You know that switching from sugar to something like Splenda or another artificial sweetener is like eating TOXIC POISON! So which sweeteners ARE safe? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each? Try some of these “favorites” we have listed below. (As always, ask Dr. Berglund if these sweeteners are right for you!)
Truly NATURAL sweeteners (just to name a few)
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol. This term sounds scary, but in reality, it is a naturally occurring sweetener found in the fibers of fruits and vegetables. It is perfectly safe for diabetics and hypoglycemics, and has almost no aftertaste. In addition to its sweetening properties, it has been shown to prevent cavities, as well as the growth of bacteria. The only down-side is that it can act as a laxative in some people, if consumed in large quantities
Maltitol or Erythritol
These two are very similar to xylitol, but erythritol is found to have less of a laxative effect than its two sugar alcohol cousins.
Stevia is a natural herb directly taken from the leaves of the stevia plant. It is 400 times sweeter than sugar, and has absolutely no health “drawbacks” to it. It does, however, leave a bit of an “anise” aftertaste.
Sucanat (a contraction of the words “Sugar Cane Natural”) is pure, unrefined cane sugar. It retains all of its molasses content, and can be used as a substitute for brown sugar. It is, however, grainy instead of crystalline.
Fruit Sweet is a combination of natural fruit juices and syrups that is 1 1/2 times sweeter than sugar. It has a warm, slightly carmel flavor, and is safe for diabetics.
Raw Honey is honey in its pure, un-heated, un-processed, un-strained form. It is more white and opaque than clear and golden, compared to pasteurized honey. It is an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral substance that also has anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. Its wound-healing properties are so great that it is even being used in hospital burn units. It is twice as sweet as sugar, and never spoils.
Agave nectar haravested from the core of the Mexican agave plant. It is safe for diabetics, and like raw honey, contains anti-microbial properties. It has a neutral taste and won’t overpower food.
Brown Rice Syrup
Brown Rice Syrup is derived by culturing cooked rice with enzymes. It is only 20% as sweet as sugar, but is a great “time release” energy source. It is considered to be one of the healthiest sweeteners in the natural food industry, since it is produced from a whole food source.
Pure Maple Syrup
Truly pure maple syrup (not imitations like “syrup” or “pancake syrup”), is made from the sap of maple trees. It contains a long list of vitamins, including B vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. As with molasses, the darker (or lower grade) of maple syrup, the more health benefits it contains.
Click here for a printable conversion chart for these sweeteners listed below. Keep it on your refrigerator!
Use this table to help you convert your measurements of alternative sweeteners from white sugar. Some experimentation may be necessary to achieve desired results.