No, you’re not just seeing things! It’s now a reality that more and more foods at your local market are labeled “natural”. That’s because food producers are giving us more of we’re telling them we want.  According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, 73% of shoppers seek out labels with this “natural” term.

So now that a majority of the public is saying that artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup are out — a whole set of foods that have always been available to us as natural alternatives are coming back into the limelight.

Here’s Five Natural Alternatives To Sugar: 

Maple Syrup: While maple syrup does contain small amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants per serving, it does pack a solid amount of magnesium — a mineral that helps produce collagen and promote skin and bone health.

Honey: Offers a number of other health benefits. This natural sweetener has been shown to possess small amounts of nutrients, antioxidants, and antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Date Sugar: While whole dates are a good source of several key nutrients, including potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, B vitamins, vitamin K, and antioxidants… however, the nutrient amounts in a teaspoon of date sugar are minimal. But, it’s still more nutritious for you than white table sugar!

Coconut Sugar: Does provide small amounts of nutrients, including thiamin, iron, copper, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, and antioxidants. This sweetener also contains inulin, a naturally-occurring, indigestible carbohydrate that acts as a prebiotic, or “food” for beneficial gut bacteria.

Blackstrap Molasses: The sweetener retains some of the nutrients naturally found in sugar cane, including potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, copper, selenium, and manganese. The rich, intense flavor and aroma of blackstrap molasses can narrow its use, but it can be used as a sweetener in coffee and tea recipes, gingerbread cookies, energy balls, overnight oats, pumpkin pie and pumpkin smoothies, baked beans, and yam dishes.

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