Natural sweeteners are the best alternatives to regular sugar. Unlike artificial sweeteners, they do not have any significant side effects that are detrimental to the health of the body. They are particularly suitable for those who are seeking to lose some weight as well as diabetics. The most important thing about natural sweeteners is that most of them have a very low glycemic index, which means that they do not spike blood-sugar levels. In addition, they have much lower calorie levels than table sugar, and they do not cause tooth decay and cavities.
The top five low calorie natural sweeteners include:
Erythritol stands out as one of the best low-calorie natural sweeteners. It is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that is commonly found in fruits, such as pears, grapes, melon and cantaloupe. Not only does it have a 0 glycemic index, but it also has a very low calorie level, which stands at 0.2 calories per gram. Despite being low in calories, erythritol still tastes as sweet as regular sugar. Furthermore, it helps to maintain healthy blood-sugar levels, and it does not stimulate insulin response as it is digested directly into the bloodstream and excreted as urine.
Isomalt is a polyalcohol, or sugar alcohol, and it occurs naturally in beetroots. On the glycemic index, isomalt measures eight, and it has a low calorie level, which is two calories per gram. It is a disaccharide, which consists of two sugars, namely, glucose and mannitol. It is pleasantly sweet and mostly odorless. Furthermore, it does not crystallize as quickly as regular sugar, making it the preferred sweetener. Nevertheless, isomalt can cause stomach upsets when it is taken in large quantities. The recommended intake for adults is a maximum of 50 grams per day.
Xylitol is a polyalcohol that is derived from plants such as oats, mushrooms and beetroot as well as the bark of birch trees. It is one of the sweetest and most commonly used food additives, mainly because of its great health benefits. It is effective in lowering insulin levels, restoring hormonal balance and increasing bone density. In addition, it does not stimulate an increase in blood-sugar levels. Its calorie level stands at 2.5 calories per gram and it has a glycemic index of 13, and therefore, it is safe for consumption by most diabetics.
Sorbitol is a sugar substitute that can be found in fruits such as plums, cherries, peaches and berries. Unlike other sweeteners, sorbitol is often referred to as a natural nutritive sweetener, and it provides dietary energy of 2.6 calories per gram. As a natural sweetener, it is commonly used in diet drinks, ice cream, cough syrup, mints and sugar-free chewing gum.
Maltitol is another low-calorie sugar alcohol that naturally occurs in various fruits and vegetables. Interestingly, it is about 90% similar to table sugar, except that it has very low calorie levels. Commercially, maltitol is obtained by hydrogenation of maltose from starch. Its sweetness levels allow it to be used independently, without mixing with other sweeteners. Maltitol is ideal for ice creams, chewing gums, baked products and chocolate.
To achieve a fit and healthy body, it is important that you select sweeteners that are low in calories. FitDay.com can help you keep track of your calorie intake.