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Sweet 'n' Whole

Healthy alternatives to white sugar

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Sweet 'n' Whole

Can life be sweet without white sugar? You bet it can! An abundance of natural sweeteners and sugar alternatives makes a slow death by the white stuff avoidable.

Can life be sweet without white sugar? You bet it can!

To satisfy your sweet tooth, there’s no need to use a refined product whose consumption is associated with blood sugar imbalances and a host of chronic diseases. An abundance of natural, alternative sweeteners makes a slow death by sugar completely avoidable.

Rather than robbing your body of nutrients as white sugar does, unrefined sweeteners based on whole foods make a nutritional contribution to your diet. Whether to add a healthy touch of sweetness to your favourite beverage or to determine what to substitute for white sugar in your baking and cooking, look for these and other wholesome sweeteners in your local health food store.

Unrefined sweeteners based on whole foods make a nutritional contribution to your diet.

Sweetener

What it is

Nutritional benefits

How it’s used

Quantity suggested to replace 1 cup (250 mL) of sugar

Blackstrap molassesdark, intensely flavoured syrup extracted from the third pressing of whole sugar canerich in essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassiumideal for use in strongly flavoured baked goods such as gingerbread and spice cake1 1/2 cups (375 mL)
Date sugarpitted and dehydrated dates that are pulverizedhigh in vitamin A, niacin, calcium, iron, and potassiumgreat in baked goods and as topping for cereals and desserts1 cup (250 mL)
Honeyflower nectar processed and concentrated by beesraw, unpasteurized honey contains numerous beneficial enzymes, vitamins, and mineralsdelicious in beverages and as a topping on cereals, breads, crackers; East Indian Ayurvedic tradition advises against heating honey in cooking and baking3/4 cup (180 mL)
Maple syrupmaple tree sap boiled down to a concentrated syrupexcellent source of the trace mineral manganese; good source of zincdelectable on pancakes, crepes, waffles; great for baking; excellent beverage sweetener1/2 cup (125 mL)
 Rice syrupmildly sweet syrup made from brown rice through enzymatic actionmaltose, the predominant sugar in rice syrup, is slow digesting which prevents rapid blood sugar fluctuationsideal as a topping on cereals, pancakes, waffles; great for beverages, baked goods, or dishes for which mild sweetness is desired1 cup (250 mL) (results in reduced overall sweetness)1 cup (250 mL) (results in reduced overall sweetness)
Sucanatwhole sugar cane granules produced from dried and crystallized syrupprovides vitamin B6, calcium, iron, potassium, and chromium which helps stabilize blood sugarexcellent universal sugar substitute yielding a rich flavour1 cup (250 mL)
Steviaintensely sweet, leafy plant originating in South America; available dried and cut, or in powdered or liquid formnon-nutritive and noncaloric, stevia is not metabolized by the human digestive system; it helps regulate blood sugar and blood pressuregreat for sweetening beverages and desserts; learning to cook and bake with stevia requires commitment, but it’s worth the effort for those with blood sugar imbalances2 Tbsp (30 mL)

Note: Use all sweeteners in moderation, including those that are natural and wholesome. Remember that brown sugar is refined sugar that merely has a small amount of molasses added back to it for colour.

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