Sugar Substitutes

I’ve had this topic on my ‘to blog about’ list for a long time.  I just keep putting it off because there is so much to say that I have no idea where to start! 😉  I think a lot of my followers and readers already know a lot about this subject, but it is definitely something I feel passionate about.  That is in part due to the fact that my husbands health has seen a dramatic change since the change in our diets!  

Brian 2007

Now… with his permission I share these before and after photos of him. A lot of this was due to diet changes, but he also changed from a food service job (4 star hotel in DC with lots of good eats) to climbing trees to take them down or trim them.  He did used to have a gym membership, but now his job is his gym and I’m sure that has made a huge difference as well (except that he eats twice as much as the rest of us now!)

DSC08285

But this post is supposed to be about sugar… not my studly husband!

I did post a while back about what Sally Fallon says about carbohydrates which briefly touches on sugars and also did a post about the dangers of sugar and what health related problems could be related to sugar consumption.

So even though that information is helpful, it doesn’t really help us to know what options would be better…. We have definitely cut out all white sugar which was actually quite simple, although it is a hidden ingredient in EVERYTHING processed.  By cutting out processed foods it greatly helps.  What I mean by white sugars are all things labeled fructose, high fructose corn syrup, concentrated fruit juice (which is essentially the same as fructose), “natural” sweeteners, turbinado and sucanat (which is a filtered sugar and the nutrients have been removed).

I generally stick to fruit, fresh or dried, as a sweetener, honey or maple syrup.  I do use rapadura for making kombucha, but that is about it.  That is what we have opted for, but there are other options out there.  I have chosen those because there are healthful properties to honey and both honey and maple syrup is minimally processed and rarely has anything added to it if purchasing it at a reputable source.

The following is a list of a few other good options:

Rapadura: This is dehydrated cane sugar juice.  It is cosely related to sugar and can upset body chemistry just like sugar if overdone.  It is much less processed and is still rich in minerals unlike white sugar.  It is easy to use and can be substituted in most baking where sugar is an ingredient.

Stevia Powder: This made from an herb, but is still very processed.  Especially if it is in white powder form.  It is VERY sweet and isn’t a good substitute for baking because it doesn’t add the bulk that sugar does.  I personally think it has a better aftertaste and prefer not to use it.

Molasses: I do use this on occasion.  It is a “waste” product of making refined sugar.  If it is from fertile soil it will have a lot of minerals, especially iron, calcium, copper and chromium.

Date Sugar: It’s expensive, doesn’t dissolve very well, hard to use in cooking, so I’ve opted against using it, but it is still a beneficial option for sweeteners.

There are also others like Malted Grain Syrups, sorghum syrup as well as others.  I’ve chosen not to use any of these either due to the fact they are grain based and also take a lot of processing to extract.

I’d love to hear what you think and what has worked for you!  What options have you chosen and why?

 

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