The best solution when it comes to sugar is to eliminate it, if not completely, as much as possible. When there is occasion for something a little sweet, here are some sweeteners that I prefer and would call naked. As a general rule, choose those that are as unrefined as possible:
Raw Honey: Only for use cold (don’t cook or bake with it), raw honey is a natural antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. It’s worth the extra effort to find raw honey, as pasteurization damages its delicate nutrients and beneficial enzymes.
Molasses: This liquid byproduct of the process of refining sugar is sweet while also high in minerals.
Rapadura: This is dried juice of the sugar cane, and as unrefined as you’ll get when it comes to sugar.
Maple Syrup: Splurge and get the real stuff. I like the lower grades because the maple flavor is stronger and rich in minerals.
Stevia: This sweet herb makes a nice and soothing tea if you use the whole leaf, and the powder made from it has become a favorite of many health practitioners because it has negligible impacts on blood sugar and zero calories. Use sparingly—a little goes a long way.
Coconut Sugar: This sugar is made from coconut blossoms, has a low glycemic load and is only minimally refined. It’s high in minerals and B vitamins and works well in baking.
Dates: Dates are nice and sweet and packed with minerals. If you need to sweeten a sauce or a dressing, throw a pitted date into your food processor, and it’ll do the trick. Talk about unrefined!