I received this email from Ruth's niece today. Very interesting and I would like to pass on the information to all of you Herbies!
Let's take a look at natural sweeteners-we all know that sugar, although natural, isn't good for you and in fact, we should avoid that white stuff at all cost. But, what about raw sugar, the kind in the store labeled Turbinado? Since it'sraw, doesn't it have some nutritive value? No, sorry, it doesn't. It's had all the molasses content refined out, too-it's just not as highly refined. It does have a higher moisture content, though, so the flavor's a little different and it has slightly less calories per teaspoon than white sugar.
Molasses: This is where the sugar's nutrients went to! Molasses is a high potassium food, and also contains iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, selenium, and copper. Blackstrap molasses contains even more of these nutrients.
Raw honey: The key word here is "raw." Refined honey is almost as useless as refined sugar. Raw honey is rich in anti-oxidants, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. It is so beneficial to the body, that you can also apply it to scrapes for a healing boost.
Maple Syrup: This sweetener is also high in antioxidants, enzymes, and manganese. It also contains zinc. Why use artificially-flavored, chemical concoctions when you can pour maple syrup on your pancakes?
Agave nectar: Though one-and-half times sweeter than sugar, agave has a lower glycemic index and doesn't cause as sharp a rise in blood sugar. It is rich in saponins, which is beneficial for lowering excess cholesterol; and also contains inulin, a type of fiber that helps stabilize blood sugar levels, making it a great sugar substitute.
In my next post, we'll take a look at a natural sweetener that is very low in calories, helps control blood sugar swings, and you can grow it yourself!