Friday, April 6, 2012

Sugar alternatives

Yesterday, I posted about the potential dangers of sugar in the diet and how this toxic little buddy of our taste buds can lead to a wide range of health problems like cardiovascular disease and cancer. The 60 Minutes video clip in the post is pretty powerful - and if you haven't watched it yet, I recommend you do.

While I firmly believe sugar is something to be avoided, I'm also not going to live a life deprived of sweetness! In our house, we use a variety of natural sweeteners as alternatives to sugar.

We use:
- 100% real maple syrup (organic, when we can find it)
- Organic, locally produced honey (which also helps with my husband's seasonal allergies)
- Organic brown rice syrup

Why organic? Conventionally produced sweeteners often contain synthetic preservatives and sometimes fillers that we'd rather avoid if we can. Organic might cost slightly more, but we've found that we make up the cost by avoiding the processed, sugary foods we used to consume on a daily basis (soda, cookies, candy, etc).

The three sweeteners we list above are the ones we've found to work best for our family. Many health foodies also recommend stevia, blackstrap molasses, coconut sugar, date sugar and barley malt syrup. I've used coconut sugar, molasses and barley malt syrup successfully in the past, but have a heck of a hard time finding it here in the Netherlands.
 
As you experiment with natural sweeteners, take note of which ones work best for you and your family - and decide on the best fits for your lifestyle.

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