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The Essential Organics Blog

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Sweet Substitutes

By Essential Organics Nutritionalist, Cassandra Law

HEALTH May 14, 2015 0 COMMENT

Wanting to know what’s the healthier alternative choice when substituting refined white sugar? There are numerous substitutes available and it may seem overwhelming as to which one is the better choice for you. Here is a list of the most common refined sugar substitutes.

Rice Malt Syrup:

This syrup is made from 100% organic brown rice, which gives the taste a mild flavour and a coulouring of caramel. It is made by culturing rice with enzymes to enable the breakdown of starches, then cooked and then the final product maltose, a tiny bit of glucose and complex carbohydrates. This product is 100% fructose free, therefore easy to digest, a steady supply of energy, reducing blood sugar spikes and improving hormonal control and satiety.

Maple Syrup:

The sap from the maple tree is collected, boiled, evaporated of excess water and then the final product is a thick intense golden liquid. You can use this syrup in baking as it creates a rich caramel flavour. The syrup is also a great source of manganese and zinc, with only 40% of the product being fructose.

Honey:

Packed full of iron, B vitamins and manganese, honey is also anti-microbial and anti-bacterial, making this sweetener great for wound healing. But some honeys, mainly commercial ones, have been heated to very high temperatures, which removes and destroys these health benefits. Also some honeys can be thinned down with high fructose corn syrup to save manufacturers money, so ALWAYS check the labels or opt for organic, raw or a manuka honey. Honey is 40% fructose and about 20% sweeter than other sweeteners.

Coconut sugar/Coconut nectar:

This product is produced from the sap of coconut flower buds and is abundant in vitamins and minerals, giving off an intense caramel flavour. With a Glycemic Index of a low 35, coconut sugar is however 50% fructose. Use it mostly in baking sweets.

Dates:

Grown on palm trees, originating as far back as the ancient Egyptians, dates are high in dietary fibre, protecting the colon mucous membrane. Iron, calcium, vitamin A, manganese and potassium are also found in this little fruit, making it highly nutritious. Dates have a Glycemic index of 30-47 (depending on which variety), which is still considered low, but be careful not to eat too many as they do have a laxative effect!

Stevia:

This shrub is native to Latin American and is calorie and fructose free. Some stevia’s can taste slightly synthetic or can have a bitter after taste, this is due to stevia being 300 times sweeter than normal sugar, so you would require much less when substituting. This sweetener can also be highly processed, so if you can, go for the organic kind.

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