Natural syrups are sugar substitutes made from fruits, plants, or vegetables. Over the years, natural syrups have become a staple in households in the United States and worldwide.
Is natural syrup healthy? As people continue to explore new ways to lead healthier lifestyles and experiment with food and drinks, natural syrups are becoming even more popular as healthier sweetener alternatives.
Common Types of Natural Syrups
While it may look like there's only one syrup that has to be used for everything, some of the best naturally sweetened syrups can be used in many different ways:
Agave syrup comes from the agave plant, a succulent that grows in dry regions of Mexico. It contains fructose, glucose, water, small carbohydrates, fat, polyols, and vitamins.
Agave syrup is not as sweet as sugar and has a lower glycemic index. Its texture is similar to honey, although it is a bit thinner. This natural syrup is easily dissolvable and often used in cocktails, smoothies, or as a replacement for golden syrup.
Maple syrup is a natural sweetener that comes from maple tree sap. It is high in antioxidants that can reduce the damage caused by free radicals, inflammation, and various chronic diseases.
Though usually enjoyed on breakfast foods like pancakes, maple syrup can also enhance the sweetness of desserts, be added in a glaze or sauces for cooked dishes, or be used to create savory dishes.
Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup is derived from brown sugar and has become a popular choice for those looking for a plant-based alternative to refined sugar. It is also vegan and gluten-free.
Brown rice syrup is an ideal ingredient to use as a replacement for high-fructose corn syrup. Unlike high-fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup contains only glucose instead of fructose; you can find brown rice syrup in organic and healthy food products.
Coconut Palm Syrup
Coconut palm syrup comes from the nectar of coconut palm flowers. It has up to 79% sucrose concentration, with only 3% to 9% each of fructose and glucose.
This syrup contains inulin, a soluble fiber that lowers the risk of blood sugar spikes. You can use coconut palm syrup as a substitute for regular sugar in different recipes, from cakes to sauces and coffee.
Honey Date Syrup
Date syrup is a sugar alternative that is not as sweet as honey and maple syrup and has a caramel-like flavor with hints of vanilla.
This natural syrup has the right balance of fructose and glucose and contains fiber that helps regulate blood sugar better than other sweeteners. It also has an anti-bacterial effect due to its phenol concentration.
Uses of Natural Syrup
Baking with natural syrups are a great way to reduce the amount of sugar in your recipes while still enjoying sweet flavors.
Using syrups when baking will add moisture to your finished product–you can play around with different natural syrups to create distinctive tastes.
For example, replace the honey in a recipe with maple syrup or mix agave and brown rice syrups to replace refined sugar.
Glazes and Sauces
When replacing regular sweeteners with natural syrup, the ratio is usually one-to-one, but you can adjust the proportions to get the intensity you prefer.
It's easier to use syrups when making sauces and marinades than when baking; you can use syrups to make a glaze or basting sauce for your favorite dishes. For example, you can mix honey date syrup, Dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar for a sweet and tangy sauce for chicken or pork.
Natural syrups work better than refined sugar when creating drinks because of their liquid form. You can mix the syrup into the glass or drizzle it on the drink. Try blending fresh berries, yogurt, and natural syrup to create a sweet and healthy smoothie, or create margaritas by mixing tequila, lime juice, and agave syrup.
You can also buy naturally sweetened, flavored syrups for your drinks easily on the market. Skinny Mixes, for example, has a wide range of syrup selections for your coffee, dessert, and cocktail needs, allowing you to enjoy all the sweetness you crave with natural ingredients and zero sugar!
With the different types of natural syrups available, you can always experiment to find new ways to use them. You can try using them in baking, dipping sauces, drinks, and toppings–Skinny Mixes has you covered with any flavor you can think of to add natural syrup sweetness to anything you’d like, guilt-free.