Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Healthy, natural sweeteners

There are some very healthy sweeteners that most everyone in the health food arena would agree on. I am going to talk about a few of them and how they can be used with the disclaimer that easing yourself off of any sweeteners is ultimately the healthiest choice.

The most obvious two are #1 honey and #2 maple syrup. Most people automatically think of these two when they think of healthy sweetener.
Did you know that you can use both of these to replace sugar in most recipes? You do need to account for the extra liquid in the recipe and you don't use as much. but, there are websites that tell you the substitution amounts and how to do it.
Maple syrup gives a nice rich flavor to the dish and honey lightens and brightens.
Affordability? These are both fairly expensive but they do give some added nutrition to whatever they are used in.
The big draw back to both of these sweeteners is how quickly they are converted into energy and spike the blood sugar. This is measured by the glycemic index.
There are many different types of honey. Floral honey has the lowest glycemic index; like locust honey GI 32. Commercial honey like clover honey is much higher at 69.
Pure maple syrup has a GI of 54. But, make sure you read labels as most maple syrups are blended with corn syrup or other things to bring the cost down. Pancake syrup and breakfast syrup are not maple syrup at all!

Anything over a GI of 55 is considered to be not a low glycemic food. So, both of these are on the higher end and should be used in moderation.

I haven't seen a lot of store made items that are sweetened with these two things. As I said, they are fairly costly. But, read labels! I bet you can find them somewhere other than Honey Nut Cheerios or Maple shredded wheat. LOL. Look at your health food store!

Be daring! Try something new today!

1 comment:

  1. There are many different kinds of honey and maple syrup that I thought I should reference.
    Maple syrup comes in grades: Grade A or Grade B. Grade A is the thin almost clear syrup that is used for pancakes. This grade is also broken down in to subcategories of light amber, medium amber and dark amber. Grade B is thicker( and harder to find) and has more of a maple taste. There is some dispute as to whether or not Grade B has more nutritional quality. So, I will just mention it. There are also differences in organic maple syrup vs. traditional maple syrup.
    Honey comes in myriads of forms. So, I just want to mention raw honey. Raw honey that hasn't been filtered to remove the pollen and stuff, is thick and is more like a paste. As with most things, there is also organic and traditional honey.