Friday, January 8, 2010

The Scoop on Natural Sweeteners

With the new year all of us are geared up to tighten up our diets and make some changes. What is actually a good choice sometimes is a little harder to grasp. Choosing natural sweeteners like raw honey, blackstrap molasses or even raisins and other dried fruits in small quantities is always a better choice than things like sugar (white, brown, "raw"), splenda or agave nectar.

This is a snippet from a blog post from Food Renegade, who I also linked to above...

But what about natural sweeteners, surely they’re better for you than refined sugars?

Yes and No.

First, the positives. Natural sweeteners are Real Food, meaning they’re old and they’re traditional. They’ve been around pretty much forever. As such, our bodies are better equipped to eat them. Usually, natural sweeteners don’t cause as large a spike in insulin levels as refined sweeteners, so they’re less likely to contribute to insulin resistance and over burden your pancreas. On a practical level, that means they can reduce your risk for developing diabetes while simultaneously not sending you into the violent mood and energy swings associated with sugar consumption.

Now for the negatives. On a cellular level, they’re still sugar. So, ultimately, they still cause your body to store excess fat. If you eat enough natural sweeteners to satiate your sweet tooth, chances are you’re eating far too much. (After all sugar is addictive, and you need progressively more of it to satisfy your cravings.) So while natural sweeteners may be less of a burden on your pancreas, they’re still a burden. While they may lower your insulin resistance, they don’t lower it enough (particularly if your diet is high in carbohydrates from grains like wheat, oat, corn, and rice).

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