You start with a nice, refreshing glass of iced tea. Then, you skip the white sugar and add two Splendas for zero-calorie sweetness. Wait. Someone told you those increase sugar cravings, so you use raw sugar instead. Hold up. Someone else told you that raw sugar is still sugar so you go for agave. Oh, no. Agave syrup has a distinct taste and it has more calories than sugar! What’s going on here?!?!?!
If you’re looking for the truth about the sweeter things in life, we've done the work for you and are spilling our top three healthy (and legitimately tasty!) sugar replacements.
Here are our POUND Girls’ picks to tweak your sugar for a sweeter waistline!
1. STEVIA Made from the leaf of the Stevia plant, this sweetener is truly all-natural and beneficial to your health. It's zero-calorie and contains zero-sugar. Additionally, the pure version can be taken as a supplement to lower blood sugar, treat skin conditions and help strengthen hair and nails (For more on these uses – check out this WebMD article). It's our number one go-to for sweetening plain Greek Yogurt (add a squeeze of lime and you've got Key Lime Pie yogurt!), tea, coffee and salad dressing. Careful: it is way sweeter than sugar, so give it a taste-test first!
2. RAW AGAVE NECTAR Agave nectar is a syrup made from the agave plant. It’s delicious and has a substantially lower Glycemic Index than sugar, which means it absorbs slower, thus preventing those sugar cravings and crashes that come from spikes in blood sugar. It has a few more calories than regular cane sugar, so use sparingly in place of sugar in lemonades, syrups, dressings, and in baking recipes.
3. COCONUT SUGAR We feel Coconut Sugar (or Coconut Palm Sugar) is the best tasting sugar replacement with an extremely low glycemic index. It's the most similar to sugar in structure, so you can easily cook and bake with it as you would normal sugar. However, it still counts as sugary calories (just like agave) so use it sparingly!
Now that you know which sweeteners are legit, here's a refreshingly sweet, tangy tea and lemonade mashup we enjoy! Use stevia for the zero sugar version and agave for the still-better-than-regular-sugar version:
Jasmine Green Tea Lemonade
4 mini scoops Whole Foods 365 Stevia Extract Powder (scoop is in the bottle)
Juice of 2 Lemons
4 cups water
3 Jasmine tea bags
Steep the tea and add lemon juice and stevia while it’s still hot. Pour over ice and serve!
Don’t forget to share the sweetness!
AUTHOR: The Pound Girls
img source: food52.com