This month we focus on sugar consumption: which to eat, which to avoid, and how to change your own cravings for the better!
You might think that the healthiest sugar is the one with zero calories, such as the array of artificial sweeteners.
But there is a great deal of conflicting information available on artificial sweeteners, and whether they are safe for human consumption. Some groups claim that they are, while others claim that they are not. Meanwhile, both of them claim to be supported by scientific research.
We cannot solve this debate here, but while we’re waiting on science to suss it all out for us, perhaps we can rely on some common sense in the mean time.
- Artificial sweeteners can be up to 200 times sweeter than sugar. Eating anything this sweet can essentially train your tastes to expect higher levels of sweetness. Obviously this can increase your cravings (and therefore your consumption) of highly sugared foods.
- Also, artificial sweeteners offer zero nutrition for you. By contrast, there are sugars that are actually healthy for you!
So What Are The Healthiest Sugars?
Glucose itself offers energy, and that’s fine. But if you add more energy than you’re burning it will be converted to storage — fat. This will be true no matter which sugar you choose, and none of them provide any added nutrition. What does that mean?
In white sugar, you only get sugar. That’s all. But unlike white sugar, darker versions have minerals in them, most notably calcium, potassium, iron, vitamin B6, selenium, iron, and magnesium which are so healthy for you (see below).
All of these minerals in brown sugars comes from molasses. And the darker the sugar, the more molasses is present. Therefore, the more minerals are present.
How much of these do you get with, say, two tablespoons of molasses? Remember, the RDI (listed below) is the amount recommended to consume in an entire DAY, which you will get with just two tablespoons.
- For Your Heart
- Vitamin B6: 14% of the RDI.
- For Your Bones
- Calcium: 8% of the RDI.
- For Your Blood PressureMagnesium: 24% of the RDI.
- Potassium: 16% of the RDI.
- For Your Energy Levels
- Iron: 10% of the RDI.
- For Your Brain:
- Selenium: 10% of the RDI.
What About The Calories?
By the way, those two tablespoons of molasses have the same number of calories as an apple. Zero people worry about the caloric impact of eating an apple, because it carries so much nutrition along with it (unlike artificial and white sugars). So if you want to choose a sweetener that is actually good for you, remember the rule: darker is better.