Keeping a check on the amount of sugar you’re eating is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. And if you are taking care of a senior, you should ensure they eat something sweet but without much sugar.
Reducing sugar intake will keep at bay some sicknesses like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Too much sugar is also associated with cognitive impairment, increased risk of dementia, and affects memory. Fortunately, there are many natural sugar alternatives that you can incorporate into your diet, especially for seniors.
Since there are many sugar substitutes in the market today, it may be hard to pick the right one. Here are some of the factors to consider before spending on healthier natural sweeteners.
Reasons for cutting down on sugar
Understand why you want to reduce sugar intake. For instance, if it’s because you have diabetes or you are a caregiver to a senior who has diabetes, artificial sweeteners like xylitol should be on your list but consumed moderately.
Know different sugar substitutes
There are four categories of sugar alternatives, and each has its pros and cons depending on what you want to achieve. These four categories include natural sweeteners, sugar alcohols, novel sweeteners, and artificial sweeteners.
Stevia is a novel sweetener extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant. It is much sweeter than sugar, so you don’t need to use much quantity. It is also low in calories, making it the best alternative for a senior living with diabetes. Apart from lowering blood sugar, Stevia is known to reduce insulin levels and blood pressure.
You can choose Stevia in the form of liquid or powder, but the first experiment to find out which suits you best.
Honey is a commonly known natural sweetener that contains minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. However, just like sugar, honey may have some potential health risks as it contains many calories. Put less honey in your coffee or tea since it’s sweeter than sugar to get your suitable taste.
Note that honey contains water, so you may want to reduce other liquids when using honey in baking.
Coconut sugar is a natural sweetener extracted from coconut palm sap. Since it is unrefined, it contains vitamins and some nutrients like zinc, potassium, calcium, and antioxidants. However, coconut sugar is high in calories per serving, just like regular sugar.
If you are looking to cut down weight, then limit intake of coconut sugar. It contains a high level of fructose and carbohydrates.
Monk Fruit Sweetener
Monk fruit extract is a natural and healthier alternative, especially for seniors living with diabetes. If you are looking for an alternative with zero calories and more than 100 times sweeter than sugar, then Monk fruit extract is the best choice.
Apart from being a natural sweetener, dates contain minerals, vitamins, and fiber that have more health benefits, especially for seniors living with any medical condition. Date paste is also easy to make at home using a blender. Add 1 cup warm pitted dates, 3/4 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
A good retirement community has professionals who understand the right sugar alternatives for seniors living there. Schedule a tour to Golden Pond retirement community today and enjoy an environment that nurtures your body, mind, and spirit.