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How Sweet It Is

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Substituting artificial sweeteners for white sugar seems logical. After all, artificial sweeteners help us enjoy sweetness without the extra calories. However, we know that when we mess with Mother Nature, there is usually a price to pay.

Substituting artificial sweeteners for white sugar seems logical. After all, artificial sweeteners help us enjoy sweetness without the extra calories. However, we know that when we mess with Mother Nature, there is usually a price to pay. When we replace sugar with aspartame, that price is our precious health.

Research repeatedly cites aspartame (sold under the names NutraSweet and Equal) as the most dangerous food additive on the market. It accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the US Food and Drug Association. People have died because they used aspartame regularly.

Sucralose (Splenda), acesulfame-K (Sunette), and saccharin (Sweet'N Low) are also questionable, according to Dr. Janet Starr Hull, author of the e-book 10 Steps to Detoxification (detoxprogram.net).

Also be wary of fructose. Several clinical studies, including one published in November 2002's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, indicate fructose contributes to heart disease, high triglycerides, and diabetes. That doesn't mean you should avoid fruit. Whole fruit contains very little fructose and is a great food choice.

Eating healthy allows for occasional treats. Just be sure they're made with the natural sweeteners listed in the accompanying chart. These are just some of the natural sweeteners available. Visit your health food store for more ideas.

Natural Sweeteners

Pure maple syrup :
Baked goods, cakes.
Substitute 2/3 to 3/4 cup (165 to 175 mL) maple syrup for 1 cup (250 mL) white sugar. Reduce liquid by 3 Tbsp (45 mL). Also add 1/4 tsp (1 mL) baking soda per 1 cup (250 mL) maple syrup.

Barley malt syrup:
Spice cakes, gingerbread, baked beans. Combine with other sweeteners for best results.
Substitute 1 1/3 cups (325 mL) barley malt for 1 cup (250 mL) white sugar. Reduce liquid by 1/4 cup (60 mL). Add 1/4 tsp (1 mL) baking soda per 1 cup (250 mL) barley malt.

Brown rice syrup:
Cookies, crisps, granola, pies, puddings. For cakes, combine with another sweetener such as maple syrup.
Substitute 1 1/3 cups (325 mL) for 1 cup (250 mL) white sugar. Reduce liquid by 1/4 cup (60 mL). Add 1/4 tsp (1 mL) baking soda per 1 cup (250 mL) rice syrup.

Honey:
Baked goods, herbal teas, coffee.
Substitute 2/3 to 3/4 cup (165 to 175 mL) for 1 cup (250 mL) white sugar. Reduce liquid by ¼ cup (60 mL). Add 1/4 tsp (1 mL) baking soda per 1 cup (250 mL) honey. Reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees and adjust baking time.

Blackstrap molasses:
Zucchini bread, cookies.
Substitute equal amount.

Stevia:
All types of cooking, baking, beverages.
Substitute 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) powder for 1 cup (250 mL) sugar.

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