best sugars

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mindbodygreen – best sugars

 

1. Raw honey

Why I like it: I’m a bit obsessed with raw honey given all of its uses and health benefits. Raw honey has natural enzymes that are great for digestion, has antimicrobial properties, antioxidants, and small amounts of minerals and vitamins. Its GI is a lot lower than sugar, around 35 to 50 depending on the type.

Note: Conventional honey is pasteurized so lacks these beneficial raw enzymes, and has an extremely high GI. So always opt for raw, and if you can afford it, try Manuka honey, which has the most enzymes.

Uses: So many! I use it as a face wash/mask as it’s great for acne. It’s also great for fighting a cold, so if you’re getting sick, there’s nothing better than a warm ginger tea with lemon and raw honey. It can even help with cuts/burns.

And if I need a tad of sweetener in my teas, oatmeal, smoothies, or homemade desserts, raw honey is my go-to.

2. Maple syrup

Why I like it: First, it tastes delicious. But also, it contains lots of antioxidants, small amounts of minerals, and it’s lower in calories than honey. It has a lower percent of fructose (around 35 percent) and lower GI (around 50 to 55) than sugar, so it’s less likely to cause a spike in your blood sugar.

Note: Make sure it has only one ingredient—100 percent pure maple syrup (with no added high-fructose corn syrup or other additives).

Uses: I use it in salad dressings, for sweet veggie recipes, to bake my granola or healthy desserts, and, of course, to drizzle on pancakes!

3. Stevia

Why I like it: Stevia extract is derived from the South American stevia plant, which has been around for centuries. It has no calories and has very little impact on your blood sugar. If you don’t mind the taste, this might be your #1 option.

Note: Make sure you buy 100 percent pure stevia extract; try to avoid stevia in most packaged products and packets that are processed and not pure stevia. Also, it’s important to use sparingly as it’s over 100 times sweeter than sugar (and can have an aftertaste).

Uses: I use a VERY SMALL amount to sweeten my smoothies, chia puddings, or oatmeal if they need a tiny bit of extra sweetness. It’s also great to sweeten homemade lemonade or tea. It’s not great for baking, though.

4. Coconut palm sugar

Why I like it: I love everything coconut! It’s made from the sap of the coconut palm, less processed than refined sugar, and retains some of the nutrients found in coconut. It’s claimed to have lower GI (around 35) and less fructose versus regular sugar (as coconut sugar is 70 to 80 percent sucrose). However, in terms of calories, it’s the same as sugar.

Uses: I use it just for baking in lieu of regular sugar.