Monday, 29 September 2014

10 natural alternatives to refined sugar

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NATVIA – Stevia can be known to be quite bitter and some people can never get used to the taste so Natvia created a product that uses the best part of the stevia plant for a naturally sweet taste that’s never bitter and mixed it with a sugar alcohol to bring us a natural sweetener that we can use 1:1 in baking. It is a winner! This makes things nice and easy and any recipe you see with sugar in the ingredients you can swap it out with Natvia for the perfect finished product. Its great for birthday parties to create amazing cakes and treats without giving the kids a sugar high. You can purchase Natvia at the supermarket in the sweetener isle.

NORBU- A very new sugar alternative to hit the sweetener scene. Norbu is a natural sweetener you can use 2/3:1 to table sugar and it only contains 0.5 calories per serving. It’s a great alternative for people who don’t liken to the stevia taste but still don’t want the fructose. Norbu is made from Monk Fruit which is a sweet fruit that has been cultivated and hand-picked from hundreds of years in remote mountain regions. It is great in baking and can be easily subituted where stable sugar is asked for.

XYLITOLLike stevia, xylitol does not feed Candida or cancer. It is a white crystal powder that can be used in tea, coffee, and to sweeten up your recipes but in too high doses it creates a laxative effect. Xylitol is a bit of a magic dust. It naturally forms in our bodies throughout our daily metabolism. It’s a naturally occurring carbohydrate in fibrous fruit and vegetables that your body does not require insulin to metabolise it. Unlike sugar, it is actually good for your teeth and if you read the back of a lot of natural toothpastes you will find it in the ingredients list. Xylitol is anti-microbial which means it prevents the growth of bacteria, unlike all other forms of sugar which cause the overgrowth of bacteria and fungi. Xylitol is a healer, not like sugar which causes damage. In saying this, xylitol should not be overused.

COCONUT SUGARCoconut is a wonder food and coconut sugar has minimal effect on blood sugar levels. It is the evaporated nectar from the coconut. It is fantastic for baking and sweets giving a slight caramel taste.

RAW HONEY - It does have a very high fructose content and if you need to quit sugar all together for health reasons then I would recommend something different. But bees are amazing! Honey is a medicinal food. It is filled with amino acids and nutrients, and enzymes that actually help us to break down sugar and B complex vitamins. It is antibacterial and antiviral which is why it is known to kick off colds and flu’s and respiratory infections because it contains so many vitamins and minerals. It is a very powerful food that is packed with lots of good stuff.  All this talk about honey being so great, keep in mind it still caries quite a lot of natural forming fructose that will still raise your blood sugar levels so only use sparingly. Raw honey is to be only used in raw recipes; if you cook it, all the nutrients will go so you may as well have used table sugar!
When I talk about honey, I am not talking about the stuff in the supermarket… That is a no no! We want RAW unfiltered HONEY.

FRUITSWhole Raw and Stewed fruits make for great sweeteners for baking! When you consume a piece of fruit it contains so many great nutrients that the body needs; all these vitamins, minerals and fibre help us to digest the sugars. 
They are natural! They are sweet! They are whole! Use them where possible!

DATES - Oh how I love cooking with dates! Yes dates are a fruit also high in fructose but they are great because they are high in nutrients and packed with fibre. When you use dates you are using the whole food. Nothing refined. You are getting all the nutrients they provide to help digest the sugar at a slower rate... Organic Medjool dates are amazing and the only sort to buy. They are great to relieve constipation, as well as helping prevent cardiovascular disease. They are great to add to any baked desert, smoothie or as a sweet treat.

MAPLE SYRUPMaple syrup is full of lots of beneficial minerals, like zinc for your immune system and magnesium for energy production. Beware though; most of the products being sold as maple syrup are chemical laden sugar syrup dressed up in disguise. Read the labels! Make sure it is the real deal. Real maple syrup is the sap gathered from the maple tree. Maple syrup also has high amounts of natural occurring sugars so only use sparingly.

PURE STEVIA - It was originally used in medicines and has only recently been approved for everyday consumption. It is a great alternative to anything containing sugar for diabetics, Candida, or Cancer or your just worried about your blood sugar. It is super sweet, approximately 300 times sweeter than conventional sugar so you only need a very small amount. This herb has absolutely no effect on blood sugar. It comes in liquid, powder or pill form. You only need 3 drops of pure stevia to be as sweet as 1 teaspoon of table sugar and 1 teaspoon of stevia to be the same as 1 whole cup of sugar so it can be a little tricky to bake with to get the correct amount without it tasting too bitter.

RICE MALT SYRUP - Rice malt syrup is a natural sweetener that is derived from rice. It tends to cause lower spikes in glucose levels because it is made from complex carbs, this is gentle to the metabolism. It is not as sweet as sugar but can be a good alternative. It can be good for baking but you need to reduce the liquid content if you want to swap table sugar for rice malt syrup.

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