Date: 6/5/2012 6:49 AM PDT
JLove’s Top 10: Favorite Natural Sweeteners
Our palates were created to experience
bitter, sour, salty and sweet. It is important to balance out theses tastes and
to do so in moderation. So, the question becomes...how much sugar should I eat
in a single day? The answer is, probably less than you are doing now. Surveys
show that the average American consumes 22.2 teaspoons of added sugar every
The recommended sugar intake for adult women is 5
teaspoons (20 grams) of sugar per day, for adult men, it’s 9 teaspoons (36
grams) daily, and for children, it's 3 teaspoons (12 grams) a day. This is
based upon a 2000 calorie diet.
Naturally occurring sugars are not bad and, in most
cases, do not need to be avoided. Moderation is the key!
Here are 10 delicious natural sweeteners to consider:
1) Agave Nectar: Agave nectar is a natural liquid
sweetener made from the juice of the agave cactus. It is 1.4 times sweeter than
refined sugar, but does not create a sugar rush, and is much less disturbing to
the body’s blood sugar levels than white sugar.**
2) Brown Rice Syrup: This product consists of brown rice
that has been ground and cooked, converting the starches to maltose. Brown rice
syrup tastes like moderately sweet butterscotch and is quite delicious. In
recipes, you may have to use up to 50% more brown rice syrup than sugar and
reduce the amount of other liquids.
3) Cane Juice/Syrup**: Cane juice/syrup is
sucrose that has been extracted from the sugarcane plant that has not been
refined; it is also referred to as raw sugar. Sugarcane is a sustainable plant;
when it is cut above the roots, the stalks will regrow the next season and
produce for many years before it is exhausted.
Turbinado sugar is a type
of sugar cane extract. It is made by steaming unrefined raw sugar. So-called
raw sugars comprise yellow to brown sugars made by clarifying the source syrup
by boiling and drying with heat, until it becomes a crystalline solid.
4) Coconut Palm Sugar: is a naturally sweet, nutrient-rich
juice that is tapped from the coconut tree and secretes from the coconut
blossoms. It is made from boiling down the flowers from the coconut plant and
then dehydrated into crystals. This sap
is low glycemic, contains 17 amino acids, minerals, vitamin C, broad-spectrum B
vitamins, and has a nearly neutral pH.
5) Date Sugar: Date sugar consists of finely ground,
dehydrated dates, utilizing this fruit’s vitamin, mineral and fiber content. If
you like the taste of dates, this will definitely appeal to you. Date sugar can
be used as a direct replacement for sugar and comes in a granulated form.
6) Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is made from boiled‐down maple tree sap and contains many
minerals. 40 gallons of sap are needed to make one gallon of maple syrup. It
adds a pleasant flavor to foods and is great for baking. Be sure to buy 100%
pure maple syrup and not maple‐flavored
7) Molasses: Organic molasses is probably the most
nutritious sweetener derived from sugar cane or sugar beet, and is made by a
process of clarifying and blending the extracted juices. The longer the juice
is boiled, the less sweet, more nutritious and darker the product is. Molasses
imparts a very distinct flavor to food. Blackstrap molasses, the most
nutritious variety, is a good source of iron,calcium, magnesium and potassium.
8) Rapadura**: It is essentially pure dried sugarcane
juice, in the form of a brick, and is largely produced on site at sugarcane
plantations in the very warm tropical regions. This brand‐name product is made from a process of
extracting juice from the sugarcane plant, evaporating the water from the
juice, and then grinding the results into a fine powdery texture.Rapadura is
organic, rich in vitamins and minerals and unrefined.
9) Stevia: This leafy herb has been used for
centuries by native South Americans. The extract from stevia is 100 to 300
times sweeter than white sugar. It can be used in cooking, baking and
beverages, does not affect blood sugar levels and has zero calories. Stevia is
available in a powder or liquid form, but be sure to get the green or brown
liquids or powders, because the white and clear versions are highly refined.
10) Sucanat**: Short for "Sugar Cane Natural",
this brand‐name product is
non-refined cane sugar. Unlike refined and processed white sugar, Sucanat
retains its molasses content; it is essentially pure dried sugar cane juice.
The juice is extracted by mechanical processes, heated and cooled at which
point the small brown grainy crystals are formed.
**Technically, the names
are mostly misnomers. Historically speaking, Rapadura is the name of a candy
which we have adopted to name this sugar product. Sucanat is a registered
trademark which has become fairly synonymous with it's product (kinda like
Kleenex). Evaporated cane juice is essentially a finer version of Turbinado and
is made exactly how it sounds. It does contain considerably less molasses
(hence less vitamins and minerals) than the others.
Theme for the
I know we all have this problem...Songs that get stuck in your head, you know...You hear the song just once and then all day BAM! the song is being repeated in your head all day like a broken record. So this playlist is all of the songs that have been stuck in my head all week. I have been singing, humming, shaking to them all week. Enjoy Nibblers!
Where have you been
Heavy in your arms
by Florence + The Machine
Call it what you
Want by Foster the People
The Voice Within by