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8 Natural Sugar & Sweeteners for Your Healthy Body.

Updated on June 26, 2011

Natural is a better choice.

From the last time, I have written about the danger of sugar and how to moderate your sugar daily intake for your health. Too much sugar is never good to anyone, but if you have to use sugar, a natural, unrefined sugar would be a healthier choice.
There are many kinds of sugar that you can use as an alternative to refined white sugar. These are natural sweeteners and some of them has slow absorption rate, which is good for your blood-sugar levels.

1. Natural Sugar cane or raw sugar

This term refers to unrefined sugars.The nutrients, flavor and color have not been removed since they undergo minimal processing during production. Raw sugars can range from yellow to brown in color. A variety of raw sugars are made by crystallizing evaporated cane juice, which is boiled down to a crystalline solid, then purifying the product slightly with minimal chemical processing. It has more complex flavors and better nutrition.

Unrefined raw cane sugar.
Unrefined raw cane sugar.

2. Agave Nectar

Agave syrup (or nectar) is produced from an agave plant. Its fleshy leaves cover the pineapple-shaped heart of the plant, which contains a sweet sticky juice. Agave syrup(or nectar) is about 90% fructose. Only recently has it come in use as a sweetener. It has a low glycemic level and can be a safe alternative to table sugar. Although it has a low glycemic value (because the glycemic are measured by the level of glucose, which is low in this syrup), according to some experts, if fructose is consumed after eating a large meal that overly raises the blood sugar, its property can turn out to affect the raising of blood sugar, too. So it is a good thing to keep in mind to eat high-fructose dessert on an empty stomach. The light syrup has a more neutral flavor. 3/4 cup of gave nectar should equal 1 cup of table sugar.

Agave Fields.
Agave Fields.
Agave nectar.
Agave nectar.

3. Rice Syrup

Made from soaked and sprouted rice (sometimes a combination of rice and barley), which is dried and cooked down to a thick syrup using enzymes to break down carbohydrates into sugar. Rice syrup contains a high level of maltose, which gives it a low glycemic index. It has a deep, earthy,malty flavor and less sweet than refined white sugar. Rice syrup is including barley malt syrup and brown rice syrup. The product is 50 % complex carbohydrates, 45% maltose and 3 % glucose, which takes time for the body to absorb into the blood stream. Rice syrup is healthy because it is made from whole food and doesn't require many processing.

Rice syrup has a light texture and flavor.
Rice syrup has a light texture and flavor.
Brown rice syrup.
Brown rice syrup.

4. Raw Organic Honey.

Commercial honey can be high in refined sugar and corn syrup because the manufacturer needs to control the cost of the product. Raw, Organic Honey is a much better choice if you can find one. People have been eating honey for thousands of years, and raw honey is believed to have a number of health benefits. Raw honey is one and a half times sweeter than sugar so you can use less than normal sugar. Natural honey contains vitamins or minerals, but however, it can raise your blood sugar level as much as white sugar. 1/2 cup of honey is equal to 1 cup of white sugar.

Raw honey.
Raw honey.

5. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is a natural sweetener that is produced from the sap of the maple tree which has significantly high sugar content. It can be used in cooking, making candies and just about everything. Maple syrup is a very good source of manganese and zinc. Manganese has strong antioxidant properties and is also a natural energy booster. Zinc is also a potent antioxidant and even helps protect our hearts from damage. Furthermore, manganese and zinc help strengthens the body’s immune system. Maple Syrup 1/3 cup is equal to 1 cup white sugar.

Maple syrup.
Maple syrup.
Maple tree leaves.
Maple tree leaves.

6. Blackstrap Molasses

Simply explained, Molasses is made from sugar canes that have gone through the process of extracting and making sugar. The by-product or 'waste' from processing sugar cane or beet is molasses. There are three grades of molasses : sulphured, unsulphured, and blackstrap. Sulphured molasses comes from unripened green sugar cane. Because it is not ripened, sulphur has to be used in order to produce sugar. Sulphure is not good for consumption. Unsulphured molasses is obviously a better choice. Blackstrap molasses comes from the third boiling of sugar syrup. The thick dark liquid contains the most nutrients of all.

Blackstrap molasses is rich in iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and manganese. Blackstrap molasses has a low glycemic index which means that the body can absorb it slowly. It is not only good for sweetener but It has also been used in many remedies for holistic healing purpose. 1/2 Cup of blackstrap molasses equal 1 cup of sugar.

Blackstrap molasses in a bottle.
Blackstrap molasses in a bottle.
Blackstrap molasses is thick and has dark color.
Blackstrap molasses is thick and has dark color.

7. Stevia

Stevia is the world’s only all natural sweetener with zero calories, zero carbohydrates and a zero glycemic index. Stevia has been used by Native people in Paraguay and other parts of South America for centuries. This wonder plant is many times sweeter than sugar and can be used in cooking, baking and just about anything you like. The therapeutic properties of stevia include adding into medicinal teas for treating heartburn and other ailments. Medical research has shown that stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose and even enhancing glucose tolerance. Stevia can be used in treating obesity and hypertension. This may sound too good to be true but the safety of stevia is well documented in over 200 published scientific studies. The reference link is down here. 2 Tablespoon of stevia equals 1 cup of white sugar.

8. Xylitol

Xylitol is a substance like sugar alcohol that is used as a sugar substitute. Xylitol is synthesized from the fibers of many fruits and vegetables, including various berries, corn husks, oats, and mushrooms. It can be extracted from corn fiber, birch, raspberries, and plums. It has a low glycemic index value and low in calories. Xylitol is claimed to be safe and can be used for dental care because its property .(Non-fermentable, Xylitol is alkaline-enhancing vs. sugar's acid-forming so bacteria cannot use it for energy) Furthermore, Studies has shown that xylitol can be used as a treatment for osteoporosis, respiratory infections and candida yeast. Xylitol is meant to be eaten by small dose. Over consumption of xylitol may result in diarrhea, bloating and flatulence. The sweetness is just like sugar.

Xylitol comes in powder form, and it is usually added to low-carolies or sugar free mint, gum and many products.
Xylitol comes in powder form, and it is usually added to low-carolies or sugar free mint, gum and many products.

You always have a choice.

Now you know that you can always add some sweetness to your life by chosing what is best for your health. Remember one golden rule : Everything has its own balance. When chosing sweeteners, a natural and healthy one is always better. However, always remember that nothing is never meant to be good if it is too much or too less. Play by quality, not quantity. Use these sweeteners considerably and always keep in mind that everything that is too much will be poisonous to your body.


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    • 11Lucima profile image


      8 years ago


      This is a great article and what I was looking for. Im writing an article about sugar in our drinks and the rise in diseases in society due to unhealthy lifestyles. I would like to put a link to your hub in my article if that is okay with you. Thanks again for the knowledge.


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