The Sugar Showdown Lowdown

This week we’ve turned our attention to the sweeter side of life 😀

Now it’s widely known that sugar in it’s many guises is not the best choice for us on a day to day basis but as with most things some sweet treats are better than others. Here we’ve popped together a handy reference table for you so when that sweet tooth comes a knocking you can make the best (and most informed!) choices possible. 

SUGAR, SYRUP OR SWEETENER  WHAT IS IT? ADVANTAGES

DISADVANTAGES

Fruit Purées Blended fresh fruit, compotes or dried fruits make a simple sugar substitute. Naturally sweet and will also add moisture to your recipe. The delicious flavour of the fruit plus the naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytonutrients. NONE 😀
Coconut Palm Sugar, Nectar & Blossom Syrup Crystallised nectar of coconut palm flowers. A natural sugar so requires little processing, sustainable and organic products available.

 

Relatively low GI and contains nutrients including Vitamin C, B Vitamins, Iron and Magnesium.

Should still be considered as a sugar and used in moderation.
Palmyra Jaggery (SugaVida) Crystallised nectar of the Palmyra palm. A natural sugar requiring little processing, organic, ethically sourced and sustainable.

 

Relatively low GI so has less effect on blood sugar levels.

Nutrient dense – contains more than your daily requirement of Vitamins B1, B6 and B12.

Should still be considered as a sugar and used in moderation.
Maple Syrup Concentrated sap of the Canadian maple tree. A natural sugar with some nutritional value as it contains minerals such as Iron, Zinc, Magnesium and Potassium. Should still be considered as a sugar and used in moderation.
Honey Made by bees from flower nectar. Raw honey has the most nutritional benefits compared to processed products.

 

Contains some vitamins; B6 and C and certain varieties may have antimicrobial benefits.

Higher in fructose than those above and cheaper products may be blended with less preferable ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup.
Agave Syrup Syrup made from the pulp of the leaves of the Agave cactus. We would advise choosing another option. Highly processed and has an extremely high fructose content. Our body responds differently to this than glucose and it was originally considered better, however now this has been revised with high fructose intake closely linked to a number of chronic diseases.
Brown Rice Syrup, Rice Malt Syrup High glucose syrup made from fermented cooked rice We would advise choosing another option. Very high GI, highly processed and lacking in nutritional value.
Stevia A protein from the leaves of the stevia plant that stimulates the sweet receptors of the tongue. Very low calorie and very sweet tasting, a little goes a long way! Stevia products range from natural whole leaf powders (green in colour) to white, highly processed sugar replacements which may actually be equal quantities of stevia to regular sugar.
Xylitol, Sorbitol and Mannitol Wood alcohols derived from plants. Low calorie and may be good for oral health as it prevents the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Not really a ‘natural’ product and best kept for occasional use. The alcohol part of the chemical structure
High Fructose Corn Syrup A sweetener made from highly processed corn We would advise avoiding it at all costs! Extremely high GI, contains no nutritional benefit, is known to be harmful to our health and contains chemical toxins due to the manufacturing process.

 

Can also be considered a ‘red flag’ for poor quality foods, an indication to definitely put something back on the shelf!

Written by Phoebe Liebling, Nutritional Therapist BSc DipNT mBANT mNNA mCNHC