The low down on natural sugars, part 3 – my thumbs up list
The low down on natural sugars, part 3 – my thumbs up list 3 Aug 2020
In my introduction on natural sugars, I listed a variety of foods that can be added when cooking as a natural sweetner, this would always be my preference. I know there are times when we need a natural alternative to white sugar, previously I listed my thumbs down list of alternatives, so here is my thumbs up list.
Made from the sap of maple trees. It contains 34 beneficial compounds including antioxidants, anti-inflamatories, zinc and magnesium. It doesn't cause problems in the digestive tract so its ok for IBS sufferers. Its a good natural sweetner when baking or as a substitute for honey.
A traditional Ayurvedic ingredient containing B vitamins that has a low gycaemic index (40) so is suitable for diabetics. A good alternative to sugar in cooking, baking and in drinks.
Barley Malt Extract/Syrup
Its an unrefined natural sweetner derived from sprouted, dried, booked and reduced barley malt, which contains some minerals and vitamins. A good choice as a natural sweetner with almost no fructose or sucrose but can give a malty taste.
Brown rice Malt/Syrup
This contains maltotriose, maltose and glucose cheaper versions use enzymes to turn the starches into sugar while others use sprouted grains that realse enzymes which is better. It doesn't contain fructose. It can add a little crunch to baked and cooked products so is good in crumbles, flapjacks or granolas.
Derived from the leaves of a plant from South America with the same name. 300 times sweeter than sugar (sucrose) but with a slightly bitter after taste. Avoid products which aren't 100% stevia. Use in moderation as it primes the body for a certain amount of calories for sweetness, so may increase appetite.
Whole Cane Sugar
A naturally unrefined form of whole sugar that is absorbed more slowly into the blood stream. It can be difficult to find.
Coconut (Palm) Sugar also known as Coconut Nectar or Blossom Syrup
Rich in B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc , 17 amino acids, short-chain fatty acis and antioxidants. It contains inulin which is a prebotic which feeds the benefical bacteria in our gut. However, there are mixed opinions on its sustainability. It is said to taste like brown sugar.
From the yacon or peruvian ground apple. It tastes like a cross between an apple and pear. It contains good amounts of vitamins and minerals plus a prebiotic. It may not be suitable for people with IBS due to its high FOS (fructooligosaccharide) content. It is suitable for diabetics. Use instead of liquid sweeteners like honey and also in baking.
Alternatives to Sugar by Dr M Glenville (Lifestyles Press, 2016).