I LOVE Sweet things! There is no such thing as too sweet. I'm not a chocoholic per se, but rather addicted to sugar. So, what sweetener to use is huge controversy I wrestle with. So today I thought I'd share my own personal sugar philosophy.
Note: Feel Free to disagree with me-I'd love to know how you get your sugar kick! And I am not a Sugar Nazi-occasionally white sugar gets in, but on a whole, this is what I try to do!
HFCS=BAD and here's why. EXTREMELY refined-watch the movie King Corn and take special note of the scene where they attempt to make their own, scary! actually any kind of corn syrup is highly refined and probably contains GMOs. Also, the obesity epidemic in America perfectly correlates with increased consumption of HFCS and its in EVERYTHING! Ketchup, Soda, Cereal, Peanut Butter-you name it! So that's a Huge NO
White Sugar-basically empty calories. No vitamins, no minerals, just calories. It is also Highly refined-did you know it takes 17 ft of sugar cane to make 1 cup of sugar??
Some sugars are bleached with bone as well, making them not vegan. And brown sugar is really no better. All brown sugar is white sugar with a bit of molasses for coloring.
Artificial Sugar- BAD. Fake. Splenda=made from sugar? Its basically a chlorinated sugar molecule-little side story: a group of Chemists were trying to find a substitute for DDT-a toxic pesticide- and due to a language barrier one of them tasted the sample rather than "testing" it. The overwhelming sweetness of the compound they had created gave them the notion to market it as low-calorie sweetener. SCARY! Aspartame is a no-no for people with PKU. "But what about people who are trying to control their calorie intake?" you might say. Well, maybe a diet coke is better than a coke sweetened with HFCS because at least you don't have the calories. But the bottom line is that Artificial Sweeteners are just that-ARTIFICIAL, highly processed and our bodies probably aren't used to them
Honey-does contain some vitamins and minerals, but really not a significant amount. It is less refined than white sugar, and I would consider it more "natural" since its made from bees. Yes I am a vegan who will have honey on occasion. Raw Honey is the best-from local organic beehives.
Agave Nectar-better than sugar in the sense that it has a lower glycemic index, meaning it won't raise your blood sugar levels as much. But it has the same amount of calories as white sugar and can still be highly refined.
So what's a girl to do??
Well, I eat fruit-quite a lot of fruit. Love me some raisins and dates! I also sweeten things with Fruit Juice or applesauce. Brown Rice Syrup is also a good unrefined sugar and great in baked goods.But when I want to make my oatmeal sweeter or do some baking I use:
It is my go-to sweetener. It is natural-its extracted from the leaves of a stevia plant. It has no glycemic index, no calories and is intensely sweet (the leaves are 40x sweeter than sucrose!). It has been used in Japan and South America as a sweetener for years, and recently got approved for use in the US by the FDA. While you used to be able to only find it in the Supplement section of Whole Foods, now companies like Coke are even incorporating it into their foods. Some people complain about a bitter aftertaste or anise taste with it, but new methods of extracting stevia from the plant have reduced this significantly.
So that's what I do instead of sugar-coating it! And I couldn't be happier!
For Further reading check out this article about The American Heart Association recommending that Americans reduce their intake of added sugar
I'd love to hear from you!! What's your sugar "philosophy"?
Check back Monday for a SWEET giveaway!