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A guide to sugars and sweeteners

The following is a list of common sugars and sweeteners. Their glycemic index is in brackets – which is how quickly or slowly they raise your blood sugar levels. The lowest number being the slowest and the most gentle on your body, and the other factors to consider when choosing them.

Artificial Sweeteners (0) (Aspartame, Sucralose, EQUAL, SPLENDA etc) – All artificial sweeteners are toxic, and ironically, the consumption of these sweeteners has shown significant increases in body weight, even when food intake remained the same.

When choosing sweeteners, look to stevia, xylitol and rice malt syrup first (especially if you suffer from candida), and coconut sugar or coconut nectar next for their low GI rating and generous mineral content.

In contrast, avoid artificial sweeteners, corn sugars, refined white sugar, maltodextrin and dextrose like the plague as they are toxic, spike blood sugar, are inflammatory, causes health isue in the body – and contain no nutrients.

Maltodextrin (150) – With an extremely high glycemic index rating, this sugar is near poison for diabetics. Found in many packaged products.

Glucose (Dextrose) (100) – Very high on the glycemic index and equivalent to white bread. Stay away from this one.

Corn syrup (75) – Largely GMO, a cheap heavily processed sugar syrup with no nutrition content. High Fructose Corn Syrup (87) is even worse. And its affect on the body are comparable to poison. Void of any nutrient content, inflammatory, and causes blood sugar spikes and blood sugar issues (Diabetes etc). Stay well away from this one.

Refined table sugar (65) – Largely GMO and stripped of any beneficial nutrients, this sugar has a very acidic effect on the body and causes mineral depletion.

Honey (50-75) – The kind of honey makes a big difference, with RAW (unpasteurized) HONEY being lower on the glycemic scale and containing more nutrients. Processed honey is often no better than table sugar.

Evaporated cane juice (55) –  Refined sugar (heavily processed).

Blackstrap molasses (55) – Although higher on the glycemic index, this sugar provides many minerals, including iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and zinc, and as a result is more alkalizing to the body.

Maple syrup (54) – Collected from the sap of maple trees, it is refined and therefore processed. It is more nutritious than refined table sugar, corn syrups and cane juice, but still should be used sparingly. Make sure you use the pure maple syrup and not “maple flavoured”. Big difference in nutrition and quality here.

Coconut sugar (35) – Acquired from flowers growing on coconut trees, this is a nutrient-rich, low-glycemic sweetener that is substituted for refined sugar – however, be mindful that even though it is a healthier option than white sugar, it is still sugar, so should be used sparingly.

Agave nectar (30) – There has been much controversy around agave, and the jury still seems to be out on its use as a healthy alternative. Personally from what I’ve read, I believe this should be used in very limited quantities, or nothing at all. I prefer to stay away from this one.

Xylitol (7) – A sugar-alcohol, containing zero sugar – xylitol is very low on the glycemic index and is a great sugar alternative due to its zero sugar content; making it perfect for those struggling with candida or wanting to maintain a sugar free dirt. The only caution is that in some individuals it make cause intestinal issues like an upset tummy when too much is consumed. As always , moderation is key.

Stevia (0) – 200-300 times sweeter than table sugar, stevia comes from the leaves of the stevia plant. Since its glycemic index is less than 1, it does not feed candida or cause any of the other problems related to sugar consumption. This makes it ideal for diabetics, those with gastrointestinal problems and anyone interested in reducing their caloric intake. It goes well in tea, smoothies and tart juices like lemon, lime and cranberry.

Finally, use molasses, maple syrup, and honey in moderation. Although they do contain some small amounts of beneficial nutrients, they are still highly refined sugars and are higher on the glycemic index.

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