Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ditch the Sugar Lips: 5 Sweet Sugar Alternatives to Try Instead!

Sugar. Who can resist the sweet and lingering taste? 
Sugar has been around ever since it was first noted in the 8th century BC, but unfortunately, it has been processed & refined time and time again which has resulted in losing any of it's nutritional properties.

It's a drug. Who can resist? Brain scans have shown that intermittent sugar consumption affects the brain in ways similar to that of illegal drugs. A highly cited study in the journal of Neuroscience & Behavioral Reviews found that sugar meets the criteria for a substance of abuse and may be addictive to those who binge on it. It does this by affecting the chemistry of the limbic system-the part of the brain that is associated with emotional control.

Did you know that there are 10 teaspoons of sugar in the average energy drink? Crazy, right?

Here are the 5 great alternatives to refined sugar:

Raw Honey. Honey is probably one of the most widely known natural sugar alternatives out there. Honey is composed of two simple sugars-glucose & fructose- and is absorbed in a different manner than white sugar, which causes a slower and more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Since honey is slightly higher in fructose than sugar, it tastes sweeter; therefore, you can use less of it. Raw honey is also known to contain antioxidants as well as a few vitamins & minerals.

Maple Syrup. Maple syrup is a well known sugar substitute among those who strive to use less refined sugar. It also contains some health benefits such as antioxidants to support the immune system and a healthy heart as well as several beneficial vitamins and minerals. Some would even refer to this natural sweetener as a "superfood."

Stevia. Stevia is derived from a plant as a sugar substitute and unlike other sugar alternatives, it's primarily known for what it doesn't do-add calories. There has been some debate over whether or not Stevia is the real deal; however, it does benefit those with type 2 diabetes or individuals watching their sugar levels.

Xylitol. Xylitol is a naturally reoccurring alcohol found in most plant material including fruits & veggies. You might have read the name on many sugar free gum packages as it's used as a popular sugar substitute. It is also extracted from birchwood to use for medicine and it's also used in tube feeding formulas as a source of energy. Cool, huh?

Date Sugar. This sugar is different than other sugars in the fact that it's not processed to create a sugar alcohol-instead, it's made merely of finely chopped dried dates. Because of this, it goes through minimal processing and is thought to be one of the more natural sugar alternatives on the market.

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