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Sara Londono Sulkin, Health as a Choice Health Coaching

24 May 2012

Types of Sweeteners, natural of course!

Agave, Maple Syrup, Xylitol, Stevia, Date Sugar. With so many products on the market shelves today, how do you know what's best for you?

Let's first clarify what "natural" means.

Because food labeling has very light legislation, and by light I mean can be very little in terms of integrity, it is important to do you homework when a product states natural.

Natural can mean anything from partially natural, derived from natural sources, 100% organic and natural or even no natural ingredients whatsoever. You will begin to notice the who's who of honest packaging when you read ingredients, determine the source and understand their business practices.

Yep, it's a crazy world out there. But what the heck - we're all living in it so let's enjoy the ride!

Let's start by dispelling some of the myths of sweeteners.


Unless you are dicing a green stevia leaf or sprinkling a freshly ground green leaf powder, you are not using a natural product. If it's white, liquid or in a packet. It has been processed, refined or chemically altered in some way.

Same goes for xylitol and agave. They both require extensive processing to bring them to your table.

Does this make them bad?

Not necessarily. A low glycemic agave can make a better choice than a candy bar.

However, if you want to live and look your best, try stepping out of your comfort zone in buying pre-packaged products.

Reach for a whole food first.

Medjool dates, figs, dried apricots, bananas, berries and fruits in general provide varying degrees of sweet.

Grow a stevia plant in your herb garden.

Choose more raw food in general. It is naturally sweeter - especially once your palette adjusts.

What you are sweetening will determine the texture you require as well as the food you choose to do the sweetening.

Dates make a great thick paste. Bananas are softer and add moisture, as do berries.

Know that you are getting far greater value, nutrition, energy and ultimately sustainable fuel for your mind and body when you incorporate a whole food. (Yes, the kind that just fell off a tree, was dried in the sun and/or was grown by someone who intentionally grew it for your well being to start with ;)

Have fun with it. Experiment and try new things. You and your body will get to know what works best.

Post your favorite natural sweetener choices below and lets open up the list to even greater choices!

Click the Navitas Natural link above to learn more about a company with ethical business practices offering whole foods in a much less processed form.

Thanks a bunch!


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