Christmas is just around the corner. I'm sure that many of you have plans to bake cookies and cakes for parties and gifts. Delightful as they may be, such sweet treats often require large amounts of sugar.

Studies have linked sugar intake to obesity, diabetes mellitus, heart disease and even impaired brain function. Fortunately, there are healthy sugar substitutes easily available on the market.

Raw honey is one of the best natural sweeteners around. In addition to sugar, honey contains antioxidants and antimicrobial compounds that supports the health of your body. Another wonderful sugar substitute is stevia. Stevia comes from the leaf of a flowering plant and is particularly good for people with weight issues and diabetes. It contains no calories and literally has zero sugar content. Lastly, coconut sugar. Coconut sugar contains inulin that lowers its blood sugar impact on the body as well as a variety of beneficial nutrients.

All theses sweeteners are lower on the glycemic index than sugar. Regular sugar scores 100, these sweeteners score closer to a 50, i.e. they affect your body to a lesser extent. With these sweeteners, it is now possible to have your cake and eat it too!