Week 7: Enjoy safer sweeteners kick the chemical ones – 52 Weeks of Wellness

This week I want to focus on safer options for sweeteners. Have you ever considered why so many people have a bad perception of sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup? Further more, why is sugar thought to be so bad when it occurs naturally in many "good for you" foods like fruits?

Believe it or not, natural sugar isn't bad. The problem lies in the amount of it we consume and also in finding the truly naturally occurring sugars INSTEAD of the chemical ones.

Natural Sugars to Try:

Raw agave (cactus nectar), coconut nectar and/or 100% stevia are good options.
Raw honey, raw cane and pure maple syrup are good too but can disrupt blood sugar levels. (Note: Raw means the food has not been heated and thus the nutrients have NOT been destroyed.)
Dates (medjool) are a great snack and chopped/blended for a wonderful fruit sweetener.

For a treat try seeding a few, then place an almond in middle with raw coconut. YUM! Best almond joy ever!

Your Action Step: Try a different sweetener and let me know what you think in the comments below. One warning is that with stevia products and ALL products, READ the ingredient label carefully. Some stevia is not 100% stevia and many other products make claims on the packaging that are not supported in the ingredients. Remember product packaging and wording ISN'T regulated so beware and do your homework before committing to buy.

For example, many stevia producers state their product is "natural". However, if the first ingredient is not stevia, put it back on the shelf.

Next we'll discuss the top 3 chemical sweeteners and the damage they cause the body.

5 replies
  1. Rayna
    Rayna says:

    We have tried stevia and I like it in small amounts. My kids do not like it. We do use agave a lot. I really like that and so do my kids.
    I have never heard of coconut nectar. Where can we buy it locally? (Evansville)
    Also love dates when I am wanting a sweet treat. Can’t wait to try your “Almond Joy” version!
    Honestly, I will say that I have tried to GREATLY LOWER just how sweet we think things need to be anyway. Not even using as much substitutes and we don’t use artificial sweeteners at all. HFCS is a huge no no in my house! Thankfully my kids are still in the molding process and “I” can choose for the “we” for a few more years yet.
    Thanks for your posts Bonnie!

    Reply
    • admin
      admin says:

      Rayna,
      I picked up the coconut nectar in Elbert’s on Virginia Street. Great questions and congratulations in instilling good habits with your kids while they are young.

      Reply
  2. Gwen
    Gwen says:

    Regarding agave and stevia… I was looking into alternative sweeteners and came across some info about agave nectar being highly processed and that negating any benefits you might receive from a sugar sub. Just curious what you thought about that. Also, I’ve found conflicting information about stevia, that it can be carcinogenic? Could that be a result of processing as well? I was thinking about planting some stevia this year but decided against it until I know for certain whether it is a beneficial substitute. We love raw honey so that’s what we usually use when we do need a sweetener but its consistency messes with some things.

    Reply
    • admin
      admin says:

      Gwen,
      Great questions. You are correct that there is concern and conflicting information with the processing of agave. However, using the raw version should mean that it is less processed than the non raw version. Raw honey is great but can disrupt the blood sugar levels. My philosophy is to reduce/eliminate sweeteners as much as possible and to use them as an occasional treat. Everything in moderation is the key.

      Reply

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