Guide To The Best All-Natural Sweeteners

Do you have a sweet tooth? Most of us do! There was a time when we believed we could enjoy our sweets fat free and low calorie, but many of us found out later that our health suffered for it. Harmful side effects from artificial sweeteners can include headaches and migraines, depression and anxiety, muscle pain, chronic fatigue, digestive disorders, and shrunken thymus glands that affect immune control and impair liver and kidney function. While calories were cut, concern rose over the side effects that could no longer be dismissed. This information began our education of sweeteners and sparked a renewed interest in all-natural alternatives. While we know the healthiest source of sugar comes in the form of fruit and vegetables, many of us still want our cookies and sweets. Now our sweets are being reinvented using all-natural sweeteners. By examining taste, calories, and health benefits, you can determine which of these three all-natural sweeteners is the best for you!

1. Raw Honey: Raw honey has a sweet, floral, and somewhat creamy flavor. It contains antioxidants, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, riboflavin, and niacin. All of these nutrients help neutralize free-radical damage and provide essential vitamins and minerals to keep the body healthy. One tablespoon of raw honey has 64 calories, and it’s sweeter than table sugar, so less is needed to sweeten foods. The best way to use it is drizzled on cereal, yogurt, toast and in salad dressings. If raw honey is heated, it loses some of its nutritional benefits, but can still be used to sweeten tea or coffee once the liquid is at a comfortable drinking temperature.
2. Stevia: Stevia is taken from an herb native to Central and South America and has been used as a sweetener for hundreds of years. It has no calories, no carbs and a zero glycemic index, but some experience a bitter aftertaste when using this sweetener. Unlike honey, stevia can be exposed to heat so it can be used in cooking and baking. However, stevia is 200 times sweeter than sugar, so the recipe ratios must be adjusted.
3. Maple Syrup: Pure maple syrup, made from the boiled sap of maple trees, is a source of maganese, and contains calcium, potassium and zinc. Besides being rich in antioxidants, maple syrup neutralizes free radicals and reduces oxidative damage. Because maple syrup is heat-stable, it can be used for cooking and baking, but it does have a distinct flavor.
As excess sugar consumption is linked to more health problems, all-natural sweeteners will continue to gain in popularity. They provide a better alternative to refined and artificial sweeteners, providing health benefits while minimizing caloric consumption. Although there are a variety of all-natural sweeteners, you don’t have to like or use them all. Figure out which one suits your taste and needs and start replacing your artificial and refined sweeteners . By opening the door to this change, you’ll find the best sweeteners that Mother Nature intended.



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