Often we hear we can’t have this and we can’t have that. Today, let’s talk about what we CAN have! Here are some alternatives to refined, processed, nutrition-less sugars. Each of these have health benefits. Find the one is best for you and your family.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a reference that guides us in shopping for the right sweeteners. The higher the number, the harder your body will work to adjust to the sugar’s effects. When choosing a sweetener, carefully weigh the health benefits and the glycemic index number before consuming it.
Stevia – GI 0
Most natural sweeteners are also high in calories, which despite the modest content of certain vitamins and minerals, may make them off limits to those with certain medical conditions, among which are diabetes. Stevia is a South American sweetener that can be 30 times as sweet as sugar. This natural sweetener does not affect blood sugar levels, making it safe for consumption by diabetics. I recommend NuNaturals Brand of Stevia because it’s one of the only ones without a bitter aftertaste!
Xylitol – GI 7
Xylitol is a naturally occurring food substance. It is found in many fruits & vegetables such as plums, mushrooms, corn cobs, endive, etc. It is classified as a sugar alcohol, but properly, it is neither a sugar nor an alcohol. It is not a foreign substance as your body makes about 10 to 15 grams of xylitol everyday. Your body knows what it is and has the enzymes to break it down. It’s sweet like sugar with no bitter aftertaste. You can find it in many health stores or online.
Raw Honey – GI 30
One tablespoon of honey provides trace amounts of minerals which include copper, iron and manganese, in addition to the vitamin riboflavin. According to the website Organic Facts, honey may also improve athletic performance and aid in weight loss. Additionally, honey may possess both antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Consuming raw, local honey is known to help with seasonal allergies as well.
Maple Syrup – GI 54
While all natural sweeteners consist of pure carbohydrates and are devoid of protein and fiber, few contain the minerals found in maple syrup. Two tablespoons of maple syrup contain 33 percent of the daily value of the mineral manganese and 6 percent of zinc. Additionally, one serving contains trace amounts of copper, magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium.
Molasses – GI 55
A byproduct when sugar cane is processed into table sugar, molasses has a deep, raisin-like flavor. Blackstrap molasses is a particularly nutritious variety. One tablespoon provides 10 percent of the daily value of vitamin B-6, and over 10 percent of the daily values for copper, iron, magnesium and manganese. In addition, over 5 percent of the daily values of potassium and the mineral selenium can be found in a single serving of molasses.
So, don’t say goodbye to your sweet-tooth when making life changes, but make informed decisions on the sweeteners you choose for your family!