We love to feed on sweeteners every day and almost every food has been added with sugar. It can be our morning coffee, dessert, or any food we love to eat. With the reports on the undesirable health effects of sugar, new natural sweeteners are sprouting up on the aisle of the supermarket. They are natural because they are not synthetically manufactured but originated from plant sources.
Yet, the majority of consumers are not educated on how to incorporate them or have little knowledge on how they affect our health. Surprisingly, we tend to imagine that something natural is good for our health. However, when it involves sweeteners, consuming excessive natural stuff can be counter productive especially on our well being.
Refined sugar and sweeteners have hit almost 13 percent of daily calorie consumption of the population in the United States. The substantial intake of sugar is linked to weight gain and serious medical issues. If you happen to consume lots of sugar, then you take actions today to cut down your sugar intake in general.
Based on the guidelines of The American Heart Association, the caloric intake for women should not go beyond 100 calories per day whereas for men, it should not go above 150 calories per day. When you add sugar to make your food sweet, it is better to opt for sources that come with certain nutritional values. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of various kinds of natural sweeteners.
Raw sugar or turbinado sugar is not the same as refined or white sugar. The differences lie in the texture and color of the granules where they are large, coarse, and slightly brown in color. Most of use think that it is healthier to consumer raw sugar than processed sugar. However, both of them share similar features as they are sucrose. They are made from sugarcane or sugar beet. One tablespoon of raw sugar boasts 60 calories and 15 grams of sugar.
Refined sugar is a clean version of raw sugar. That why it is white in color. The nutritional values in raw sugar is so small that it can’t compensate for the adverse effects of sugar consumption on our weight, oral health, and the risk of chronic diseases.
Barley Malt Syrup
When the grains of barley sprout, its starch is broken down into sugars mainly maltose. Barley malt syrup is rich with antioxidants which prevent cellular damaged. When compared with other sweeteners in terms of antioxidant content, it is second only to blackstrap molasses. A single tablespoon of barley malt syrup supplies 60 calories and provides 8 grams of sugar.
The sources of fruit juice are usually apples and grapes. For sweetening, they available in concentrated form. Although on the surface, they are better than table sugar or corn syrup but they can only offer vitamin C. In addition, you will receive sufficient calories in the form of fructose. Remember to use them in moderation as anything excessive can do more damage than good on your health.
Coconut sugar or coconut palm sugar is a new sweetener that is seen on supermarket shelves lately. It follows the same process for to maple syrup but it uses sap of a coconut tree. The glycemic index for coconut sugar is only 35 but for table sugar, it is 68. In other words, you will have better control of blood glucose and insulin with coconut sugar. For regular sugar substitution with coconut sugar, you need to use one-to-one ratio. One tablespoon of coconut sugar consists of 45 calories and 12 grams of sugar.
Maple syrup is boiled until all the water is gone. This is the process of making maple sugar. At the end, you will have crystallized sugars with a distinctive maple flavor. Maple sugar has fewer calories than normal sugar. For one tablespoon, maple sugar provides 33 calories while table sugar provides 50 calories. It also supplies your body with essential nutrients such as calcium, potassium, iron and zinc. The best part is that unlike table sugar, you don’t need to use a lot of maple sugar to sweeten foods. One cup of table sugar is equivalent to two-thirds of a cup of maple sugar. It is always healthy when you consume less consume regardless of the source.