Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

5 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Highly Processed Sugar

Want to gratify your sweet tooth but trying to avoid highly processed white sugar? Here are five eco-friendly alternatives to sugar, courtesy of the Sierra Club.

1. Stevia—Healthcare executive Jim May founded Wisdom Natural Brands in 1982 after a Peace Corps volunteer who'd worked in Paraguay convinced him to taste the leaves of an herb called stevia. The processed plant can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar but has no calories, carbohydrates or chemicals, and can be used potent natural alternative to artificial sweeteners. May sunk his life savings into starting a company that makes SweetLeaf Stevia. He instilled strict rules for sustainable practices: No chemicals, solvents or alcohols in extracting or purifying the plant; leaf residue becomes mulch or cattle feed; and water is recycled to irrigate local Guaraní farms.

The herb stevia can make a a natural zero-calorie sweetener. Photo credit: CivilEats.com

2. Pesticide-free honey—Zeke Freeman grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania, where his twin passions sprouted: producing artisanal food and caring for pollinators. "I was able to eat homegrown fruits and vegetables off the land," he says. "We won't have that if we lose the honeybees." After he founded Bee Raw, he started the Save the Bees fund to combat colony collapse disorder, which has wiped out millions of hives. The company's Single Varietal Honey is pesticide-free, of course, but also unprocessed, unfiltered and packaged in gift-worthy glass. Flavors include wild raspberry, star thistle, orange blossom and blueberry—each of which will last years if properly stored.

3. Organic Whole-Cane Sugar—How about a sweetener that retains its vitamins and minerals? The Organic Whole Cane Sugar from Rapunzel—a German company that's been all-organic since its 1974 launch—is made from canes harvested by hand (bypassing the typical burning of dry leaves) at fair-trade farms in Brazil, then processed so minimally that the plant's nutrients are preserved. The result: golden-colored, fine-textured granules, unbleached and unrefined, with a subtle molasses flavor that taste especially good in pastries, cookies and cakes. You can substitute it for regular white sugar in any recipe, cup for cup.

4. Organic Coconut Sugar—Coconut palm trees produce up to 75 percent more sugar per acre than cane fields do, and require just a fifth of the resources to crank out the same amount of sweetener. So it's obvious why Organic Coconut Sugar from Madhava, produced from those trees' flower buds, would be a sustainable choice. Further sweetening the deal, this product is unrefined, is verified by the Non-GMO Project, and maintains nutritional perks like amino acids, iron and zinc. Use it as you would any other sugar.

5. Sweet Dreams Organic Brown Rice Syrup from Lundberg Family Farms smells, feels and tastes like honey but has a nuttier undertone. If you're a vegan, this sticky stuff does the trick: Amie Valpone, a Manhattan nutritionist who runs the Healthy Apple blog, says, "I love the way it binds desserts without adding an animal source. I also love the taste and often choose it over other sweeteners when baking." You can stir it into coffee or tea or drizzle it atop ice cream or pancakes. Brown rice syrup is less sweet than sugar, so use 1¼ cup in place of 1 cup of sugar. Lundberg's organic rice isn't genetically modified and is grown without synthetic fertilizers.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A baby humpback whale tail slaps in the Pacific Ocean in front of the West Maui Mountains. share your experiences / Moment / Getty Images

The depths of the oceans are heating up more slowly than the surface and the air, but that will undergo a dramatic shift in the second half of the century, according to a new study. Researchers expect the rate of climate change in the deep parts of the oceans could accelerate to seven times their current rate after 2050, as The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
Opinions vary among healthcare providers and the conditions of their patients, as well as the infection rate in their communities and availability of personal protective equipment. Aekkarak Thongjiew / EyeEm Getty Images

By Joni Sweet

Should you skip your annual checkup? The answer would have been a resounding "no" if you asked most doctors before the pandemic.

But with the risk of COVID-19, the answer isn't so clear anymore.

Read More Show Less
People wait in a queue at a snack bar at Island H2O Live! water park in Kissimmee, Florida on May 23 as the attraction reopens for Memorial Day weekend after closing for the coronavirus pandemic. Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

Viral images of thousands of people eschewing the recommendations of medical experts and epidemiologists were on full display in the U.S. over Memorial Day weekend. In Missouri, St. Louis County officials called the images of crowds gathered at pool parties at bars and yacht clubs in the Lake of the Ozarks an "international example of bad judgment," according to The Washington Post.

Read More Show Less
Only the paper part of a drink carton would be recycled everything else, including the plastic coating or layer or aluminum foil, would be incinerated as residual waste. tavan amonratanasareegul / Getty Images

By Jeannette Cwienk

When it comes to recycling and recyclability, very little, it seems is straightforward — even something as seemingly simple as orange juice can present a conundrum. In Germany, many smaller shops sell drinks in cartons or plastic bottles, both of which will end up in the yellow recycling bin. But how do their recycling credentials stack up?

Read More Show Less
A field of organic lettuce grows at a sustainable farm in California. thinkreaction / Getty Images

By Stephanie Hiller

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the future of the Cannard Family Farm—whose organic vegetables supplied a single Berkeley restaurant—was looking stark.

Read More Show Less
Nearly 200 Canadian organizations rolled out their demands for a "just recovery." DKosig / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Nearly 200 Canadian organizations on Monday rolled out their demands for a "just recovery," saying that continuing business-as-usual after the pandemic would prevent the kind of far-reaching transformation needed to put "the health and well-being of ALL peoples and ecosystems first."

Read More Show Less

Trending

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage in Edmonton on Friday, April 24, 2020. Chris Schwarz / Government of Alberta / Flickr

Anti-pipeline protests work.

That's the implication behind comments made by Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage Friday on how coronavirus social distancing requirements could ease the construction of Canada's controversial Trans Mountain Expansion project.

Read More Show Less