All sweeteners simply put are NOT created equal. In fact, there are so many different types out there, that it can all be quite confusing. But the truth of the matter is, we all love things to be sweet, especially if you are a coffee or tea drinker. The different types of sweeteners out there have variable things that make them good or bad. One thing that is important to consider is the Glycemic index of them. This is crucial as a high glycemic index diet can be extremely harmful to your health. According to an Harvard Health Publication, a diet with a high glycemic index is linked to all of the following: increased risk of prostate, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers, increased risk of breast cancer, and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Find out what your sweetener is doing…
This calorie-free sweetener is produced from the South American Stevia plant itself. A little goes a long way with this sweeter, as it is much more potent than regular plain old sugar. Making sure you are using 100% organic Stevia is important, as many brands are mixing this sweetener with other harmful chemicals and ingredients. Pure Stevia is carb and calorie free, giving it a GI of 0!
Pure honey is about 38% fructose and 31% glucose, but comes with a load of health benefits. It’s antibacterial and antiviral properties are a super plus, but its enzymes, proteins, flavonoids are what truly make this sweetener SWEET for your health! On the GI ranking honey is pretty high and relatively similar to sugar. The main difference to keep in mind are the other health benefits that honey has to offer to offset its unfavorable GI level.
Ranking high on the GI scale, all natural maple syrup comes straight from the sap of a maple tree. And though it might not be GI favorable, it is low in fructose, and offers other benefits such as manganese, iron, and calcium. Similarly to honey, this sweetener is a good option in the appropriate portions.
This sweetener, often confused with Stevia, is made from erythritol. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol made from corn. On the positive side it is low in calories, but on the negative your gut bacteria absorbs this sweetener in entirety. Sugar alcohols ferment in your stomach, and therefore oftentimes results in diarrhea, cramps, bloating, and gas.
A trending sugar alternative, coconut sugar is full of potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C. It also comes in extremely low on the GI scale. This type of sugar does particularly well when used in baking.
This type of sugar is also referred to as sucrose. It is made up of fructose and glucose, and ranks very high on the GI scale.
This is also a sucrose sugar, but gets its brown color from it being combined with molasses. There truly are no health advantages with this sugar.
Coconut nectar is the sap from a coconut tree, and it’s rich in B Vitamins, Vitamin C and minerals like potassium. It also includes FOS, a probiotic that feeds healthy bacteria in the gut (major bonus!). It’s a great sweetener, but because of its strong flavor and viscosity, it doesn’t swap into recipes in exact cup for cup quantities. So be aware of this if you’re using coconut nectar for baking.
Agave nectar is often heralded as low on the glycemic index (15), however, processing techniques result in a 75% or more fructose content. This means, it’s still going to do a pretty good job at spiking your blood sugar (not ideal)
Splenda (or sucralose) starts off as sugar, but in the factory, chlorine molecules are added to the sugar molecule to make sucralose. Because of this chemical modification, the body does not metabolize or digest it properly. It has been linked to an increased risk for cancer (but claims are controversial).
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