Artificial and Common Sugar Alternatives
Sugar and sweeteners come in many forms – from the artificial to the fruit we eat right off the tree. Listed below are sugar alternatives and their benefits. As always, consume any type of sugar in moderation…it’s still sugar, folks.
One of the most common sugars used in our foods today is cane sugar (Sugarcane) and is the world’s largest crop with Brazil being the largest producer. Sugar canes are harvested and machines are used to press the juice out of the cane which strip them of their nutrients. Ironically, black strap molasses is the by product or “waste” from processing sugar cane that keep the nutrients.
Nutrients from Unsulphered (Sun Ripened) Black Strap Molasses
- Because of its high iron content, it’s a substitute to holistically help cure anemia.
- Molasses is also an excellent source of copper and manganese and a very good source of potassium, and magnesium.
- Learn more about the process, nutrients, concerns and claims.
- Raw (Not Processed) Honey: antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, carbohydrates, and phytonutrients, raw, unprocessed honey is considered a superfood by many alternative health care practitioners and a remedy for many health ailments.
- Other sugar alternatives include dates, date sugar, maple syrup, and apple juice.
The medical field thinks that artificial sweeteners pose no health risk while the holistic system regards them as being dangerous. Even major news organizations like the NY Times holds the middle ground on this debate. Instead of diving into all the confusion, I tell myself “if it isn’t/wasn’t real, I won’t eat it”. Ultimately, this is the difference between the artificial (not real) and Stevia (real). In fact, I own a Stevia plant as the leaves give your dessert a nice finishing touch.
Health benefits of Stevia
- Does not have any calories and will not spike blood sugars.
- Replacing sugar with Stevia makes it safer for your teeth.
- Decrease blood sugars and lower high blood pressure.
More info on the benefits, taste (up to 300X sweeter than sugar!), and the need for more research.
A few years back, Agave Nectar became the latest “rage” in sugar consumption. Now Coconut (Sugar) Nectar is replacing it. Here are the main differences:
- Agave has almost as much fructose as high fructose corn syrup. Coconut nectar has low fructose and derives it’s main sugar component is sucrose (aka table sugar). Fructose is linked to heart disease as it raises triglycerides and cholesterol. As with any new product to market, this information is debatable.
- Coconut nectar has minerals such as nitrogen and potassium. Agave nectar has almost no mineral content in it.
- NOTE: Both agave and coconut nectar reportedly have a naturally low glycemic index.
Sheep Yogurt & Black Strap Molasses Recipe
- chia seeds for texture
- nuts (pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, etc.) for crunch
- dried fruit (goji berries, raisins, cherries, etc.)
- berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.)
Want something more complicated with these new sugar alternatives? Try the Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheesecake (below is how mine turned out for Thanksgiving dinner).
Here’s the recipe. Good luck!