Raw sugar

Over that last couple of months, I have been hearing a lot of buzz about the benefits using of Raw Sugar vs. Regular Sugar or Brown Sugar, so I decided to do a little research on this subject matter. My main motivation for this research on sugar is my LOVE for sweets…I’m the type of person that will pass up steak and potatoes for Cookies, Cakes, Pies, etc.  Over the past couple of weeks, I have been fixated on finding a sugar like substitute that I can comfortably eat without worrying about gaining weight or health risks. Also, I wanted to be able to make yummy treats that are healthy. In my research, I found two really good articles on livestrong.com and abcnews.com.

To sum up what I found:

Raw sugar isn’t any better for you than white sugar. Basically, raw sugar is equivalent to white and brown sugar; however, raw sugar is less refined than the other sugars and it endures the same process. Raw sugar comes in the form of large crystals and contains less molasses than other white sugar. Additionally, raw sugar has a brown tint color (which gives it a healthier appearance).

According to ABC news, there is no benefit to consuming raw sugar. Raw sugar has the same effects on the body as white sugar. Like white sugar, raw sugar can quickly raise your blood and glucose levels. ABC news states that raw sugar costs a lot more than white sugar and doesn’t provide added health benefits. If you are willing to eat raw sugar, than you might as well eat regular white sugar!

Unfortunately, I was very saddened to find out that raw sugar isn’t a healthy alternative to regular sugar. What I did discover is that foods can be sweetened using the following natural products:

For many, honey is a pantry staple. Types of honey vary by geographic location and the flowers from which bees extract nectar to make it.

Made from a perennial plant native toBrazil, stevia has gained recent attention as a popular beverage sweetener. It’s 30 times sweeter than sugar, so only a few drops or grains are necessary.

Brown rice syrup
It may sound strange, but brown rice cooked for a long time yields a mildly flavored sweetener perfect for baking (which packs a punch of protein, too).

A by-product of sugar manufacturing, molasses is used often for baking and comes in three varieties: light (the sweetest), medium, and blackstrap (which is also a great source of calcium and iron).

Agave Nectar:

A natural liquid sweetener that is less viscous than honey, agave nectar comes in three grades: Light, medium and amber. Light agave is sweet but neutral making it great for recipes where the stronger flavor of maple or honey may interfere. The flavor of agave becomes more intense and earthy with the darker grades. Agave is extracted from the agave plant, and is low on the glycemic index. It is about 1 1/2 times sweeter than refined sugar.

Barley Malt

 Dark, sticky and boldly flavored, barely malt sugar is nonetheless neither as assertive as blackstrap molasses nor as sweet as honey. Primarily maltose, a complex sugar that enters the bloodstream slowly. This sweetener offers trace amounts of eight vitamins and several minerals. Barley malt syrup is a wonderful addition to squash and pumpkin breads, bran muffins, and hearty rye or pumpernickel breads. Use it to glaze sweet potatoes and to make winter “malteds” combined with bananas and soy milk.

Date Sugar

Not actually a sugar in the conventional sense, date sugar is ground from dehydrated dates. What a great source of sweetness. Dates are high in fiber, and rich in a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Date sugar can be exchanged measure for measure for sugar in baking, for cakes, muffins and quick breads. Use it in place of brown sugar to make crumb toppings for pies and fruit crisps. It can’t be used to sweeten beverages, though, as the tiny pieces won’t dissolve.

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Ms. PB

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