Most people enjoy sugary snacks. But if you frequently consume foods and drinks with a high amount of added sugar, those extra calories can pile up. And then there are people advocating for sugar-free diets! What remains constant is that added sugar can contribute to weight gain and increase your chances of developing serious health issues like diabetes and heart disease.
You might try to cut back on regular table sugar by using less processed sweeteners like honey and molasses. However, these are also types of added sugar that contribute to your daily calorie intake. It ultimately boils down to distinguishing between beneficial and less beneficial calorie sources.
It's important to understand that not all sugars are the same, and there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach that suits everyone's goals and preferences. You should know some essential facts about these.
Natural Honey: A Healthy Sugar Substitute
Honey has been cherished for generations as a go-to natural sweetener, celebrated for its unique flavor and numerous health benefits. Unlike the commonly used refined sugar, honey is a treasure trove of essential nutrients. Further, it's teeming with trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, features bioactive enzymes, and boasts a lineup of potent antioxidants.
One of the standout qualities of honey is its ability to contribute to your well-being. Also, it can bolster your immune system, offering an extra layer of defense against illnesses. Moreover, honey comes to the rescue when coughs and sore throats strike.
What's even more impressive is that honey is a completely natural product. Raw honey, straight from the hive, can be consumed without any further processing. To ensure you get all the goodness honey has to offer, our liquid honey is gently heated, preserving its valuable properties.
Honey stands alone among sweeteners for its unique ability to enhance the natural flavors of other ingredients. Unlike other sugars or substitutes that merely cover up the taste, honey complements and elevates the overall flavor profile. In some cases, artificial sweeteners may even leave an undesirable aftertaste lingering in your mouth. So, when it comes to choosing the best sweetener, the natural, wholesome choice is clear - honey.
Why Use Honey Instead Of Sugar?
Honey’s inherent sweetness even surpasses that of ordinary table sugar. Why is that? It's because honey contains two distinct types of sugar molecules, both easily recognized and digested by our bodies. Further, research has revealed that using sugar substitutes other than honey can lead to increased cravings for sweets. The reason is simple – the human body doesn't understand these chemically-derived compounds and doesn't know how to process them. This is why natural sweeteners, like honey, are usually the best option.
Now, let's delve a bit deeper into the comparisons:
Refined sugar is the most common choice due to its taste, availability, and affordability. However, it lacks essential nutrients. In contrast, honey offers natural sugars along with vital nutrients, making it a healthier alternative.
Artificial sweeteners, despite being low in calories, have their own issues. Studies suggest that they can:
- Disrupt our gut microbiome
- Potentially lead to weight gain
So, they’re not natural and definitely not the best for gut health. On the other hand, honey is easily digested by the body and is even probiotic. This means it enhances your natural gut microbiome rather than disrupting it.
Marketed as a natural sweetener, agave nectar:
- Undergoes extensive processing
- Contains high levels of fructose
In comparison, honey maintains its natural composition, offering a more balanced and nutritious choice.
High Fructose Corn Syrup:
While this has become a common household staple due to its low cost and versatility in mimicking the taste of honey, maple syrup, or other liquid sweeteners, it's not as ideal. Moreover, consuming high fructose corn syrup or any other chemically derived syrups can:
- Cause spikes in your blood sugar
- Potentially lead to addiction
Raw Honey: Health Benefits
Raw honey is a special natural product that comes straight from honeycombs without undergoing pasteurization and extensive processing. Additionally, raw honey is distinct in its thick and sticky consistency, and it rapidly caramelizes when heated. Unlike processed honey, it doesn't dissolve easily in water and forms a lump when dropped in. An example of this would be Smiley Honey’s .
It has the ability to combat various bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens. Its high viscosity provides protection against microbes. Moreover, honey contains hydrogen peroxide, a powerful antiseptic that naturally boosts the immune system, guarding against bacterial and fungal infections.
Raw honey is loaded with phytonutrients and polyphenols that help memory and act as brain boosters. Consistent consumption:
- Increases the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF)
- Reduces oxidative stress
Additionally, it contains pinocembrin, which is a potent antioxidant known for its neuroprotective functions. It aids in the treatment of conditions like dementia and neuroinflammatory diseases.
Effective Wound Healing:
- Removing water from wounds
- Promoting tissue regeneration
Raw and is a traditional remedy for alleviating coughs. Adding it to a hot cup of tea or consuming it with black pepper provides instant relief. However, it's important to note that honey containing Clostridium botulinum can pose health risks for babies.
What Are The Uses of Honey
Raw honey is loaded with skin-friendly components that retain moisture, keeping the skin well-hydrated and oil-free. Its enzymes act as exfoliants:
- Removing dead skin cells
- Imparting a radiant glow to the skin
Raw honey offers numerous benefits for hair care. Moreover, its emollient properties make it a natural moisturizer that:
- Nourishes hair
- Repairs damage
- Promotes hair growth
- maintains a healthy scalp
Instant Energy Source:
Also, a tablespoon of honey is effective in addressing insomnia. This quick remedy replenishes the liver's glycogen, preventing hunger signals from the brain. Raw honey, in particular, is more nutritious than processed honey, increasing liver glycogen by 22% and contributing to sound sleep. Additionally, it slightly raises insulin levels, facilitating tryptophan's entry into brain cells. Tryptophan plays a role in producing serotonin, a relaxation hormone that aids in sleep.
The Best Sugar Substitutes: A Complete List
Artificial sweeteners, also known as nonnutritive sweeteners, are predominantly synthetically created in a laboratory, although a few are derived from natural sources like herbs. They can be strikingly sweeter than regular table sugar, ranging from 200 to 700 times the sweetness.
Moreover, the FDA has approved several artificial sweeteners, including:
- Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K)
Similar to artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols are typically created synthetically, often derived from sugars themselves. Further, these sugar alcohols are used in various processed foods, offering texture and flavor. Yes, particularly in items like chewing gum and hard candies.
Unlike other sugar substitutes, sugar alcohols must be listed on nutrition facts labels. Moreover, examples of sugar alcohols include:
Novel sweeteners, sometimes referred to as "plant-derived noncaloric sweeteners," are a relatively new group derived from natural sources. Further, they offer a combination of benefits found in both artificial sweeteners and natural sweeteners like those from fruits or honey.
Examples of novel sweeteners are:
- Monk fruit
What's The Difference Between Sugar And Other Sweeteners?
Common table sugar is composed of equal parts glucose and fructose. It is a natural sweetener found in many fruits and plants. Other sweeteners can be composed of different molecules and compounds, some of which are significantly sweeter than sugar.
Different sweeteners can have a range of tastes, from very sweet with little aftertaste (stevia) to slightly bitter or metallic (aspartame). Besides, the taste can vary from one sweetener to another, and some people may have individual preferences.
- Sugar: One gram of sugar provides approximately 4 calories.
- Other Sweeteners: Many artificial sweeteners provide little to no calories because the body does not metabolize them.
- Sugar: Sucrose has a moderate glycemic index, causing a moderate and relatively slow increase in blood sugar levels when consumed.
- Other Sweeteners: The glycemic index varies among sweeteners. Some, like glucose, have a high glycemic index and cause rapid blood sugar spikes. Others, like erythritol and certain sugar alcohols, have a negligible impact on blood sugar.