health benefits when consumed in moderation.
It can be used in baking recipes or drizzled over breakfast foods like oatmeal or yogurt.
For those looking for a healthier alternative to refined sugar, honey is an excellent choice!
3 – Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is a natural sweetener made from the sap of coconut palm trees.
It has a light caramel flavor and contains essential minerals like zinc, iron, calcium, and potassium.
Coconut sugar is lower on the glycemic index than refined sugars, making it a healthier alternative for those who are watching their blood sugar levels.
It can be used in baking recipes as a one-to-one replacement for white or brown sugar and adds an interesting depth of flavor to dishes.
When using coconut sugar in place of refined sugars, you may need to adjust your cooking time since it takes longer to dissolve into liquids.
Coconut sugar is also great sprinkled over oatmeal or yogurt for added sweetness without the guilt!
4 – Brown Sugar
Brown sugar is a type of unrefined sugar that has been partially processed to retain some of its natural molasses content.
It has a rich, caramel-like flavor and moist texture that makes it ideal for baking and cooking.
Brown sugar can be used as an alternative to refined white sugar in recipes, as it adds depth and complexity to dishes like cookies, cakes, and sauces.
When substituting brown sugar for white sugar in recipes, keep in mind that the former is slightly less sweet than the latter.
Therefore, you may need to adjust the amount of other ingredients accordingly.
You may also want to reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit when using brown sugar since it tends to darken quicker than regular white sugar.
5 – Stevia
Stevia is a natural sweetener made from the leaves of the stevia plant.
It has been used for centuries as a sugar substitute and is now widely available in both liquid and powder form.
Stevia contains no calories, making it an ideal alternative to refined sugar for those looking to cut back on their sugar intake.
The taste of stevia can be described as slightly bitter with herbal notes, but when added to recipes its sweetness comes through more prominently.
It’s also heat-stable, meaning it won’t break down or lose its sweetness when cooked or baked into desserts.
When substituting refined sugar with stevia, you may need to adjust the amount since stevia is much sweeter than regular table sugar.
6 – Monk fruit sweetener
Monk fruit sweetener is an all-natural, zero-calorie alternative to refined sugar.
It’s made from the extract of monk fruit, a small melon native to Southeast Asia.
The extract contains natural compounds called mogrosides that are responsible for its sweetness.
These compounds are up to 250 times sweeter than regular table sugar but contain no calories or carbohydrates.
Monk fruit sweetener can be used as a one-to-one replacement for refined sugar in baking recipes and beverages like coffee and tea.
It has a mild flavor that won’t overpower other ingredients and is heat stable, so it can be used in cooked dishes without losing its sweetness.
7 – Allulose
Allulose is a low-calorie, natural sweetener that has been gaining traction in the health food industry.
It is derived from fruits and plants like figs, raisins, and jackfruit and has a similar taste to sugar but with fewer calories.
Allulose does not raise blood sugar levels or contribute to tooth decay like other sugars do, making it an ideal alternative for those looking to reduce their refined sugar intake.
The sweetness of allulose can be used in baking recipes as a one-to-one replacement for table sugar. It also works well when added to beverages such as coffee or tea.
When substituting allulose for refined sugar, it’s important to note that baked goods may not brown as much due to its lower caramelization temperature.
However, this shouldn’t affect the flavor of your finished product too much!
8 – Dates
Dates are a delicious and nutritious alternative to refined sugar.
These sweet fruits come from the date palm tree and have been enjoyed for centuries in Middle Eastern countries.
Dates can be eaten fresh or dried and make a great addition to smoothies or oatmeal.
When baking with dates instead of white sugar you may need to adjust the liquid content of your recipe since dates are much moister than refined sugar.
You can also blend them into a paste that can be used in place of butter or oil for cakes and cookies.
The natural sweetness of dates makes them an ideal substitute for refined sugar in any recipe!
9 – Applesauce
Applesauce is a great alternative to refined sugar when baking.
It has a natural sweetness that can be used to sweeten cakes, muffins, and other baked goods.
The applesauce helps keep the texture of the finished product moist while adding flavor and nutrition.
When substituting applesauce for sugar in recipes, use half as much applesauce as you would sugar and reduce other liquids by 1/4 cup for every cup of applesauce used.
You can also add spices like cinnamon or nutmeg for extra flavor.
For an even healthier option, try using unsweetened applesauce instead of regular varieties.
This will help you cut down on added sugars without sacrificing taste or texture.
10 – Yacon syrup
Yacon syrup is a natural sweetener derived from the yacon root plant, native to South America.
It has a mild molasses-like flavor and contains prebiotic fiber which helps promote healthy digestion.
The syrup is also low on the glycemic index, making it an ideal alternative for those looking to avoid refined sugars.
Yacon syrup can be used in place of honey or maple syrup in baking recipes, as well as drizzled over pancakes or waffles. It can even be added to smoothies or oatmeal for a hint of sweetness without any extra calories.
Its unique flavor pairs especially well with fruits like apples and pears, allowing you to make delicious desserts without relying on processed sugar.
11 – Molasses
Molasses is a dark, thick syrup that’s made from the byproduct of sugarcane processing.
It has a deep, rich flavor with hints of caramel and toffee.
Molasses is an excellent substitute for refined sugar in recipes as it provides more nutrients than regular table sugar.
It contains minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium which can help boost energy levels and support healthy digestion.
Molasses also has a lower glycemic index than white sugar so it won’t cause blood sugar spikes or crashes.
When substituting molasses for refined sugar in baking recipes, you may need to adjust the amount used as molasses is much sweeter than white sugar.
You may also need to reduce liquids or add extra baking soda to ensure your baked goods rise properly.
Refined sugar is not the healthiest option and can lead to a range of health problems.
Fortunately, there are plenty of healthier alternatives to refined sugar that can provide a sweet flavor without all the unhealthy side effects.
From natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup to stevia and monk fruit extract, there’s something for everyone. In this article, we discussed 11 of the best substitutes for refined sugar so you can make healthier choices in your kitchen.
Each of these alternatives has its own unique flavor and health benefits, so you can find the perfect substitute for your needs.
Whether you are trying to reduce your sugar intake or just want to try something new, these 11 substitutes for refined sugar are a great place to start!
The 11 Best Substitutes For Refined Sugar
- Maple Syrup
- Coconut Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Monk fruit sweetener
- Yacon syrup
- Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
- Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.