Treat Your Body Right With Natural Sweeteners

So via the bigthink blog( you’ve learned all about the effect of sugar on your body and emotions. You’ve also discovered the perils of artificial sweeteners. You may have even perused a few of the recipes for low glycemic index treats, hoping to indulge in a little dessert with the least amount of toxicity possible. Today we’ll go more in-depth into the wide and delicious array of natural sweeteners available at your fingertips. These can all be found at your local health food store and at Whole Foods.

Stevia is my top choice for adding sweet to your meal. Kaa he-he (”sweet herb”) is native to Paraguay and has been used as a sweetener for centuries, but was only just approved by the FDA for this use. It’s 10-15 times sweeter than sugar, so swapping it out with the white powder is definitely not a 1:1 correlation: use the internet for conversions. It is the ONLY sweetener that does not feed yeast and is, therefore, ok for use by people suffering from candida.

Some studies have shown that it actually has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar, as opposed to all the other sweeteners that create a spike and then a resulting crash…causing depression and weight gain, among other things. There is even evidence that Stevia significantly inhibits the development of plaque, so it may actually help to prevent cavities. For some, the taste is a little metallic, but you’ll get used to it quickly, and in all reality, it’s a small price to pay for being able to include such superhero food in your diet.

Agave is native to Mexico and harvested in from living Agave plants – the same ones that give us tequila. It has a light, neutral taste, making it ideal to function as more of a flavor enhancer in the same way sugar does. With a glycemic index of only 32-46, it’s processed fairly slowly into the bloodstream. Agave has anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, and the Aztecs used it to treat wounds due to its antibacterial capabilities. Unlike maple syrup or brown rice syrup, Agave dissolves easily in cold liquids. Please get the raw kind, as it is unprocessed and therefore contains more vitamins and minerals.

Maple Syrup: A beautiful traditional food native to the woodlands of Northeastern America. The different shades of maple syrup correspond to the point in the season at which they were harvested. Maple syrup has a warm, round flavor and a pleasing amber color. It also has prebiotic properties: it helps probiotics (good bacteria) form in your gut. With a GI of 54, it is not an ideal sweetener to use if you are concerned about the stability of your blood sugar, but as an occasional indulgence, it’s fine. PLEASE make sure you get real maple syrup – there are a lot of phonies out there.

Honey: The image of honey brings to mind a hive lazily buzzing with bees, soft bears licking their paws, and a thick golden stream swirling into your teacup. Did you know that honey is also a powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal? Note, though, that its nutritional benefits vary widely depending upon the quality. The pollen that collects on the bees’ legs offers phytochemicals from particular plants, and processing kills many of the nutrients, so it’s important to choose raw honey. Honey’s GI is 55 so it will create a spike in your blood sugar, but nowhere near that of sugar.

Brown Rice Syrup is made by combining brown rice and barley malt and cooking until the starch is converted to sugar. It contains all of the nutrition inherent in these ingredients, such as magnesium and zinc. A very thick syrup, it’s ideal for baking and has a distinctive yet easily overpowered flavor. Its glycemic index is 20 and it’s about half as sweet as sugar.


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