Source: Perez TV/Youtube

Do you have a sweet tooth, but want to avoid conventional refined sugar? Refined sugar should be avoided due to its extreme processing and lack of nutrition, and you may want to consider switching to healthier alternatives that will taste just as delicious. Julieanna Hever leads us through all those sweeteners out there are and what they mean for our health. She explains that there are many options when it comes to sweeteners, however, her favorites are blackstrap molasses, dates, fruit Puree, pure maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and agave nectar.

Pure organic maple syrup is not refined and includes the minerals and vitamins naturally found in maple sap, such as includes calcium, magnesium, manganese, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and iron. Maple syrup also has a lower glycemic index than sugar and contains antioxidant plant nutrients (known as phenols) that can help your body fight free radicals.

Pure dates are one of the best natural sweetener options. Dates can be transformed into granulated date sugar as well as date syrup. Dates are an incredibly nutritious food full of B vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are also considered lower glycemic than other refined sugars, and their fiber content prevents drastic blood sugar spikes.

Blackstrap molasses is the byproduct of the sugar refinement process. After the sugar cane has been boiled three times and the refined sugar crystals have been collected, blackstrap molasses is what’s leftover — and contains less sugar per teaspoon than regular cane sugar and is extremely high in iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc.

Brown rice syrup is a sweetener derived from brown rice. Although brown rice syrup contains small amounts of minerals like calcium and potassium, it is still syrup and contains few nutrients. It is also high in sugar and calories and acts like 100% glucose inside your body

Agave is considered to be low on the glycemic index and may help you control your blood sugar. It also contains Vitamin B6, which plays a role in how your body breaks down proteins and carbohydrates. Vitamin B6 also keeps your homocysteine levels low which helps prevent heart disease and stroke.

Fruit Purees are a great alternative to oil or butter in baked goods, and can also enhance the flavor. While they may offer more calories than normal fruit as they are more concentrated, purees are a natural way to sweeten recipes and consume essential vitamins and minerals.

Most sugars, whether white sugar, brown rice syrup, or maple syrup, are practically the same in terms of nutritional content in that compared to the amount of refined sugar, they have little to no nutrition. In fact, agave nectar ranks behind conventional white sugar in containing nutrients. Brown rice syrup is last on the list. All-natural sugar alternatives each have their benefits and drawbacks and should be enjoyed in moderation. Only you can decide which alternative is best for you!

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