How to Select Your Sweetener
First off, all sugar is sugar and while the brain requires glucose to function, our bodies are designed to convert any food we eat into sugar. So, eating 25 mg/day is optimal for health - that's about 5 teaspoons for women and 7 teaspoons for men.
What to Avoid
White table sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup or fructose. Fructose is another hidden sugar, with a raised risk of high blood pressure by 30%. In fact you only need to drink 2.5 cans or more of regular soda each day to increase your risk.
Splenda, saccharineequal or nutrisweet. In fact, these may be just as bad as the above mentioned when considering obesity, diabetes, cholesterol and heart disease.
Furthermore, sugar is one of the greatest contributors to poor cardiac health and high cholesterol.
Regular table sugar and high fructose corn syrup don’t contain any vital nutrients, which is why they are considered as having “empty” calories.
What are the better sugar choices?
- COCONUT SUGAR Iron, Zinc, Calcium and Potassium, along with some short chain fatty acids, polyphenols and antioxidants. Inulin may slow glucose absorption, which explains why coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index than regular table sugar. This is a good option for diabetics and those trying to lose weight. Also, it is less processed than standard sugars.
- MAPLE SYRUP Maple syrup which contains fewer calories and a higher concentration of minerals than honey, is an antioxidant powerhouse! Grade B, pure maple syrup is filled with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. It also contains phenolics — the beneficial antioxidant compounds that may help diabetics keep their blood sugar levels balanced since phenolics inhibit the enzymes that are involved in the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar.Maple syrup helps with muscle recovery. Pure, grade B maple syrup is an excellent source of manganese, a mineral that helps to repair muscle and cell damage.
- MOLASSES Great source of iron, especially for menstruating women. Blackstrap molasses provides more iron for less calories, than say, red meat, and is totally fat-free. Growing children and adolescents also have increased needs for iron. Just 2 teaspoons of blackstrap molasses will sweetly provide you with 13.3% of the daily recommended value for iron. Blackstrap molasses contains calcium, manganese and copper, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and selenium. I add 2 tablespoon to oatmeal, with dried cranberries or raisins, walnuts and hemp milk. Or try adding it to stirfried vegetables, eggplant or if you eat chicken, baste it with molasses.
- HONEY Raw honey is an alkaline-forming food that contains natural vitamins, enzymes, powerful antioxidants and promotes body and digestive health. It also has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. Raw honey strengthens the immune system, can eliminate allergies, and is an excellent remedy for skin wounds and all types of infections. It is important not to heat honey, as doing so you lose the benefits raw honey provides. So don’t put it in hot tea, cook or bake with it. Also, remember that honey has a high glycemic index so limit to 2 teaspoons as that constitutes @ 12 g sugar.
- STEVIA If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. Stevia contains no calories and will not spike blood sugars.Stevia contains no calories and will not spike blood sugars. Research shows that 1000 mg of stevioside could reduce blood sugars by 18%. Stevia helps dental health and prevents cavities when replaced with other sugars.