By Natasha Jha
Sugar: can't live with it, can't live without it. Here's a review of common sweeteners as we talk about the good, the bad and some shockers.
Also known as table sugar, white sugar is a highly refined pure carbohydrate source with no health benefits. It contains what is known as 'empty calories' without any nutrients unlike its original source––sugarcane, which contains some amount of iron. After refining, the minerals are lost,
Brown sugar and jaggery
These are relatively unrefined in comparison to white sugar, but the miniscule proportion of any minerals still makes them a bad source of nutrients.
Honey is an unrefined natural sweetener (although low quality versions are sometimes mixed with sugar) and may not be put through high quality checks. Raw honey does have its benefits though–– it can reduce allergies when made from local flower species specific to the area.
However, it can still spike your blood glucose.
Coconut sugar is made from coconut sap, dried naturally and is less refined
It is closer to nature in its final form, and also contains essential minerals. Coconut sugar is used in our water kefir as a healthy sweetener.
In our books, artificial sweeteners are worse than sugar, since they're essentially chemicals that cannot be metabolised by the body (which is why they don't spike your blood sugar levels). They are known to cause digestive distress like gas and bloating too, which can make you really uncomfortable!
Stevia is extracted from the stevia leaf, and is a safe alternative to sugar. It can however cause a headache or leave a bitter aftertaste for some people! The best part is that a very small amount goes a long way with stevia, so just a few drops do the job.
This is a sweetener derived from chicory root, which is super rich in prebiotic fibers. That means they feed good gut bacteria, and help them grow and thrive. Since prebiotic fibers are not metabolised by the body, inulin doesn't spike your blood sugar.
This is a gut-friendly sweetener derived from sugar, but made to pass through the digestive system without spiking insulin. It also lacks the unpleasant digestive issues of artificial sweeteners, or an unpleasant aftertaste.
The problem with sugars is that they cause a spike in blood sugar, giving you a rush of energy that drops and causes an urge for more sugar. We're a big fan of sweeteners that occur in nature, are minimally processed and don't spike blood sugar. Fiber controls net cab effect, which is why we use natural sweeteners: stevia, inulin and erythritol that do not impact your blood sugar negatively, nor do they cause inflammation and wreck your gut!