Healthier alternatives to refined sugar

When it comes to health and diet, one topic is definitely taking over the news and that’s SUGAR.

So here is a short and sweet (pun intended) blog post on the truth on sugar and some healthier alternatives!

First, let’s get some facts straight- not all sugar is created equal. The type of sugar you choose can have different effects on your body. Added sugar, meaning the type that doesn’t naturally occur in foods, can be harmful. Table sugar or regular white sugar provides energy with no added benefit- no vitamins or minerals-we call that “empty” calories. It is also linked to various diseases such as obesity, diabetes, fatty liver to name a few.  The good news is there are healthier alternatives to choose from. Ditch the refined sugar and satisfy your craving the natural way!

Here are my top 5 alternatives to refined table sugar:


Provide tons of benefits, including better digestion and stronger muscles. They are rich in vitamins, iron and are a great source of natural sweetness. Because of their fiber content, they help release sugar slowly in the blood and that is a great thing! Dates are super sticky which makes them perfect to use in raw desserts. You can buy date paste or just blend some at home.


A whole grain sweetener derived from brown rice. It’s also the only unrefined sweetener that is fructose free which is a great thing as fructose (a type of sugar) is what is harmful!  It’s very thick and sticky, making it ideal for specific kinds of desserts, like home-made ice-cream or energy balls!


I’m talking the PURE all-natural maple syrup. It contains antioxidants and minerals and can add benefits to your diet when used to replace sugar. Maple syrup has a rich flavor and is very versatile for all dessert recipes.


My favorite powdered unrefined sugar alternative! It gives a great caramelized taste to baked desserts, especially ones that don’t need to be light in color ☺. Contains iron and zinc and a pro-biotic fiber called inulin, which helps slow the absorption of sugar and it’s also good for the gut!


I mean raw honey, not commercial honey. It is high in antioxidants, rich in nutrients, linked to heart health and more. If you follow a completely vegan diet then honey isn’t for you. I put honey on this list because it is an unrefined, natural alternative to table sugar and it tastes great over oatmeal, porridge or in your tea!

This isn’t an invitation to have more of these alternatives – they still contain calories - but just a way to make healthier choices!


Zeina is a nutritionist who loves to create and share easy, super-nourishing, mostly plant-based recipes. Zenia is a regular at BEAT Fitness and you can follow Zeina's insta feed for inspiration @upcloseandhealthy 

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