Suffering from diabetes and controlling the urge to intake sugar can be tough. But it is very important to keep a tab on your carbohydrates and sugars under control. Now that you have to monitor your food intake and cut down your sugar, then one thing you can do is look for a brown sugar substitute. Here, we will give you some of the best alternatives that you can use instead of brown sugar.
Role of Brown Sugar in Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease when the blood sugar level in your blood crosses a certain limit. Glucose or sugar in your blood is the main source of energy in the body. And this comes from the food we intake. The insulin, secreted by the pancreas, helps to break down the food and incorporates them into the blood. When the body does not produce enough enzymes, the sugar remains in the body, thus increasing the blood sugar level, followed by causing diabetes.
It’s a myth that brown sugar is healthy for diabetic people. Though it’s not completely wrong, let’s clear some misconceptions.
A brown sugar substitute for people with diabetes is comparatively healthier than normal white sugar, as it serves fewer calories and carbs, but in terms of vitamins and nutrients, both of the sugars are the same. Brown sugar and white sugar both increase the blood sugar levels as they score 65 on the Glycemic Index. So, for a diabetic patient, both of them are of no use. So, what they can use? There are several alternatives to use in your foods, which add sweetness as well as healthy.
What is Brown Sugar?
Brown sugar is a brown colored sucrose product, serving sweetness to your food. The specific brown color of the sucrose is due to the presence of molasses. The brown color of the sugar varies due to the percentage of brown sugar substitute molasses in the total volume of the sugar. There are mainly two types of brown sugars; which are
- Light brown sugar with 3.5% molasses
- Dark brown sugar with 6.5% molasses
In most of the cases, sugarcane molasses is used for adding sweetness to your food, whereas it’s widely famous function is as a sugar component. Molasses is popular in the food industry due to its stronger flavor than the brown sugar substitute maple syrup.
What are the brown sugar alternatives?
Some of the best brown sugar substitutes are coconut sugar, honey, raw sugars, muscovado sugar, and many more.
In this article, we will briefly discuss the alternative solutions of brown sugars. They are:
Source: natural resources from plant
The glycosides extracted from the leaf of the Stevia rebaudiana are 200 times sweeter than our normal brown sugar. The sweeteners made with Stevia are often called novel sweeteners as it is the mixture of Erythritol and dextrose, which are sugar alcohol and glucose, respectively.
Stevia is a nonnutritive sweetener, making it devoid of any calories. So, for diabetic patients, Stevia will be a great deal to lower the blood sugar level as well as adding sweetness to your foods.
Not only just that, but if you have diabetes and suffering from excessive weight, then Stevia is the best available brown sugar substitute, as they lower the bad cholesterol and triglycerides with no negative effects. It has properties to increase the good cholesterol as well. These features will help you to keep your weight in check.
Source: artificial sweetener
Splenda is made up of the artificial sweetener sucralose. Sucralose is made up of a multistep chemical process. So, it contains 3.3 calories, making it a calorie-free product. It is almost 600 times sweeter than our regular brown sugar.
Due to the presence of low calorie, it offers an ideal deal to type 2 diabetic patients. It does not affect blood sugar, keeping the blood sugar in check.
On top of that, Splenda passes through the body with minimal absorption. Due to its sweet yet zero-calorie features, it has become one of the best brown sugar substitutes throughout the world.
This sugar alternative is reported to have no side-effects other than gastrointestinal symptoms. But they are due to the excessive use of other sugar alcohols, such as xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol, etc. along with Splenda.
Source: artificial sweetener
Saccharin is an artificial sweetener, which is 300 to 400 times sweeter than our regular table sugar. It was the oldest artificial sweetener.
Even though there is a popular myth that artificial sugars may cause your diabetes, but it is not at all true. Instead, saccharin is helpful in diabetes as well as in other fields too. Saccharin changes the activity of the bacteria in the gut and helps the foods to get digested easily.
Saccharin is one of the best brown sugar substitutes without molasses. Even if you are still in fear, then let’s make it clear that saccharin is now FDA approved.
Source: artificial sweetener
Aspartame is a low-calorie FDA approved artificial sweetener. The low calorie of aspartame is helpful for the diabetic people, as it delivers less sugar in your blood, thus, maintaining the blood sugar.
As a diabetic patient, it is tough to find a good substitute for brown sugar in cooking as well as in any other food.
Aspartame is a white, odorless crystalline molecule with two amino acids; L-aspartic acids and L-phenylalanine. It gets easily digested in the gastrointestinal tract and it has a Glycemic index of zero, thus making it count as a zero carbohydrate product for diabetes.
Source: natural occurrence in some fruit
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol sweetener with less than one calorie per gram. But it’s okay as it does not have any big effects on blood sugar level. Erythritol can occur in some of the fruits naturally with a sugar replacement beneficial feature.
