Natural Sweeteners

Who among us doesn’t love sweets?! The sweet flavor releases serotonin in our brains, the chemical responsible for our sense of well-being and contentment. But when it comes to sweeteners, not all are created equal. There are side effects and health risks from refined sweeteners like white table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, and from artificial sweeteners like NutraSweet, saccharin and Splenda. Since refined sweeteners have been stripped of vitamins, minerals and fiber, they can spike blood sugar, which can often lead to cravings and mood and energy fluctuations. Instead, using naturally and minimally processed sweeteners can reduce cravings for sugary things.

Here are a few natural sweeteners to substitute in drinks, food and baking. Since they are all approximately 1.5 times sweeter than refined sugar (except Palm Sugar), you can use less. You can find them in most supermarkets or natural food stores. When replacing sugar with liquid sweeteners in a recipe, reduce the amounts of other liquids.

Raw Honey
Everyone seems to love honey, one of the oldest natural sweeteners on the market. Honey will have a different flavor depending on the plant source. Some are very dark and intensely flavored. Wherever possible, choose local, raw, unpasteurized honey, as it is unrefined and contains small amounts of enzymes, minerals and vitamins.

Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is the concentrated extract of the sap of maple trees. It adds a rich, deep flavor to foods and drinks. Make sure to look for 100% pure maple syrup, not maple-flavored corn syrup. As with all sweeteners, organic varieties are best.

Coconut Palm Sugar
My number 1 go to sweetener is Palm sugar. It’s sweetness is 1:1 when comparing it to refined sugar. Palm sugar is a nutrient-dense, low-glycemic crystalline sweetener that looks, tastes, dissolves and melts almost exactly like sugar, but it’s completely natural and unrefined. It’s acquired from the flowers growing high on coconut trees, which are opened to collect their liquid flower nectar. This nectar is then air-dried to form a crystalline sugar that’s naturally brown in color and naturally rich in a number of key vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, including potassium, zinc, iron, and vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6. Palm Sugar is never refined or bleached like white sugar. So the nutrients it was made with are still there. That’s rare for sweeteners, most of which are highly refined. Even stevia is highly refined in its white powder form (real stevia is a green herb).

Learn more about Palm Sugar: http://www.naturalnews.com/028996_palm_sugar_natural_sweetener.html#ixzz27PQlIK9w

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