Natural Sweeteners

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Answers to many Questions about natural sugars

Fructose & Agave as sweeteners  
Although fructose does not raise blood sugar like glucose or cane sugar, it has other possible adverse effects in the body, so it's use should be limited. High fructose corn syrup, the manufactured product found in so many food these days,  is even worse and should be avoided. 

More on Fructose - from Dr. Mercola and Dr. Lustig

Dr. Mercola on Fructose and Agave and also here

Fructose Overload Infographic

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Agave produced from the blue agave cactus. Sweeter and lower in Glycemic Index because of a high fructose content, it is not the natural juice of the plant (as with maple syrup), but requires an enzymatic process to break the long chains of inulin molecules into the constituent fructose molecules.

 Because of the fructose in agave, it's use should be very limited - half a teaspoon at a time.
 I do not recommend its use for baking, as a substitute for sugar. 

Some sources with info:

Wilderness Family Naturals on truly raw agave http://www.wildernessfamilynaturals.com/agave.htm 

Raw Blue Agave: http://www.farmsteadfresh.com/onlineStore.html (see bottom of page)

Blue Agave Nectar :http://blueagavenectar.com/buyblueagavenectar.html   

 http://www.sweetcactusfarms.com/products.htm .

Other sources - http://www.madhavahoney.com/agave.htm, & www.organicsyrups.biz

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Yacon - Another fructose sweetener, so be cautious, but the fructose is in the form of indigestible complex molecules, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), that feed the friendly gut microbes - source & source - more info - see http://tinyurl.com/yacon234 

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Luo Han Guo - a sweet fruit grown in southern China, used as low calorie sugar substitute.
           
See also bodyecology.com/articles/luo_han_guo_healing_fruit.php 
            and www.raysahelian.com/luo_han_guo.html  

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Regular sugars

Molasses - is very flavorful and mineral rich, especially iron.

Wholesome Sweeteners www.organicsyrups.biz - click on 'Retail' for a list.

Raw Honey: Some facts about raw honey

Calorie and carbohydrate comparisons (per tablespoon):

White sugar 48 cal, 12.5 gm carb (natural sugars such as Sucanat would be about the same)

Agave nectar 45 cal, 11 gm carb

Honey 64 cal, 17.4 gm carb

All these natural sweeteners contain calories and should be used in moderation! My son finally weaned himself off soda pop by making iced tea sweetened with a small amount of agave plus a bit of Stevia.

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Sugar Alcohols are sweet but not digestible. They are not generally recommended, with the exception of erythritol:

  • Xylitol - a sugar alcohol - okay in small amounts, but is refined and of little nutritional value - see Xylitol side bar on this page
  • Erythritol  is 6070% as sweet as table sugar yet it is almost non-caloric, does not affect blood sugar, does not cause tooth decay, and is mostly excreted in urine and feces. It is less likely to cause gastric side-effects than other sugar alcohols, as it is difficult for gut bacteria to break it down.
  • Z Sweet www.zsweet.com combines erythritol and stevia
  • Lakanto made from Non-GMO erythritol and the supersweet extract of the luo han guo fruit - see bodyecology.com/sugar-substitute-lakanto-sweetener for more explanation.  It's expensive, so don't plan on using it by the cupful!

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