Which Sweetener is the Healthiest?

The market is bursting with alternative sweeteners and sugar replacements. It can be hard to know which ones are truly good for us and what to use them for. So I’ve put together a quick check guide of our four most popular sweeteners so you can easily see whats what with regards to production, nutrition and use.

Coconut Blossom/Palm Sugar

• What is it? Sap from the blossom of Coconut Palm Tree

• Extraction Process: Collected and gently heated until liquid is evaporated

• Health benefits: contains small amounts of many of the minerals found in the coconut palm including: iron, zinc, potassium and calcium plus some short chain fatty acids

• Flavour notes: Rich butterscotch

• Appearance: Caramely brown coloured soft granules

• Use: With a low melt temperature and extremely high burn point it’s ideal for baking and cooking as well as using in drinks and consuming raw

• Glycemic index (GI) rating: 35 = low

• Calories per TSP: 14

• Carbohydrates per TSP: 4 grams

• Fructose per 100 grams: 40 grams

• Suitable for Diabetics? According to the Diabetic association, no, because it is high in fructose (Always consult your doctor before experimenting with new sweeteners!)

Palmyra Jaggery/SugaVida Palmyra Palm Sugar

• What is it? Sap from the blossom of Palmyra Palm Tree

• Extraction Process: Collected and gently heated until liquid is evaporated

• Health benefits: The only plant based source of Vitamin B12 and B6 – one tablespoon contains 133% of RDA Vit B12 and 222% RDA Vit B6. Rich in iron, potassium and magnesium.

• Flavour notes: Roasted caramel with a hint of chocolate and coffee

• Appearance: Golden to dark brown coloured fine powder

• Use: For full health benefits consume raw or heat gently. Can be used in cooking and baking but may lose some of its health benefits.

• Glycemic index (GI) rating: 38 = low

• Calories per TSP: 15

• Carbohydrates per TSP: 4 grams

• Fructose per 100 grams: 3 grams

• Suitable for Diabetics? Probably ok for most diabetics – it is a complex, low fructose sweetener that provides slow release energy (Always consult your doctor before experimenting with new sweeteners!)

Xylitol

• What is it? An alcohol sweetener extracted from the fibres of various plants

• Extraction Process: Xylan is collected before being heated to a temperature of 160 Fahrenheit using a method called “acid hydrolising”. The hydrolysing metals are then removed and the liquid is crystallised using ethanol.

• Health benefits: Helps prevent tooth decay and plaque build up

• Flavour notes: Very sweet

• Appearance: White powder

• Use: Suitable for cooking and baking but does not caramelise when heated

• Glycemic index (GI) rating: 12 = very low

• Calories per TSP: 10

• Carbohydrates per TSP: 4

• Fructose per 100 grams: 0

• Suitable for Diabetics? Yes (Always consult your doctor before experimenting with new sweeteners!)

Raw Honey

• What is it? Sweet nectar produced by bees.

• Extraction Process: Raw honey is collected directly from the hive. It is untreated, unheated and unpasteurised.

• Health benefits: An alkaline forming food that’s good for the digestive system. Also used to relieve nausea, boost energy, sooth a sore throat and help clear colds and flues. 

• Flavour notes: Sweet and sometimes flowery. 

• Appearance: Light to dark shades of gold and brown.

• Use: Suitable for eating, cooking and baking.

• Glycemic index (GI) rating: 45-60 depending on levels of fructose 

• Calories per TSP: 21

• Carbohydrates per TSP: 6

• Fructose per 100 grams: varies

• Suitable for Diabetics? No (Always consult your doctor before experimenting with new sweeteners!)