If you’re seeking healthier options and alternatives for refined sugars, sweeteners, and high fructose corn syrup, you might want to check out the expanding market of natural and vegan sweeteners. With veganism getting a lot of attention on a global scale compared to past years, people have been more conscious of their food choices and preferences and how their consumption habits might impact their health. Vegans shun meat, dairy, and anything refined and processed. They prefer to consume food products that are mainly plant-based and free of animal products. This kind of disciplined lifestyle can be quite difficult for most of us to get into, but we can learn a thing or two from them and that is using a vegan sweetener.
What Are Vegan Sweeteners?
Vegan sweeteners are a healthier alternative for refined sugars and sweeteners. Since vegan diet emphasizes healthy, non-refined, organic food options, sugar substitutes that are sourced from plants are generally preferred. This lifestyle limits the number of choices available to vegans when it comes to sweetening their food, but there are natural sweeteners for them to choose from. These are typically used when making vegan dishes like vegan muffins, cakes, beverages, desserts, and other treats.
Vegan Sweeteners to Choose From
1. Dates/ Date Paste/ Date Syrup
This vegan sweetener has been dubbed as one of the best sweeteners for vegans to use in their cooking and include in their diet. Dates have been known to be chock-full of vitamins as well as antioxidants. It is also rich in dietary fiber and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Its versatility and multitude of applications makes it a favourite among vegans.
2. Maple Syrup
Unlike high fructose corn syrups which have been refined to produce that sickly-sweet taste, maple syrup is a natural sweetener derived from the sap of the maple tree. Most of the world’s maple syrup is produced in Quebec. The colour of the syrup depends on the quality of the sap when harvested, and these are categorised according to their colour. Maple syrup is healthier than refined sugar due to the presence of minerals and antioxidants in it. It is rich in manganese and contains potassium, zinc, calcium, and iron.
A natural sweetener found and derived from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana; Stevia has been a popular alternative for refined sugar due to it being extremely low in calories. The powdered leaves of Stevia taste about 10 to 15 times sweeter than granulated sugar, while the refined extracts are 300 times sweeter than sugar. A pinch of powdered Stevia leaves goes a long way and refined Stevia extracts must be diluted first before it is used in cooking.
Why Should You Switch to Vegan Sweeteners?
Too much sugar in food and drinks has been a major cause of obesity in not only adults but also kids as young as 7 years old. While the amount of sugar found in food and drinks is certainly a factor, opting for homemade dishes made with organic ingredients is already a step in the right direction. If left unchecked, too much sugar also leads to further complications and health problems. Vegan sweeteners are a better and healthier alternative which can lead to you making healthier food choices.
It certainly is a lifestyle decision whether you will switch to vegan sweeteners for your daily meals. Be sure to check with your nutritionist in case you have any complications or allergic reactions with some of these vegan sweeteners before you do.