White sugar and high fructose corn syrup have become a large component in many Western diets. Despite obvious health concerns that excessive sugar consumption can cause like diabetes, weight gain, cardiovascular disease and more, people continue to consume sugar at monstrous levels. To deter from these symptoms of high sugar consumption, many people have opted into eating sugar alternatives like stevia, agave nectar, blackstrap molasses and honey. If you think you can’t handle your coffee without some added sweetness, you may want to look into some of these sugar alternatives.
Stevia is one of the only zero calorie natural sweeteners and comes from a plant native to South America. In South America, stevia has been used as a sweetener for hundreds of year but only in 2008 was stevia approved in the U.S. Stevia is 200 to 300 times sweeter than regular sugar and does not alter glucose levels. Stevia is commonly used to sweeten drinks like coffee and is also used in baking. You can find stevia at nearly all supermarkets. The Whole Foods and Tom Thumb, both in Addison carry stevia.
Agave Nectar comes from the agave plant, where tequila is also made. Agave has been used for centuries and was even used as a remedy for skin infections by the Aztecs. Agave has slightly more calories than stevia, but also has some positive health benefits because agave contains prebiotic. Prebiotic is a dietary fiber that nourishes intestinal bacteria. Agave has 60 calories per tablespoon compared to 40 calories in regular sugar. However, agave is sweeter than sugar so less of it is needed. Agave is sold at nearly all supermarkets.
Blackstrap molasses comes from raw sugar cane and is highly beneficial for your health. Blackstrap molasses contains about 15 percent of your daily iron requirement, along with calcium, potassium and antioxidants. Blackstrap molasses is frequently used in cooking beans, gingerbread, other main dishes and baking. Blackstrap molasses is one of the top natural sweeteners and can be found at the Whole Foods Addison.
Honey is the most popular of natural sweeteners and is staple in many kitchens. The history of honey originates when Ancient Egyptians gave offerings of honey to their Gods. It is no wonder why bees eat their own honey because the health benefits of honey are countless. Honey is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Next time you have a cough, or just want to sweeten up a drink, you may want to try adding some honey!