With so many different kinds of sweeteners available in the market today, it has become confusing to figure out which ones are good, and healthy for you. Here’s to help you decide which is best for your health:
– Sugar or sucrose, also commonly known as table sugar comes from sugarcane or sugar beets. It is also found naturally in fruits. This is widely added to baked goods, ice cream, cereals, sauces and marinades, jams and jellies. Brown sugar which comes from the same sources gets its color from added molasses. Sugar gives you energy and will cause your blood sugar to rise rapidly, before crashing leaving you tired and more hungry.
– Agave syrup is a sweet extract similar to, and tastes like honey. This comes from the same agave cactus that gives us tequila. Unlike table sugar, agave syrup does not cause your blood sugar to spike. Agave is much sweeter than sugar so you only need a little to get the same sweetness from sugar. This is ideal for diabetics.
– Honey is a natural sweetener that is commonly used as a sugar substitute due to its high antioxidant properties and numerous vitamins and minerals. Honey is a delight to add to your tea, oatmeal, and yogurt.
– Maple syrup adds a wholesome sweetness to a wide variety of foods as sausages, ice cream, pancakes, toast, waffles and baked goods. Just like honey, maple syrup contains antioxidants which are good for a healthy heart and immune system.
– High fructose corn syrup is a super sweet liquid from the sugars fructose and glucose in cornstarch. This type of sweetener is in processed food like cereals, yogurts, sodas, desserts, baked goods, condiments, etc. as it gives food a longer shelf life. HFCs in a wide array of food consumed daily is believed to contribute to the sharp increase of obesity problems today.
– Stevia is a natural no calorie sweetener which comes from the stevia plant. Stevia is available in granular form used as a diet sweetener, and it is commonly added to beverages, protein and diet shakes. Stevia, also marketed as Pruvia, Truvia, Sun Crystals is safe to use in baking and cooking.
– Saccharin is a calorie-free synthetic compound containing sodium, hydrogen and oxygen. This is more commonly known as Sweet ‘N Low. Saccharin is much sweeter than sugar and keeps its properties when heated, as in added to tea and coffee. While studies have linked this artificial sweetener to cancer in rats, there is not enough evidence of it causing cancer in humans. Saccharin is considered safe for diabetics.
– Sucralose or Splenda is a chemically tweaked (not recognized by the body as a carbohydrate) sugar that is calorie free. Splenda is in many cereals, desserts, baked and frozen goods, as well as beverages. This sweetener is much sweeter than sugar and it holds up well when used in baking. It is known to cause abdominal pain and discomfort in some people.
– Aspartame also known as Equal and Nutrasweet is another artificial sweetener that is safe for diabetics. This is commonly found in sugar-free gum, and diet or sugar-free drinks/beverages, and added on to fruits, and cereals. Aspartame is not recommended for baking as it breaks down when heated. There is no sufficient evidence to support claims that Aspartame causes Alzheimer’s disease. But the use of this artificial sweetener is a common trigger for migraine headaches and is best therefore to avoid its use if you are a migraine sufferer.
Natural sugar intake must be reduced and the use of artificial sweeteners must be avoided altogether to reduce the risk of getting the following diseases: diabetes, obesity, cancer, alzheimers’ and heart disease. Nourish your body with only the very best there is for a long and healthy life.