The baking season is upon us and I know I am concerned about adding on extra weight during this season. How do you continue to enjoy your baking, etc., but limit the sugar and calorie intake? See below for some healthier, natural sweetener choices.Natural sweeteners are a great alternative as they are unrefined or less refined so they retain valuable nutrients. They are also digested more slowly so they don't cause the "sugar blues".
Agave Nectar: made from the agave plant and is made up of mostly fructose, causing it to have a lower glycemic index. Good for vegans and diabetics.
Honey: an excellent choice for people that want to avoid processed sugars altogether. It is minimally processed, however, read labels to ensure it was not overheated, finely filtered or that it doesn't contain sugar or corn syrup. There are lots of different types of honey and dark honey has more minerals than light honey.
Fructose: found naturally in fruits and honey. Most commercial fructose is made from refined corn syrup and can cause an allergic reaction to those allergic to corn. Excess fructose in the diet can cause your triglyceride levels to rise increasing risk of heart disease.
Brown rice syrup: made from brown rice that has been cultured with enzymes, then cooked down to a syrup. It has a mild flavor and is good for baking.
Stevia: made from a plant grown in Brazil, this can be used in baking and to sweeten beverages. It is highly concentrated so you use a lot less of it. It comes in powder and liquid form and is a good substitute for refined sugar.
Fruit Juice Sweeteners: mostly made from grapes, apples and pears. The refining process produces something similar to white sugar.
Highly Refined Sugars You Should avoid:The average American consumes 100 pounds of sugar per year, mostly from highly processed foods and beverages. Avoiding the sugars mentioned below will help to manage weight, diabetes, heart disease, poor sleep patterns, among other health issues:Sugar/White sugar, brown sugar (white sugar with molasses added), Turbinado or Raw Sugar (made same way as white sugar), Corn Syrup and High Fructose Corn Syrup Try some of the healthier suggestions shown above and enjoy your healthier lifestyle!