(NaturalNews) With health fears over reports resulting from consuming artificial sweeteners, most people looking for a zero calorie sugar substitute have been left wanting -- until now. It's not that safe, natural, low-calorie sugar substitutes were unavailable, just that the public doesn't know much about them. There are actually several delicious natural sugar substitutes that can take the place of any artificial sweetener -- even in baking -- and one surprise that makes them all taste even better. And the best part is most have no worrisome side effects.
Stevia is the darling of the zero-calorie sugar substitutes, with good reason. It's totally natural, plant based, has no calories at all, 40 times sweeter than sugar, won't cause spikes in blood sugar levels and has no discernible side effects. Stevia caught on slowly due to initially having a bitter aftertaste; however, manufacturers of stevia products have started using the sweeter parts of the stevia plant to reduce the bitterness, making it more palatable. Because stevia is so much sweeter than sugar, it's difficult to use in baking. Stevia has not been approved by the FDA at the time of this article, due mainly to the strong lobbying efforts to keep it off the market by the American sugar corporations.
Xylitol is found naturally in certain fruits, vegetables, and corn cobs and is also a byproduct of animal metabolism. It's been reported that it may help strengthen the immune system and slow aging. Additionally, it contains antibacterial properties and is approved by the FDA. Xylitol has 9 calories per teaspoon and can be used in cooking and baking -- but please use non-GMO products. Substitute it for half the amount of sugar called for in a recipe. It protects against the formation of dental cavities, because the bacteria in the mouth do not form acids that attack tooth enamel like they do in combination with refined sugar. Because it will not cause fermentation, xylitol helps fight candida, preventing yeast infections. The one down side of eating xylitol is that too much can cause gas, diarrhea and bloating.
Luo Han Guo
Luo Han Guo is a sweet fruit found in China whose extract is used as a sugar substitute. Momordica grosvenori, the fruit yielding Luo han guo extract is a type of cucumber squash. The sweetening agents are called mogrosides and are available in powder form, which are about 250% sweeter than sugar. The product is stable and can be used in cooking and baking. One half teaspoon of Luo han guo has the equivalent sweetness of 25 teaspoons of sugar and less than 1 calorie. It has been used medicinally in China for hundreds of years to ease gastrointestinal ailments and respiratory conditions. It helps stabilize blood sugar and it has no known side effects.
Not a natural sugar substitute, but a natural flavor enhancer, salt is recommended by Alton Brown of the Food Network as a complement to sweet foods. Used in moderation, a sprinkle of salt brings out the sweetness or any natural sweetener or sugar substitute; and, salt removes any bitterness that may linger in foods.
JB Bardot is an herbalist and a classical homeopath, and has a post graduate degree in holistic nutrition. Bardot cares for both people and animals, using alternative approaches to health care and lifestyle. She writes about wellness, green living, alternative medicine, holistic nutrition, homeopathy, herbs and naturopathic medicine. You can find her at The JB Bardot Archives at www.jbbardot.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jbbardot23 or on Twitter at jbbardot23 or https://twitter.com/jbbardot23