A SPOONFUL OF SUGER ~ Choosing healthier sources of sugar

Updated: Jul 26

Sugar is sugar, and not to be the basis of our diet.

However, sugar (a.k.a glucose) is our easiest fuel source- it gives us instant energy, fuels our brain and charges our muscles.

That being said sugar can be VERY detrimental if our only sources are VOID OF NUTRIENTS.

Sugar can be straight-up dangerous if our body is not equipped with the proper nutrients needed to utilize the glucose (sugar) when it is available. Excess sugar circulating our blood stream is what leads to inflammation, insulin resistance and paved path to health complications!!

So why not learn about the options available to us? That way we can indulge, feel great, and support our body with the nutrients it needs!

Balance makes the world go 'round!!!

The type of sugar matters!!

What are the least refined options available to us?

  • Sources like fruits and vegetables, plants like grains in their wholeform-state. This form of sugar is unprocessed / less processed, therefore still contains fibre and nutrients that would otherwise be lost through processing.

What are the most refined options available to us?

  • Sources like white flour, white sugar and processed additives in foods. The especially chalk white products, these "foods" can really spike our bloodsugar and toss us into a nutrient imbalance or deficiency when eaten in excess.

And then somewhere in between are the sugars below...

  • These options are still refined sources of sugar however they are not completely void of nutrients or fibre, depending on the product. I think it's important to view these foods as a treat, and as a way to raise taste value in a meal but not as a main-deal in a meal.

Sucanat - tastes like caramel

Less refined granulated sugar options:

My top 3 favourites are below, you will definitely find these in my cupboards!

  • Raw sugar / turbinado sugar / demerara sugar- refers to sugar cane that still retains some molasses. There are multiple names of this, depending on where you are buying it. It is a darker than raw cane sugar so it tastes a little more of caramel.

  • Cane sugar- has a golden glisten, but not chalk white like granulated white sugar.

  • Brown sugar- the combination of crystallized sugar + molasses. This is great for baking.

More tasty granulated sugar options:

These are less common to find. I would recommend shopping online, health food stores or checking out your local ethnic grocers to find the following:

  • Sucanat / rapadura- (means 'sugar-cane-natural'). Called this because it is the unrefined dehydrated sugar cane or sugar beet juice. They crush the canes/beets until a juice comes out, heat it into a dark syrup and then dehydrate this.

  • Jaggery- instead of evaporating the above syrup into little globular pieces, jaggery is poured into molds to create chunks or patties.

  • Molasses- the syrup that is drained/refined from processing sugarcane/beet during the crystallization process.

  • Coconut sugar- created by dehydrating the nectar from the flowers on the coconut tree. It is not crystallized, meaning it has been processed less.

Coconut sugar and raw honey have the lowest glycemic index reading of the sugars at a 35 compared to brown sugar at 65.

My ultimate favourite sweeteners:

  • Unpasteurized honey- I view honey as a health food because it benefits our immune system. I am fascinated with trying honey at different times of the year and from different regions because the floral arrangement the bees gathered from. (great to prevent allergies!). To gain the most amount of benefit from honey make sure it is unpasteurized.

  • Homemade simple syrup!! I love making a fresh batch of this because I view it as a fun way to be creative with spicy and sweet flavours in the kitchen. I use simple-syrup as a quick way to sweeten chilled herbal tea and as a fancy way to drizzle my morning cappuccino. To learn how to make your own simple-syrup, check out our poaching recipe here, follow the recipe but with a ratio of equal parts sugar to water (sugar:water = 1:1).

Hope you have a SWEET day!