Being a sweet tooth is a struggle. Your teeth hate you but your brain loves you and your body might rebel against you if you eat too many sweet things. You love sugary stuff, but sugar is bad, honey bees are in danger, and you don’t know the alternatives. Well, here are the eco friendly alternatives you can try.
A lot of people substitute sugar with honey, since it’s the healthier choice of the two. But as you know, bees are getting scarce each day and so is honey. One thing you can do is find the alternatives of honey itself.
There’s a brand from Germany called Vegablum which has been developing and producing high-quality vegan alternatives to honey, mead and honey liqueur since 2015. They’ve got vegan organic honey called The Wonig that has similar texture and taste with real honey. And, their honey is available in many varieties.
Since it’s vegan, the honey is made from various plant and flower extracts, and you can use it just like real honey. You can use it for baking, cooking, sweetening stuff like your hot tea, making sauces or salads, and many more.
Vegablum sources their ingredients through fair trade and local farmers. Additionally, they use grass paper and vegan adhesives for the labels on the jars, which is very nice for the environment.
The Wonig’s product range includes honey in nettle, marigold, daisy, and dandelion. Not only flowers, there are also various flavours like cinnamon, mint, or mulled wine. Their products don’t contain palm oil, soya, and gluten.
If it makes you feel better about the company, Vegablum won an award In 2017. They won the “Vegan Innovation Award” in the category “Startup: Young, innovative & vegan” for their honey alternatives at the the vegan fair in Cologne.
Now, if The Wonig isn’t available around you, then you can find other alternatives. There are plant-based sweeteners (not honey) that are better than sugar. For example, there are sweeteners made from apples, dates, sweet potatoes, corn, and others. However, if you still want to stick with honey-like sweeteners, then you should try these alternatives.
1. Maple Syrup
In the USA and Canada, maple syrup is a bit of a kitchen essential and it’s a great substitute for honey. But, you need to be careful when you’re buying these because there are chemically-flavored corn syrup (which has high fructose and therefore isn’t better than sugar) instead of the real one.
Pure maple syrup mainly has two categories, Grade A and Grade B. Grade A is good for eating while Grade B is better for baking and cooking. In Grade A, there are three subcategories, which are light amber, medium amber, and dark amber.
Usually, you can get great quality maple syrup from Canada, but if it’s not available around you, just make sure that what you buy is indeed maple syrup instead of the fake, unhealthy ones.
This dark, sweet, substance is made by refining sugarcane or sugar beets into sugar. If you’re not familiar with molasses, then you should know that it is an excellent source of iron and calcium. And, like other plant syrups, molasses has several varieties and flavors. For example, barbados molasses is lighter and sweeter than blackstrap and you can eat it with a warm bowl of oatmeal.
3. Brown Rice Syrup
The thing about brown rice syrup is that it’s less sweet than honey. But if you’re trying to live a healthier life and take your sugar intake down a notch, then this alternative is great for you. You don’t need to treat it differently than honey and adjust the sweetness to your tastes.
4. Sorghum Syrup
When I saw the sorghum plant, I thought to myself that there’s no way this plant can produce something sweet, but I misjudged it. This syrup is about as sweet as honey and you can sub it in at a one-to-one ratio. Fun fact, because this plant is heat and drought tolerant, some energy companies use it to make biofuels.
5. Barley Malt Syrup
Similar to brown rice syrup, barley malt has a distinct taste, which is malty. It’s less sweet than honey as well but you can put it everywhere. You can have this syrup with granola, cereal bars, oatmeal, and cookies.
6. Agave Nectar
Derived from agave plant, you will probably find this sweetener in your favorite tequila cocktails. Now, agave nectar is not as thick and sticky as honey but it’s sweeter. There are a range of colors of this sweetener, from dark amber to light and each has its own distinct flavor. Dark agave has a caramel taste, while the lighter one resembles honey.
What you should know about agave nectar, though, it’s not exactly healthy (although it mimics honey perfectly). As mentioned before, it’s sweeter than honey, meaning that it has a higher percentage of fructose (85%) than both honey and sugar.
A bit about fructose and glucose
If you’re aiming to have a healthier life by reducing your sugar intake, then you should know about these two. Glucose is an important molecule and you can find it in many healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. Heck, our bodies produce it to make sure we have energy. Simply put, every living cell has glucose because it’s important to life.
Fructose is the worse one of the two. Because, unlike glucose which can be processed by every cell in your body, fructose can only be mobilized by your liver. Therefore, when you take a lot of fructose, your metabolic health can get pretty chaotic.
When there’s a lot of fructose, our liver gets overloaded and starts turning it into fat, which raises blood triglycerides. A lot of researchers believe that some of this fat can lodge in your liver and cause fatty liver disease.
Additionally, fructose can contribute to insulin resistance when you consume it in large amounts. Of course, this can cause major increases in long-term blood sugar and insulin levels, strongly raising your risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. High fructose intake can increase the levels of the bad kind of cholesterol as well. Researchers also believe that it may also cause belly fat accumulation.
So, which honey alternative that you think is best for you? Tell us in the comments.