Cut down on sugar with these easy natural substitutes!

If you're trying to drop a few pounds, cutting out sugar where possible is key. A low-sugar diet is generally more nutritious and will leave you feeling fuller for longer.

Even though you might be cutting down on fizzy drinks or chocolate, sugar can still creep up on you in smaller ways – in baked goods, breads, flavoured coffees or juices.

Here are some natural substitutes that make great alternatives…

1. Agave nectar
This plant nectar is becoming more widely available in supermarkets and health shops. It has a similar taste to honey and can be used in baking in place of sugar, or to add sweetness to hot drinks.

2. Honey
Honey is a far healthier alternative to plain sugar, and it has some great nutritional properties too – it aids in digestive function and can help ease a sore throat. 

3. Lemon
Rather than mixing your drinks with sugary cordial or fizzy drinks, use slimline tonic or soda with a slice of lemon or lime. A crisp, fresh taste that is far lower in calories! 

4. Cranberries
Tart fruits like cranberries are great for adding sweetness to cakes, scones and bread without the addition of granulated sugar. They're full of immune-boosting antioxidants too.

5. Stevia
This concentrated sugar substitute comes from the South American stevia plant. It's granules have 150 times the sweetness of sugar, so a tiny amount is all that's needed for sweetening coffee, tea or juices. Many drinks companies are copping on to the benefits of stevia – it's one of the key ingredients in the new Coca-Cola Life drink, which is meant to be a healthier alternative to the regular Coke.