Are some sugars like honey & maple syrup, better than others?
Prepping for the 3 day sugar "reset" happening this week and I got a question in my inbox:
Q: Do I have to give up the honey in my golden tea for the sugar reset?
And it got me thinking about the benefits of some of my favorite sugars that I want to share. I'm not encouraging that we should now douse things in maple syrup like Buddy the elf, but instead you might find that honey and maple syrup are good substitutes or periodic additions to your lifestyle, especially above regular old white sugar.
General guiding rule of thumb: if something's been "bleached" or whitened, then it's pretty well stripped of it's minerals.
Before I get into sugar, let's go back to basics of what it is. It's a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are used for energy. And of course there is actual vitamins and minerals from healthy carbs that are beneficial too. But people aren't especially active today in a world of convenience. And unless we're being really intentional about it, life leans into carbs. So, when we take in way more than necessary and we aren't using it for it's intention, it can get stored other places.....like our thighs.
Anyway, honey, maple syrup are legit real foods right out of nature and as such, they have some nice benefits that leads me to use them more than any other sweetener. I commonly use maple syrup in place of brown sugar in recipes and honey in place of regular sugar. That said, I don't bake, so please don't take most baking advice from me. Thank you in advance. :)
The nutritional quality of honey varies by the source. I am a big fan of knowing the source of my honey, because several years it was discovered that adulteration of honey was a legit problem, like maybe over 75% of honey sold in U.S. grocery stores according to Food Safety News. This is a great article, by the way: Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn't Honey
With honey, if it looks like the viscosity of high fructose corn syrup and is crystal clear and almost too perfect, stay away. Go with something unfiltered and unrefined to preserve the nutritional benefits AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
Honey benefits: Some studies have shown eating honey may improve cholesterol and bio-markers of inflammation and have beneficial antioxidants: the things most often found in fruits and veggies that reduce aging, wrinkles, etc and could have some value when use on the skin and speeding wound healing.
Health benefits depend on the environment where the honey is harvested. Honey is still sugar, so thoes that are struggling with sugar intake, weight and blood sugar shouldn't necessary swap out for a whole bunch of honey.
Real Maple syrup. It's immensely different than it imposter, caramel colored corn syrup. There are different grades of maple syrup (B being the darkest), but the grades don't really hold much merit and vary by country. The darker syrup just means the syrup was extracted later in the harvest season.
A little like honey, maple syrup touts mineral benefits. One study found that it inhibited a colon cancer cell growth and some sources attest that your body metabolizes/utilizes it a little better than other sugar. I definitely don't get the sugar high and low I do from regular sugar when I use a little maple syrup.
I can tell you that once you go real Maple, you never go back. I literally think about carrying a small jar on vacation sometimes, just in case....
Honey sources: Look for unfiltered honey so there is actually pollen in it. You can find some at your local apiary, word of mouth, co-op or Wedderspoon Manuka honey (I even saw Wal-mart had a "raw, unfiltered" honey but I didn't look too close. DEFINITELY check out the list of offenders that have stripped honey of its benefits in the link above.
Maple syrup souces: I order from Slattengren Maple Syrup in Minnesota (651) 257-4170
I just leave him a voicemail and Ken sends me 3 quarts at a time in a flat rate box.
If you want to join the 3 Day Sugar reset & get the recipes, swipe menus & some accountability to kickstart your new year, grab them here: http://bit.ly/3daysugarreset
So are some sugars better than others? Heck yeah, some have SOME nutritional benefits. Honey, specifically has topical and internal benefits, if you get the proper unfiltered version that isn't adulterated from overseas. They're great substitutes for regular bleached sugar. Does that give me license to use them on every single thing I eat? Probably not. You don't eat "sugar" for it's health benefits. You use it for taste. I still love my "superior" sweeteners though.
Peace out homies,
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