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5 Natural Sweeteners for Weight Loss

In this day and age we consumers are learning more and more about the detrimental effects that sugar has on our health, and waist line. Having a sweetener option other then sugar is just the answer many people are searching for!

Unfortunately many of the alternative sweeteners are man made chemicals containing suspect ingredients sorely lacking in long term scientific evidence that supports peace of mind as regards their benefits.

Each sugar alternative presents its own pros and cons and some are only appropriate when combating specific sugar related health issues. For instance, people with diabetes may need to be more restrictive in their sugar alternatives then those who would just rather not use processed sugar.
So we thought it might be a good idea to present some alternatives. Here's a list of 5 all-natural sweeteners to help you satisfy (and enjoy) your sweet tooth.

1.Raw Honey is often considered a super food because of its antioxidant, and anti-bacterial properties. Honey is an easy alternative to sugar because its sweetness is quite similar to sugars. Honey is also useful in many home remedies, from sore throats to athlete's foot. Honey still has a high Glycemic index similar to sugar though, so it may not be appropriate for diabetics.

2.Maple Syrup has far more healthy minerals in it than sugar because it is unprocessed (unprocessed is the key word) and offers minerals such as calcium, potassium, sodium, and copper. These are all minerals that our bodies require in small amounts, and small, appropriate amounts are what you generally find in natural foods. However, once again, maple syrup does have a fairly high Glycemic index, similar to sugar and honey.

3.Xylitol was most commonly used during WWII because of food shortages. It was found to be a good alternative to hard-to-come-by sugar. Currently the most common use of Xylitol is as a sweetener in gum because it is not associated with causing dental problems, such as cavities. It is used throughout the world in different applications, from a component of IV fluids, to a regular food sweetener. However, xylitol delivers a considerable amount of calories, 60% as much as regular sugar.

4.Agave Nectar is low on the Glycemic index, making it a good sugar alternative for diabetics. Some agave nectar is highly processed which results in it having an increased glycemic index, so it is important to do research when choosing your product. Agave is generally about 1.5 times sweeter than sugar, so you can use less of it. However, for the same weight of agave nectar and sugar, agave has more calories. So the result is that you can use less but it may end up adding the same number of calories to your daily diet. But, agave is considered a low glycemic index sugar alternative so it may be appropriate for diabetics.

5.Stevia really is the big winner. It can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, so it takes a little tinkering to get your individual preference right. But once you learn more about it and try it, you'll agree that in the category of all-natural sweeteners, this zero-calorie product is the clear superstar! It is easily used in baking and any other situation where sweetening is desired. Stevia is the perfect sugar alternative for diabetics because unlike maple syrup and honey, the Glycemic index and calorie content of stevia is virtually non-existent. We'd recommend this first and foremost every time. Stevia First Corp aims to make a big impact on stevia production in North America by drawing on its innovative technologies, advanced research, and a network of growers who cultivate stevia in one of the world's most productive agricultural regions, California's Central Valley.

No matter your reason for wanting a sugar alternative, you are bound to find something that fits your criteria. These alternatives address many of the general concerns that consumers have with sugar, so you will no doubt find one or a few that you'll want to try for yourself and your family!

Steve L Hall is a wellness enthusiast who believes in natural remedies rather than quick fixes for health. As a well versed writer she covers topics related to health and lifestyle. Recently an article published in MarketWatch about Stevia First Corp caught her attention.

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