The internet is filled with contradictory information regarding high fructose corn syrup (HCFS). The FDA tells us this industrial food product is natural and then tells us it’s not. Doctors speak out about what they perceive to be purposeful deception regarding HCFS while others disagree. Researchers prove that it is worse for the body than sugar, then others say there is not enough evidence.
As with so much regarding health, every person has to do their own research and choose what they believe for themself. The following list was created for those who try to eliminate or reduce processed foods in their diet, a category HFCS undoubtedly falls under.
Processed sugar typically is made up of sugar that has been separated from molasses. Sucanat keeps the molasses and sugar together leaving the vitamins and minerals of the sugar cane plant intact. This minimally processed sweetener product is one of the closest to the natural state of the sugar cane plant on the market today.
Made by bees from the nectar of flowering plants, the flavor of honey changes depending on the types of plants in an area. It is sweeter and has more calories than sugar and can raise blood sugar more than white sugar. Many have reported help with seasonal allergies by taking a small amount of honey harvested from the region each day.
Blackstrap molasses is the most common in stores. It contains many of the vitamins and minerals found in the raw sugar cane. A lighter, sweeter alternative is barbados molasses.
This sweetener comes from the first pressing of sugar cane and retains a small amount of the molasses flavor. It contains fewer calories than white sugar and can replace brown sugar in baking recipes. Due to its moisture levels it should be stored in an airtight container.
Stevia comes from an herbal leaf plant and is not a sugar so does not raise insulin levels, the reason many diabetics use it. It can be 70-400 times sweeter than regular sugar, so a little goes a long way. Those suffering from hypoglycemia should consult a doctor or nutritionist as stevia can actually lower blood sugar.
Unprocessed maple syrup is a delicious favorite of many. Its cost and high glycemic index usually remove it as an option for daily use.
Debate about agave nectar has grown in recent years. Some say it is actually worse than HFCS, others disagree. It contains the same number of calories as sugar but is sweeter, so less is often needed.