One hundred fifty pounds of white sugar is chomped down each year by Americans.   Diets high in sugar are associated with obesity, tooth decay, risk of coronary heart disease, insulin resistance, decreased bone density, and a variety of nutrient deficiencies, especially calcium.

How can you still satisfy that sweet tooth while doing less harm to your body?  Some minimally processed natural sugars actually contain beneficial nutrients.  The following is a list of alternative natural sweeteners that can be substituted for white sugar:

Molasses is one of the most nutritious sweeteners available.  Contains iron calcium, magnesium, and potassium, Derived from sugar cane and sugar beets.

Honey is recognized for its healing abilities.  It may contain beneficial antioxidants that reduce age-related disease risks.

Barley malt and brown rice syrup are sugars derived from grains.  These sugars retain some complex carbohydrates and provide a slower insulin response than white sugar.  Barley malt contains vitamin B, iron, magnesium, and vitamin E.   Both sweeteners have a hearty, earthy flavor.

Date sugar and xylitol are fruit based sugars with the added bonus of nutrients. Date sugar will provide you with a great source of fiber and potassium.  Xylitol is a sugar alcohol usually found in fruits and berries yet is often derived from birch sap.  It may help reduce dental cavities and it has an insignificant effect on blood glucose, making it a good choice for low-carb diets and people with diabetes.  Be careful though, because xylitol is not completely absorbed, it can cause bloating and loose stools.  Introduce it gradually into your diet.

Stevia is a sweet herb.  It has been used in South America and Japan for decades.  It is three hundred times sweeter than sugar but with no calories. 

These are great ways to satisfy your sweet tooth while moving towards better health.