Refined sugar contains no micronutrients, no fiber, & people are eating way too much of it (estimated consumption in the U.S. is 3x over the recommended 25 grams per day!) Overindulging in added sugar has serious health consequences such as weight gain, diabetes, & heart disease. In today’s nutrition video, I’m sharing five top natural sweeteners starting with highest antioxidant content. These are all better alternatives to refined white sugar because they either contain minerals, antioxidants, fiber, or have a lower glycemic index.
- Date Sugar: made by grinding whole dates into a powder. Because it’s still the whole fruit & completely unrefined, it contains the same nutrient content as dates-considerable amounts of fiber, minerals, & vitamins.
- Blackstrap Molasses: the dark, thick molasses that remains after extracting sugar from raw sugar cane. It contains iron, calcium, magnesium, & selenium.
- 100% Maple Syrup: contains trace minerals such as calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, & iron - also contains phenolic compounds. Pure maple syrup is completely unprocessed (don’t confuse pure maple syrup for pancake syrup…brands like aunt jemima are basically high fructose corn syrup!)
- Honey: can be sold raw or refined. Raw honey is completely unprocessed & contains antioxidants, phenolic compounds, B vitamins & iron along with antibacterial compounds that can benefit your immune system. However, the nutrient content varies depending on the source of the nectar & is lower in refined honey.
- Coconut Sugar: similar to regular table sugar, but the manufacturing process is more natural and it contains trace amounts of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, & calcium.
- When it comes to the HEALTHIEST ‘natural sugar alternative’, the best option is...LESS! Truth is, none of these foods are going to provide you with near as many antioxidants & nutrients as natural sweet whole foods like fresh fruit. You’d have to eat at least 1/4 cup to reap the benefits of most of these sweeteners, which is WAY more sugar than anyone should have in a day. Rather than going overboard on natural sugars, just work towards using LESS overall. In the end they are all mostly sugar.