Hey sweet stuff!
I have one question for ya – Do you know how much processed and refined sugar you’ve had over the weekend?
If you’re unsure but know that it was mayyybe ‘a lot’, then I’d like to quickly offer you a bit of new perspective.
1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams of sugar
So let’s say you eat or drink something containing ‘only’ 16 grams of sugar, you’ve just eaten 1, 2, 3, FOUR teaspoons of sugar!!!
That is a lot! And I bet you can’t even imagine actually eating granulated sugar by the teaspoon, right?
So what’s the difference with consuming it in all sorts of processed foods and beverages? Why do we disregard the label and go for it time and time again without mindfully limiting our sugary, sweet options?
Well! This beautiful Spring, instead of primarily focusing on spring cleaning your home, why not bring some attention to your internal home and give your organs a little bit of a mop ‘n shine!
Your liver would appreciate it even if you don’t 🙂
If you love your body just as much as you love adorning it with the latest fashions, then you’ll seriously take what I’m suggesting here into consideration and kick back on that sugary snack attack!
And because I’m not an evil person, I’m not leaving you empty handed without a means to fulfill your sweettooth. Scroll on down for a list of my personal favorite sugary-like and just as sweet alternatives. Everything from Agave to my personal favorite, Raw Coconut Sugar!
Now you have no excuse to stayin’ sweet without your heart missin’ a beat!
~Lisa Grows, CHHC, RP II
- Agave Nectar
Agave nectar, or agave syrup, is a natural liquid sweetener made from the juice of the agave cactus. Many
diabetics use agave nectar as an alternative to refined sugars and artificial sweeteners because of its relatively low effect on blood glucose levels. However, agave is high in fructose and has been under much scrutiny due to possible manufacturing processes which are similar to that of high fructose corn syrup. Some research suggests that fructose affects the hormone lepitin, which controls your appetite and satiety. Too much fructose may result in overeating and weight gain, so it’s important to consume agave nectar in reasonable moderation.
- Barley Malt
Barley malt syrup is a thick, sticky, brown sweetener and is about half as sweet as refined white sugar. It is made from the soaking, sprouting, mashing, cooking and roasting of barley. Many consumers prefer this natural sweetener because it moves through the digestive system slower than other refined sugars4. It contains approximately 65% maltose, 30% complex carbohydrate, 3% protein. Barley malt can also come in the form of powder.
- Birch Sugar
Also referred to as xylitol, this natural sugar substitute is derived from birch tree fiber, and occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables. There have been many reported benefits of xylitol. Research suggests that this natural sweetener prevents tooth decay, improves bone density, increases white blood cell activity, and prevents streptococcus infections. Birch sugar is also deemed as safe for diabetics because it is not easily converted to fat. As with most sugar alcohols, consumption may result in bloating, diarrhea, and gas.
- Birch Syrup
Birch syrup is also very low on the glycemic index and is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C,
potassium, manganese, thiamine and calcium. This syrup is made from the concentrated sap of birch trees, and it takes 100 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. Unlike maple syrup, which is composed of the disaccharide sucrose, this syrup is composed of fructose, a monosaccharide. Monosaccharide’s are easier to digest because they are simpler sugar units, making birch syrup a gentler choice.
- Brown Rice Syrup
This product consists of brown rice that has been ground and cooked, converting the starches to maltose. Brown rice syrup tastes like moderately sweet butterscotch and is quite delicious. In recipes, replace each cup of white sugar with ¼ cup brown rice syrup, and reduce the amount of other liquids. Brown rice syrup is made of 50% complex carbohydrates, 45% maltose, and 3% glucose. The small amount of glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream immediately, but the complex carbohydrates and maltose are much more slowly absorbed, providing a steady supply of energy.
- Coconut Sugar
100% Non-Gmo Organic Coconut Palm sugar is free of pesticides which is dangerous to both our environment and the human body; minimizing your exposure to another sweetener that can potentially cause more harm than good. Speaking of good, coconut palm sugar is rich in vitamins including 12 of the essential vitamin B complex, rich in amino acids – up to 16 which help the body build and repair itself, and rich in minerals like potassium, magnesium, iron, and zinc! Coconut sugar also comes in with a super low glycemic index, making this a diabetic friendly alternative!
- Date Sugar
Date sugar consists of finely ground, dehydrated dates, utilizing this fruit’s vitamin, mineral and fiber content. If you like the taste of dates, this will definitely appeal to you. Date sugar can be used as a direct replacement for sugar and comes in a granulated form; however, it can clump, and doesn’t melt, making it an impractical substitution for certain baked goods and beverages.
One of the oldest natural sweeteners; honey is sweeter than sugar. Depending on the plant source, honey can have a range of flavors, from dark and strongly flavored, to light and mildly flavored. Raw honey contains small amounts of enzymes, minerals and vitamins. It’s also said that consuming local honey can help build up your immunity to common allergens in your area – by introducing your body to the bee pollen.
- Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is made from boiled-down maple tree sap and is a great source of manganese and zinc.
Approximately 40 gallons of sap are needed to make one gallon of maple syrup. It adds a pleasant flavor to foods and is great for baking. Be sure to buy 100% pure maple syrup and not maple-flavored corn syrup. Grade B is stronger in flavor and said to have more minerals than Grade A.
- Maple Sugar
Maple sugar is created when the sap of the sugar maple is boiled for longer than is needed to create maple syrup. Once most of the water has evaporated, all that is left is the solid sugar. Maple sugar is about twice as sweet as standard granulated sugar, but much less refined.
Organic molasses is probably the most nutritious sweetener derived from sugar cane or sugar beet, and is made by a process of clarifying and blending the extracted juices. The longer the juice is boiled, the less sweet, more nutritious and darker the product is. Molasses imparts a very distinct flavor to food. Blackstrap molasses, the most nutritious variety, is a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
This leafy herb also known as honey leaf has been used for centuries by native South Americans. The extract from stevia is approximately 100 to 300 times sweeter than white sugar. It can be used in cooking, baking and as a sugar substitute in most beverages. Stevia has been shown to have a positive effect on blood sugar levels by increasing insulin production, and decreasing insulin resistance. Stevia is available in a powder or liquid form, but be sure to get the green or brown liquids or powders, as the white and clear versions are highly refined.
Turbinado sugar, also known as demerera, is crystallized sugar made from sugar cane extract. It is similar to brown sugar, although paler with larger crystals, and may be used interchangeably. It comes from the initial pressing of sugar cane, where white sugar is further refined. It is often sold in the United States as Sugar in the Raw. Though it is slightly less processed than white sugar, it still has the same negative health effects as white sugar.
- Vegetable Glycerin
Vegetable glycerin is a colorless, odorless liquid with a very sweet taste and the consistency of thick syrup. It is derived from coconut and palm oils. As a sweetener, it is ideal for those afflicted with candida because it does not contain sucrose.