Sugar can be addictive, can lead to obesity, and is even suspected of increasing the risk of cancer and leading to diabetes.
IOL Lifestyle spoke to dietitian Nhluvuko Ngobeni to get some advice on how you can avoid consuming too much sugar.
Here are some of the sugar substitutes recommended by him:
Honey is a natural product which contains a lot of valuable nutrients and is considered one of the oldest sweeteners in the world. It is produced by bees collecting flower nectar, breaking it down into simple sugars and then storing it in honeycombs. Honey has long been used as a healing agent in natural medicine because it has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol which is used as a sugar substitute and better known as birch sugar. Xylitol is a natural constituent of vegetables and fruits (e.g. cauliflower, berries and plums). Xylitol has about 40% fewer calories than refined sugar, does not cause blood sugar levels to rise as steeply after eating and does not cause cavities.
Steviol glycoside is a sugar substitute. Stevia has no calories and does not damage the teeth. It also has no effect on the blood sugar level, so stevia is safe for use by diabetics.
This sugar substitute is made from the nectar of the flower buds of the coconut palm. Its taste is similar to caramel. Coconut sugar is said to contain many vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, iron and zinc.