How To Avoid Refined Sugars: The Natural Alternatives

Coconut tree

Avoiding refined sugars doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems. There’s a whole world of alternatives out there, the kind that will support your health rather than damage it. Here are a few personal favourites…

Date syrup: otherwise known as date honey, this is a fruit syrup extracted from dates and is widely used in the Middle East. It has antibacterial properties similar to Manuka honey and because of its production process it retains its nutrients and is slowly absorbed into the body rather than giving you a huge spike of sugar and therefore insulin.    

Coconut palm sugar: also called coconut nectar and gaining popularity, coconut palm sugar is a sugar substitute that’s made of the sap extracted from the coconut tree. It tastes similar to brown sugar, has a low glycemic index and can be used in cooking and drinks just like the refined stuff.

Maple syrup: best known as the stuff to pour on your pancakes, maple syrup from the sap of the sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees also has a low glycemic index and can be used similarly to honey.

Stevia: relatively new to the UK, but used around the world for more than 1500 years, Stevia comes from the leaf of the Stevia plant and originated in South America where it was originally used to sweeten tea. It is very sweet, but does taste different to sugar so will take a little getting used to. Just keep an eye out for the green or brownish varieties; if it looks like a white powder then it has been tampered with too much.


  1. what about raw honey?

    • Hi Joy, raw honey has a slightly high GI but fine in moderation.

  2. Great post, I have recently cut sugar down to 1 teaspoon in my coffee per day only but am about to cut it completely. I have found a great alternative too and thanks for these suggestions. Although I will admit that so far I have only heard bad things about stevia, it’s been around in Aus for a while now 🙂

    • As long as you don’t buy the white powdered stuff, you’ll be fine. Stevia should be brown/green powder or liquid stevia.

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