Most of the sugar alcohols tend to generate problems regarding tummy if they are not consumed properly. But, Erythritol is a good choice if you suffer from tummy problems, as it is less likely to produce gas, bloating, and diarrhea; due to the fermentation by the bacteria in the gut. This is because only 10% of the consumed Erythritol gets into the colon and the rest leaves your body through urine. These features and working mechanisms of Erythritol makes it ideal for the brown sugar substitute for people with diabetes.
6. Sugar Alcohols
Sugar alcohols are natural sweeteners, also known as polyols. These are derived from natural plant products, mainly fruits, and berries. The natural occurrence along with very few calories, making them ideal as a brown sugar substitute.
Sugar alcohols are very good for diabetic patients for their metabolic mechanisms. They are converted to glucose very slowly. So they require very less amount of insulin or no insulin at all. On top of that, due to its natural occurrence, people prefer it without any conditions, and it has become so common that we consume it daily without our knowledge. So, we can say that sugar alcohol is a very healthy brown sugar substitute for diabetic people as well as some normal people.
7. Monk Fruit Sweetener
Source: natural occurrence
Monk fruit’s sweetener is pulled out from monk fruit, which is also popular as Luo Han Guo or the ‘Buddha Fruit”. The ancient people of Southeast Asia were using this monk fruit for treating diseases. Even though it’s wide uses, it was not FDA approved until 2010.
It is good for diabetic people because of its natural sugars, fructose, and glucose. The sweetener is extracted by taking away the seeds and the crust of the monk fruit.
Unlike other natural fruits and sources of sweetener, the sweetener of monk fruit is not dependable on the normal sugars. The sweetness is due to the antioxidant popular as mogrosides.
During the processing of the extract, the mogrosides are divided from the fructose and glucose. So it is sugar-free. Thus, it is very good for diabetic people in controlling blood sugar levels, which makes it an ideal brown sugar substitute.
Source: natural occurrence in fruits
Allulose is a natural sweetener, found in a very low amount in wheat, raisins, dried figs, brown sugars, and molasses. It is also known as D-allulose and D-psicose. Allulose is a low-calorie sweetener with 70% sweetness of the sucrose. The FDA says that allulose gives 0.4 calories per gram consumption. This percentage is very less compared to 4% of sugar. So allulose has become a popular keto brown sugar substitute among the people.
As per scientific reports, allulose has effective roles in managing type-2 diabetes and obesity by controlling glucose levels and insulin resistance.
Allulose has a significant role in controlling cholesterol and body fat percentages.
Source: natural production
Honey is a naturally produced sweet substance produced by the bees. Bees produce honey by collecting nectars from the flowers and their pollens, followed by mixing them with their saliva. As it is produced from natural products with no artificial products, it can be a food choice for brown sugar substitution. Honey is much sweeter than any other regular table sugar. And the antioxidants present in honey are very effective in cutting down the sugar intake, as you get your optimum sweetness with very less amount of honey.
The antioxidants present in honey helps to boost the overall health of a person, such as immune to cough and cold.
Not only that, honey has properties to control obesity. Most of the people throughout the world use honey in their diet to tackle the sugar intake and body fat percentages.
The polyphenols in the honey play a significant role in keeping the diseases at bay. The polyphenols are super effective in handling cancer and heart diseases. So, as a brown sugar substitute, honey is very efficient in this field.
As honey can be consumed with very less amount with the same sugar taste, diabetic patients can opt for honey as a brown sugar substitute.
10. Coconut Sugar
Source: natural resources from plant
Coconut sugar is made from the coconut palm sap, which is stored in the coconut fruit. The liquid sap is heated until the entire water is evaporated. The left out portion is a brown colored substance, which is called coconut sugar. The coconut sugar is similar to the color of the normal raw sugar.
Most of the people replace the normal sugar with coconut sugar, as normal sugar lacks any vitamins or nutrients, other than excessive calorie. But, coconut sugar contains various types of antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients, which all together boost your immunity and overall health. These beneficial effects of coconut sugar make it a good brown sugar substitute.
They are not a good alternative for diabetic patients. But due to its overall nutrients and fibers, it makes it good for the preliminary diabetic patients.
By going through all the probable brown sugar substitutes, we can say that Stevia and Splenda are the best choices for severe diabetic patients. The antioxidants and low amount of calorie and body fats make them ideal for the people who have diabetes as well as obesity.
For those diabetic patients who are willing to stick to natural sources, such as fruits and vegetables, they can opt for Erythritol, sugar alcohols, and monk fruit sweeteners. These will help them lessen up the blood sugar levels along with providing vitamins and nutrients to fight against other diseases.
Lastly, honey and coconut sugar can be used like brown sugar substitutes. It is best if you change your food habits along with immunizing your body with natural antioxidants and minerals.
So, these are a few best brown sugar substitutes for diabetic patients. Sugar has a very harmful effect on our bodies. Even if you are not suffering from any diseases or any other concerns, it’s better to cut down your sugar intake. Now, it’s tough to stay away from sugar for a long time. So, change your normal table sugar with any of the mentioned substitutes and keep all the health-related concerns away.