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Five Sweet Alternatives to Sugar

Alt to Sugar Medley

When you take a closer look at the foods you eat every day, you see that sugar is in everything. There are the obvious culprits such as breakfast cereals and the sweeteners you add to your coffee, but then there are the more obscure ones such as teriyaki sauce and ketchup. Since we unwittingly consume a large amount of sugar daily, it is important to choose the right kind of sweeteners for a healthier you.

Why we need (the right kind of) sugar

Our bodies need sugar for energy like cars need fuel. Did you know your brain runs only on glucose, the simplest sugar, and nothing else? Luckily, sugar is found in many whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy. But don’t be fooled; not all sugars are used efficiently in our bodies nor are all of them good for us. Research indicates that refined sugars and artificial sweeteners, when consumed in excess for a long period of time, force our bodies to draw out minerals from our bones, tissues and blood. This can result in a myriad of diseases and deficiencies.

Five all natural alternatives to sugar

We live in a world where nutrition research makes front-page news yet supermarket shelves are lined with boxes of what seem like food science experiments gone bad. (Seriously, what’s in Splenda with fiber?) It can be hard to filter through all the gimmicks, so I’m sharing five of my favorite natural, less-refined sugar alternatives. And remember – just because they’re natural does not make them a free for all. Be sure to use them in moderation!

1. Medjool Dates: best for raw desserts like oatmeal date cookies.

2. Brown-Rice Syrup (or other grain based sweetener): best for baking or drizzling over pancakes.

3. Agave Syrup: best for sweetening drinks

4. Molasses: best for cooking with meats and in stews

5. Coconut Palm Sugar: best 1:1 substitute for brown or white sugar

 

- Amy Yazdian

 

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