Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Sour Truth About Sweeteners

We have all heard that sugar in one way or another is bad for us. Sugar can cause tooth decay, diabetes, weight gain, irritability, problems with the endocrine system and the sweet stuff is totally addictive. So what’s a girl or boy to do when the sweet tooth demands to be fed? Well in the last few years, many of us have turned to artificial sweeteners such as Splenda, Equal, Sweet ‘n’ Low, etc. But now, studies are showing that these artificial sweeteners, though low in calories, have actually been causing weight gain, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and elevated blood pressure (Circulation, July 2007 and Behavioral Neuroscience, Vol.122, No.1) .

So now what? Give up on cookies or just sacrifice our heath? NO WAY! There are fantastic natural sweeteners that are becoming more available and less expensive. Here are a few to try without guilt or fear that your body will react negatively towards them…

Evaporated Cane Juice: This is the closest sweetener to normal table sugar (Kashi uses it in all their products and you seriously can not taste the difference). The great thing about Evaporated Cane Juice is that it isn’t processed as much as regular sugar and so retains the nutrients of sugar such as B2 or riboflavin.

Stevia: This sweet alternative to “bad” sugar is derived from plants found in China and South America. Stevia doesn’t contain calories nor does it effect blood sugar levels plus it helps regulate the digestive tract. Stevia is sweeter than sugar so you don’t have to use as much…hurray!

Maple Syrup: Nope…not the Mrs. Butterworth kind, but pure maple syrup has fewer calories and more minerals such as manganese and zinc than honey. This sticky sweet alternative to sugar is good for the heart, immune system and for the guys, male reproductive health.

So give in to your sweet side with sweet stuff that won’t weigh you down and your body will thank you for it!

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