Which Organic Sweeteners Can I Use to Avoid Calories?
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Studies by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association has shown that replacing sugar with healthy organic sweeteners such as maple syrup, black strap molasses and honey increases the intake of the health beneficial antioxidants. It has shown that substituting 130 grams of refined sugar in a day with healthy sweeteners can increase the amount of antioxidants and is equivalent to as much as consuming nuts and berries.
Stevia, which is extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, is a much-used low-calorie sweetener. Even though there are many sweet compounds present in Stevia, prominent among them Stevioside and Rhebaudioside A, the sweetener is virtually calorie-less with zero calories and zero sugar. Stevia is also good for the health with its ability to lower high blood pressure by 6 – 14% and lower blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. Stevia is available as crystals and granules which are more popular than the liquid or the green powder forms. You may hate its taste, but Stevia certainly makes the healthiest choice of sweetener.
Fruits, which are rich in the natural sugar fructose, are good and healthy sugar substitutes in recipes or in foods such as smoothies and oatmeal. Bananas and applesauce make great substitutes for sugar in oatmeal, breads and in many other baked products.
Honey has been used for ages as a sweetener, and the health benefits of raw honey, which has antimicrobial and fast wound healing properties, are well known. The best honey known is the manuka honey which can naturally destroy bacteria with a teaspoon of raw honey containing 22 calories. Honey is rich in antioxidants and a variety of minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Honey should be taken in moderate amounts as it contains fairly good amounts of fructose. Since most honey found in stores is loaded with undesirable additives, go for organic honey.
- Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap Molasses is considered a super food with its rich contents of nutrients. It is the byproduct during the processing of sugar cane into sugar. Blackstrap molasses have low glycemic index. It is rich in calcium, iron, copper, manganese, potassium and vitamin B6. One teaspoon of blackstrap molasses contains 16 calories. It has a unique and rich flavor and is a good sweetener for marinades and baking.
- Maple Syrup
Compared to sugar, real maple syrup makes an excellent sweetener with its rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium and zinc and also antioxidants. The processing of maple syrup is time consuming – the sap from the trees is first collected after a hole is drilled into it, the sap is boiled till the water evaporates and the syrup is then filtered to get maple syrup. A teaspoon of maple syrup contains 14 calories. This sweetener neutralizes free radicals and reduces oxidative damages.
In order to satisfy our cravings for sweeteners and keep our sweet tooth happy but at the same time keep our health in good condition without gaining additional weight, we must avoid the unhealthy artificial sugar and opt for healthy natural organic sweeteners. Click here to learn more about natural and health beneficial sweeteners.