SUGAR, HONEY, AGAVE - WHICH SWEETENERS ARE THE HEALTHIEST?
Refined sugar is not really a good choice of sweetener.
Why is that?
Refined sugar can deplete your body of nutrients
Refined sugar can cause blood sugar levels to spike up and down very quickly
Refined sugar can contribute to weight gain
Refined sugar can contribute to diabetes
Refined sugar can contribute to age related diseases
There are so many kinds of sugar available. The well known ones are:-
Granulated white sugar
Raw cane sugar
There is no difference between white and brown sugar. The brown sugar is coloured with dark sugar syrups.
Raw sugar has more benefit because it is not refined and has more molasses than white sugar.
These sugars are called sucrose and they get broken down into glucose and fructose in the body.
You don’t have to give up all sugar for good. We do need sugar for fuel.
When you think about how much sugar you eat every day, I bet you don’t realise just how much.
Many people say that they don’t eat sugar but it is hiding in lots of foods in the supermarket such as snacks, desserts, drinks, cereals, gravy, sauces etc. A lot of packaged food contains sugar. Are you looking at the ingredients list of everything you buy to find out if it contains sugar? I highly encourage you to check your ingredients labels.
So what exactly would be a good choice of sweetener?
HERE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVOURITE SWEETENERS THAT I EAT REGULARLY
Raw honey is a delicious way to add sweetness to your diet. It is half fructose and half glucose. It is a good sweetener for a diabetic in small amounts too as the liver will process it slowly and you will get a slow release of sugar into your blood.
Look out for the raw honey and not the processed kind. You can tell if honey is raw and not overly processed by putting a bit onto your finger and if it doesn’t run off, then its good honey to eat.
Raw honey has enzymes, vitamins and phytonutrients that come from the flower nectar.
Go here to read about the nutrition value in honey
Coconut sugar is made from the sap of coconut trees which is heated to dry. Coconut sugar has a low glycaemic level and can be used to replace refined sugar when cooking or baking.
It is mostly sucrose and it has some nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, and a prebiotic fibre called inulin.
There are a few variety of dates, medjool or neglet nour dates. They are excellent to bake with. You can blend them into smoothies to add sweetness too. You can make a syrup from them or you can buy date syrup.
Dates contain lots of nutrients such as calcium, sulfur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, selenium, zinc and magnesium. They are a good source of energy, sugar, and fibre. They also contain vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K.
FOR A SWEET AND HEALTHY TREAT, TRY THESE ENERGY BARS
CHOCOLATE ENERGY BARS
recipe from Paleo Hacks website
100G/½ cup dates, pitted and soaked in water
65G/1/3 cup dried apricots OR dates
40G/1/4 cup raw almonds
75G/½ cup raw cashews
40G/1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
3 TBSP raw cacao powder
1 TBSP raw cacao nibs
Pinch of sea salt
40G/¼ cup dark chocolate
In a food processor or blender, add cashews and pumpkin seeds. Pulse several times until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the cacao powder and cacao nibs. Set aside.
To the food processor, add the pre-soaked dates and apricots. Add 2 tablespoons water and process on high until a paste forms. Transfer the date-apricot mixture to the bowl and combine the ingredients. The ingredients should be sticky and slightly crumbly. Transfer the batter into a meatloaf pan with parchment paper and smooth into an even layer. Press firmly into the sides and bottom of the pan. Add the almonds on top, pressing them into the mixture. Place the pan in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours to set.
Once set, melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over simmering water and drizzle over the bars.