We all know that refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) can be bad news if consumed in unhealthy quantities. As a result, many of us turn to other sweetener, natural and artificial, as alternatives. Still, with so many sweetener options available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused.
While sweetener remains sweetener no matter where it comes from, some products are actually more nourishing than others and can be considered a better option when it comes to fulfilling your sweet tooth. To help you get a handle on which sweeteners are healthier for you to eat regularly and which you should avoid, we’ve pulled together the latest research. Here are the three that made the cut:
This herb, native to South America, has been one of the primary sweeteners in South America and Japan for centuries. Used as a simple sugar substitute, Stevia has no calories (zero – really it’s true!) and actually has no glycemic effect, meaning that diabetics and people looking to lose weight can both enjoy its benefits without worry.
Here’s an interesting fact about Stevia: It is actually 200 times sweeter than regular sugar!
Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener found in many fruits, berries and vegetables such as beets or corn. It is as sweet as sugar, but is absorbed into the body only partially, meaning that it contributes less calories than regular sugar and has a much lower glycemic impact.
Xylitol packs a punch, so you need to use much smaller amounts when baking or adding it to coffee or tea. Another cool benefit? Xylitol can actually prevent bacteria from forming plaque on your teeth. You’ll often find it as a primary ingredient in sugar-free gum and dental cleaners for this very reason.
Raw honey is one of the most fantastic and versatile food items on earth. Not only does raw honey work wonders as an antibacterial, antibiotic, and treatment for allergies, digestion and other ailments, it is a wonderful sweetener full of antioxidants, important minerals, amino acids, enzymes, phytonutrients and just about anything else positive you could imagine.
Every one of these options is a significant improvement when compared to basic, processed sugars like regular white granulated sugar or high fructose corn syrup. But remember, any sweetening agent can be overused. Too much of a sweetener can overwhelm the liver and become a bad fat, so make sure that you use them in moderation.
Have you used any of these alternative sweeteners? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
Originally published for Care2 at: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/3-sweeteners-that-are-actually-good-for-you.html#ixzz46IWLLsmV