If you’ve got a sweet tooth but you also like to stick to a more natural diet, there are lots of yummy syrups which contain naturally occurring sweeteners.
Regular sugar can be easily swapped for any of these natural products which importantly don’t contain refined sugar. Sweet!
Are these natural syrups healthier than regular sugar?
There are lots of different naturally occurring syrups available on the market and each one has different nutritional properties.
Syrups which are naturally occurring often contain natural sugars rather than refined sugars (which themselves have very little nutritional value).
Eating an excessive amount of refined sugars can lead to a number of health problems, so it is important to try to swap to more natural sugars whenever possible.
Some agave nectars, are in fact, higher in calories than regular sugar. However, their taste is also a lot sweeter and so you therefore don’t need to use as much to get the same sweet taste.
Agave nectar is also fat free. It has a 76% fructose level and since the body absorbs it slowly, without needing vast amounts of insulin to break it down, using agave nectar instead of refined sugar can also help to control blood sugar levels.
As well as dark agave nectar which has a maple syrup-like flavour. Which one you choose depends on which flavour you prefer.
Inulin syrup is a plant based honey alternative which is comprised 60% fibre. Which means that you get 25% of your recommended daily allowance of fibre in just one tasty serving.
The World Health Organisation recommends that consuming 30g of fibre per day can really help to improve your health.
Eating foods containing lots of fibre can also helps to support a healthy digestive system, as well as supporting the gut microbiome.
What can syrups be used for?
Syrups can be used in a number of different snacks, drinks and recipes as a sweetener.
Most syrups can be directly substituted for honey or regular sugar, wherever it would be used in cooking or baking.
Maple syrup and agave syrups can be used straight out of the bottle as a delicious topping for pancakes, waffles or French toast, for a sweet and tasty breakfast or brunch.
Organic maple syrup or pure maple syrup can also be used when frying vegetables, to give an extra dimension of sweet flavouring to your dish.
Agave syrup dissolves very quickly and can therefore be especially useful in cold drinks such iced tea as well as in cocktails like margaritas – just add lime and tequila!
It can also be used in place of sugar in hot drinks or as a sweet flavouring for lattes. You can spread it on toast for a yummy breakfast as well as use it in desserts such as ice cream and smoothies. Alternatively, try using it in baking as a straight substitute for honey.
Date syrup is a natural sweetener made from organically grown dates and can also be used in sweet dishes and baking.
Plant-based inulin syrup can be added to drinks, drizzled over cereal, stirred into overnight oats or used in cooking.
Inulin syrup can help enrich the fibre content of soups, sauces and seasonings. It can also be used in white sauces such as homemade mayonnaise and carbonara. It’s also available in chocolate flavour for even more sweetness!
Molasses, or black treacle as it is sometimes known, is made from raw sugar cane and often used in baked products such as pies and of course, gingerbread.
Molasses pair well with cinnamon, dried fruits and nuts. It is particularly sticky too, which makes it a great binder, perfect for baking biscuits or cookies.
Ginger syrup is made from fresh syrup and great for both sweet and savoury dishes.
It can be drizzled over fruit salad or used as a topping for ice cream sundaes and cakes.
It is also perfect for adding flavour to oatmeal. Ginger syrup makes a great accompaniment to Sunday lunch since it can be used to glaze chicken, carrots and sweet potatoes.
At Holland & Barrett we have a delicious range of syrups - ideal for adding a touch of natural sweetness to your dishes either during breakfast or adding them to the frying pan to your vegetables for dinner. We also provide syrups to support with fasting, whether that be for weight loss, cleansing or long term health benefits.