Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sugar Substitutes

Natural and Healthy 

Recent years’ sugar has been blamed for many different health conditions including diabetes, obesity. Although blamed still many agree that sugar do play a major part in our digestive system. It is the glucose the source of energy for our body that we derive from the sugar that plays the wonder role. Ayurveda classifies 6 tastes of food, out of which one is advised to eat maximum sweet taste food or Madhur Rasa. So it is very clear that our body needs glucose in high amount, then what is wrong in having sugar and if so what are our alternatives? Here are some of the natural substitutes for sugar found with Mother Nature. Have a read and see if anything that can click you and your diet.

1] Jaggery / Molasses:

One can derive very healthy sugar substitutes from the actual process of making of sugar from sugar cane. Although very different chemicals are added to actual complete that process. One such product that can be derived even before the actual adding of the chemicals is called as Jaggery or Molasses. Jaggery or Molasses is very traditional unrefined non centrifugal sugar used commonly in rural parts of India, Asia, Africa and many sugar cane growing belt. Being a concentrated form of cane sugar with no other chemicals added it contain around 50% sugar ,20% invert sugar and 20% moisture content. It may contain some ash and other protein left over. Other than all this many different forms of molasses do contain vitamins, minerals, calcium and magnesium in them.
Ancient Science of Ayurveda recommends the use of Jaggery compare to sugar or any other substitute for many different herbal preparations and for general use too.

2] Natural Brown Sugar:

 Brown sugar that you get in market can be contaminated, but Natural brown sugar is the one that one should be looking for. Natural brown sugars are the first product of crystallization of sugar cane juice. This sugar is said to be free of any additives and chemicals use later to the process of making sugar. Like Jaggery it does contain high mineral contents. In market one can look out for such Natural brown sugar in the following brand Turbinado sugar, Muscovado, or Demerara sugar.

3] Honey:

 A sweet syrup that is made by certain types of insects like bees from the nectar of different flowers. Honey thus represents the natural state of sugar found in nature and thus entitles to have maximum benefits to health. Although the properties of honey depends on the flower and the area the nectar has been collected by the bees still normally honey along with sugar do contain small amount of antioxidants, vitamin C, catalase, pinocembrin.
Honey has been known in the books of Ayurveda for many other reasons, known for its anti bacterial, antiseptic property honey has been used to heal wounds from long time. Honey also is known to be used for weight loss and an good alternative to sugar for diabetes clients.

4] Maple Syrup:

 North America and Europe are two continents that are said to be lucky to have this abundant crop of Maple trees that during spring gives a nice harvest of Maple syrup. Stores sugar of the trees in the roots pas through the inner barks of the tress upward which can be tapped and collected to give the base required to make maple syrup. No addition of sugar or any other dye or chemical is required to a get a good batch of pure maple syrup.
Pure Maple syrup is said to contain zinc and magnesium two nutrients which are in well demand in our body. Here are some the health benefits of this syrup.One can read another interesting story about further properties of this syrup in yesterday's Toronto Star. Have a look here
So what is your choice for sugar alternative? Do you eat sugar and still in control? Are you using any artificial sweeteners like aspartame?

 Posted by Sudeep

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