Highly processed, refined sugars have none of the nutritional value that can be found in their natural forms. After cane sugar has been processed, all that’s left is sucrose, (50% fructose and 50% glucose.) These simple sugars react with amino acids to create compounds known as “AGE’s” (Advanced Glycation End-products.) These AGE’s create inflammation, which can activate and aggravate our immune systems. AGE’s may also contribute to the development of chronic degenerative diseases, such as Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes.
Why switch to natural sweeteners?
While natural sweeteners are often composed of the same elements, they provide additional benefits to our health. They’re packed with nutrients that can help us enjoy those delicious treats, year after year!
This delicious, exotic sugar is made from the nectar found within the budding flowers of coconut trees. The nectar is collected, then heated to evaporate moisture. The result is a sweet, unrefined sugar with underlying notes of caramel.
Unlike conventional refined sugar, coconut sugar provides trace minerals, electrolytes, and antioxidants. Coconut sugar also contains a fiber called inulin, which acts as a prebiotic and may slow glucose absorption in the body. This may explain why coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index than cane sugar.
Maple syrup is made from the sap of the maple tree. During the winter months, the sugary sap is collected, then boiled until most of the water evaporates. After filtering out any impurities, what remains is delicious, 100% pure maple syrup.
Maple syrup is a great source of manganese, and also contains some calcium, potassium, and zinc. Rich in antioxidants, this all-natural sweetener may help neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative damage.
Date sugar, as the name suggests, is simply dehydrated dates that have been ground into small pieces. Dates are high in fiber and easy to digest. Dates also contain potassium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, and vitamin B6.
Date sugar comes from fruit, so it will have a higher glycemic index compared to most sugars. This means that it may not be the best option for those living with diabetes. Additionally, date sugar does not dissolve completely and therefore doesn’t always work well in some recipes.
When eating cane sugar, look for organic, unrefined options to avoid synthetic pesticides, herbicides and toxic chemicals.