Thursday, January 13, 2011
We are all familiar with the pros and cons of sugar. Although sugar is a natural sweeter, excess sugar is converted to fat and will make your waistline increase in time. Sugar is also a culprit in gastrointestinal issues and diabetes. Americans particularly consume large quantities of sugary foods and drinks as part of their regular diet which has contributed to the worsening state of health we face as Americans today.
Artificial sweeteners were invented to be an alternative to the effects sugar has on certain individuals. We are familiar with aspartame, saccharin and sucralose. But with the growth of natural foods, the below mentioned are excellent alternatives to non-natural sweeteners and sugar.
Have you heard of Stevia? It is made from the leaves of a South American stevia plant shrub and marketed under names like Truvia, PureVia and Stevia in the Raw. It is a natural sweetener with zero calories, mainly used to sweeten coffee and teas but some well known companies are using it as an alternative sweetener to high fructose corn syrup and sugar. It is much sweeter than table sugar so use sparingly. (use 3/4 tablespoon to every 2 teaspoons of sugar)
Another natural substitute is good ole honey. Honey not only tastes good, it has important health benefits such as being anti-inflammatory, fights infection, reduces scarring, and aids in relieving gastrointestinal ailments. read more
. Use of honey in coffee and in cold beverages is not recommended.
Agave nectar/syrup is also a great choice for sugar replacement. Its derived from the agave plant of Mexico. It contains prebiotic fiber and contains vitamin nutrients along with calcium and iron. It can be used for cooking and mixed in hot and cold beverages.
It is a low glycemix food unlike sugar. Like stevia, it is sweeter than sugar so use sparingly.
These natural sweeteners are readily found in your neighborhood supermarket or gourmet grocer.