We are smack dab in the middle of baking season and I have a ton of ideas for “greenlitebites” but I always struggle with sweetener options. Do I just suck it up and use sugar? There has to be a better option, no?
First, let’s talk about sugar. Once upon a time, I was a low carb fanatic. I counted carbohydrates like a lunatic. Known as the carb guru to my friends, I lost a lot of weight and learned a lot about my body (it should be known I gained it all back). I since eased on the carb counting but going through that stage helped me learn refined white sugar is not good for me. I’ve always heard the rumors about children having a sugar rush child or even people having a sugar addition but according to Nancy Appleton, Ph.D there are 146 Reasons Why Sugar Is Ruining Your Health.
That’s a lot of reasons!
Now I don’t want to be the crazy health food lady and declare I will NEVER eat sugar again. It’s not realistic. And I’m not a nutritionist but personally I feel better, look better and am more in control of my diet when I avoid white sugar and white flour. So if I can substitute these things in my homemade recipes why not? Plus I love being creative and finding healthy alternatives. Hence, the blog, I guess. ;~)
All right enough about sugar, I’ve convinced myself a long time ago to avoid it and I know there has to be better ways of sweetening recipes.
Right now I’ve been using honey and/or molasses in some recipes. I like that they add another dimension of flavor to things like muffins and marinades. But isn’t honey just as bad for you as sugar and molasses, it’s made from sugar, right?
However, I did find some interesting write-ups on the web. Honey is actually listed as one of the world’s healthiest foods. Yes, it is high in calories but if I’m going to sweeten something I’d rather use the calories on something that provides some health benefits not just empty caloreies.
As for molasses, whfoods.com says, “Blackstrap molasses is a sweetener that is actually good for you. Unlike refined white sugar and corn syrup, which are stripped of virtually all nutrients except simple carbohydrates, or artificial sweeteners like saccharine or aspartame, which not only provide no useful nutrients but have been shown to cause health problems in sensitive individuals, blackstrap molasses is a healthful sweetener that contains significant amounts of a variety of minerals that promote your health.”
Again, I’d rather use something that provides nutrients in addition to sweetening.
As for sugar substitutes I’ve been using Splenda but since having the toddler I’m not sure I want to fill him with an artificial sweeteners. Needless to say the little pink and blue packets are out too.
Where does that leave me?
Well, A few weeks ago Joyce introduced me to Stevia. I bought packets first and couldn’t believe how sweet it was. Then I discovered you could buy it in jars. I’ve recently picked one up but haven’t tried it in baking yet. Apparently, it is not effected by heat and you need a lot less. 1 tsp sweetens like 1 cup of sugar!!! Oh and did I tell you it’s 0 calories.
Now, I’m not saying stevia in the end all be all in sweeteners but it seems to have some promise. Right now it is not approved by the FDA to be used in prepackaged foods but they may change in the future.
All that and I’m still confused. My mantra is moderation, everything in moderation.
What about you? How do you satisfy the sweet tooth?