We love to consume sweeteners every day and to be honest, almost every food has sugar. It can be coffee, dessert, or any food we enjoy eating. I suppose you have seen in news about sugar and its detrimental effects on our well being over the last few months. Supermarket shelves are now bombarded with new natural sweeteners. They are not the same as the refined sugar. In fact, they are the products of plant extracts. However, many of us have little knowledge how to use them or the effect on our health. Interestingly, we tend to believe that something natural is always healthy. The truth is actually the reverse. When you take natural substances in an unreasonably amount, it can damage our health.
Processed sugar and sweeteners make up nearly 13% of Americans’ daily caloric intakes. The considerable intake of sugar has been found to be responsible for increased body weight and chronic diseases. If your sugar intake is high, then you take actions today to reduce your sugar intake in general. The American Heart Association recommends the caloric intake for women should be less than 100 calories per day whereas for men, it should be less than 150 calories per day.
When you introduce sweetness to your favorite foods, your health will benefit more if the sources can deliver an additional nutritional value for your money. You should read the next paragraph. It is about the pros and cons of various kinds of natural sweeteners.
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.
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.
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.
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.