The struggle to lose belly fat is real. The area around the stomach gains weight quickly but losing it is the most difficult. The fat stored here can come from a variety of high-fat foods, sugar being one of them. High consumption of sugar has been linked to bulging stomachs by many studies. The author of one such research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology says, "When we consume excessive sugar, it gets converted into fat and gets stored around the heart and abdomen. Another problem is that this fat tissue releases chemicals into the body which can be harmful to our health."
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While it's clear that we should avoid sugar to maintain optimal weight and get rid of belly fat, our target should be only refined sugar. Natural sugars like fructose are required by our body to stay energetic and healthy. So, the aim should be to avoid refined sugar and consume healthier natural sugars, that too in moderation.
What is the healthiest alternative to sugar?
There is no one answer to that. If you look around, you'll find many naturally sweet foods that can be consumed in place of sugar. In fact, you can find most of them already present in your kitchen pantry.
What Can You Replace Sugar With? Here're 5 Natural Substitutes For Sugar:
1. Raw Honey
Nutritionist Ekta Sood claims that raw honey is an excellent substitute for sugar but one should limit its consumption. She further shares that honey contains a high level of fructose, which makes it sweeter than sugar. Hence, a lesser amount of honey is required to sweeten our foods and drinks. Honey is also rich in antioxidants and possesses antibacterial properties, making it a healthy food.
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Jaggery is the unrefined version of sugar obtained from sugarcane. It is loaded with antioxidants that help build our immunity. Jaggery also facilitates easy digestion, that's why, it is commonly used in winter after a heavy meal. You can add jaggery in small quantities to your meal and avoid sugar.
3. Coconut Sugar
Nutritionist Nmami Agarwal endorses this food as a great substitute for refined sugar. It is extracted from the flower buds of the coconut palm tree. It is low in fructose and GI index but has a mild caramel taste, which makes it a healthy sweet addition to your diet.
Dates are one of the sweetest fruits that are used in culinary space because of their binding properties. The fruit helps in making great cakes, cookies and granola bars, and lends its natural sweetness to them. To top it all, it provides antioxidants for immunity and lots of fibre for good digestion. One common way to use dates as a sugar substitute is by turning it into sugar. Dehydrated dates are grounded to convert them into granules called date sugar.
5. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is also unrefined and can be used in place of sugar. This food is so versatile that it can be used for both sweet and savoury dishes. Add it to your pancakes and smoothies or dress up your salads and salmon.
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Enjoy healthy diet sans refined sugar and see your belly fat melting away, with time.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
About Neha GroverLove for reading roused her writing instincts. Neha is guilty of having a deep-set fixation with anything caffeinated. When she is not pouring out her nest of thoughts onto the screen, you can see her reading while sipping on coffee.