We all know that too many sweets are bad for us, but the reality is that we are born with the taste for something sweet. Taste buds are found on the tonsils and the back of the throat, as well as on the tongue in newborns. During the first three months, most newborns can distinguish between the taste of bitter and sweet. Almost all newborns prefer the sweet taste over bitter, which is more like the taste of breast milk. So the tendency to enjoy the sweet flavor is simply natural, but what is not natural are the more heavily processed and artificial sweeteners that contribute to the bad rap of sweets.
So today, let’s begin to explore whole food sweeteners that you can use as a substitute in place of their more processed or artificial counterparts.
This nectar-like sweetener from the agave plant is a byproduct that, though not ideal as a sugar substitute due to its liquid form, is great for sauces, dressings, and so on. Agave has ⅓ the glycemic index of sugar and can be found in most grocery or health food stores.
An herbal sweetener, stevia is calorie-free and has been shown to have little to no impact on blood glucose levels. Though this sweetener is an excellent substitute for sugar, it is rather sweet, and some studies show that this sweetener can cause GI discomfort if consumed in excess. So be sure to consume Stevia in moderation and to choose adaptive recipes strictly used with this sweetener.
Coconut Palm Sugar
High in essential minerals, coconut palm sugar is an excellent substitute for regular sugar, especially when used in baking. Low on the glycemic index, this sweetener is notable for its ability to be sustainably sourced compared to most all sweeteners on the market.
High in calories, but super sweet, you can use practically half of your normal sugar amount. Honey has a similar effect on blood sugar as regular sugar, so use it in moderation. You may also find that consuming local honey improves seasonal outdoor allergies.
There are other whole food natural sweeteners readily available on the market. However, this list is intended to help get you started making changes to your sweet preferences now. Want to learn more about healthy, sustainable changes that you could be making? Simply login to your Wellview portal and schedule your next appointment with an expert today.
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