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Sweet Smarts

Timeless Nutrition Tips...

Natural Sweeteners

Sweet smarts are actually proof that it is completely natural to desire something sweet. A sweet flavor is a signal to the body that there will be an abundance of easily-assimilated energy. With processed sugar, the body has been tricked into feeling satisfied, when in fact, the sweetness is completely deficient in essential vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and enzymes which would normally be present.


Sweet Smarts

A chocolate bar may satisfy hunger, but it can create a deficit in the nutrients the body needs to run efficiently if over-eaten. Hence, we have people who are overweight, yet their bodies are starving for nutrients.

Trying to fight your sweet tooth by eliminating sugar from your diet is not the way of sweet smarts. Replacing man-made, processed, empty calories with natural sweeteners is the solution, and here are some practical suggestions.

Sucanat

For the sweet tooth, Sucanat Sugar is a joyous blessing from God. You can literally have your cake and eat it too. No feelings of guilt. No sneaking in the cookie jar. But enjoying one of the most delicious, natural sweeteners you have ever tasted. Sucanat is organically grown, freshly-squeezed sugar cane juice, evaporated by a special Swiss process. In its natural state, it is highly nutritious because the molasses is not removed. The flavor is quite extraordinary.

Brown sugar is simply white sugar with a bit of fancy Molasses to give texture and color. Everything that you use white and brown sugar for can be replaced with Sucanat.

Sucanat in water, hot or cold, is a refreshing beverage. A teaspoon of dried Sucanat will even remove hiccups.

Unpasteurized Honey

Unpasteurized Honey Raw honey has the plant enzyme amylase which is concentrated in the pollen of flowers. It is effective in helping the predigestion of starchy foods. Try spreading raw honey on a piece of bread and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. The honey will immediately begin to break down the starches in the bread.

Most commercial honey has been pasteurized, heated for up to 24 hours to prevent it from turning hard or hazy. In 1930, the German Honey Ordinance ordered that honey could not be sold for table use unless the enzyme, amylase was intact. North America has no such requirement. Although not as high in vitamins and minerals as Sucanat, honey is a useful natural sweetener.

Frozen Juice Concentrates

Keep in mind that all the frozen concentrates in your supermarket have been pasteurized. But we consider them far healthier for sweetening a sauce or salad dressing than white sugar. Pineapple, apple and orange concentrates are excellent for sweetening salad dressings or perking up fresh juice combinations, making Popsicles and for baking. A tablespoon of frozen pineapple concentrate can really liven up a fruit salad.

Dates and Raisins

Dried Fruit Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love (Solomon 2:5). Take a handful of dates, figs or raisins and place them in your blender with a 1/2 cup of water. Blend for 10 minutes or until desired consistency. Out of your blender will come a caramel pudding-like substance that is absolutely heavenly. It is hard to believe that this natural, healthy sweetener is so good for you!. It can be used for salad dressings, topping for fruit salad, creating healthy desserts and baking.

Fructose

Although assimilated into the body more slowly than white sugar, fructose has essentially the same nutritional value. Fructose is the sugar that is primarily found in fruit. It breaks down more slowly because it does not use insulin but is broken down by an enzyme in the bowel. Fructose sugar looks identical to common white sugar, but is significantly sweeter. It is a safer sugar to use for diabetics, hyperglycemics and hypoglycemics.

Fructose is certainly more desirable than common sugar, but is still void of nutrients. Use sparingly.

Sugar and Sugar Substitutes

Refined sugar has many functions in food other than providing sweetness.

Sugar Cubes

In small amounts, added sugar helps yeast begin producing gas for raising yeast dough. Sugar tenderizes doughs and batters, helps brown baked goods, and makes the crumb of these products moist. Sugar aids in the structure of cakes. It is the white sugar in cookie dough that helps spreading to occur during baking.

For these reasons, we suggest replacing only one half of the refined sugar in a recipe with another type of sugar. You can increase or decrease the amount replaced incrementally to achieve the results you want. If you simply want to reduce the amount of sugar you are consuming, many recipes can be modified to decrease the amount of sugar simply by reducing the sugar by one third.

Sugar by Any Name

Refined sugar is 99 percent pure sucrose, a simple carbohydrate. All of the sweeteners listed here are also simple carbohydrates. Each has a unique flavor, and each brings different qualities to baked goods.

Refined fructose is sweeter than granulated sugar. It can be substituted in baking recipes with little trouble. Simply add one third less. Fructose attracts more water than sucrose, therefore fructose sweetened products tend to be moist. Baked products made with fructose will be darker than if they were made with white sugar.

Honey is a liquid sugar made by bees, and consists of several components: fructose, glucose, maltose, and sucrose. It is sweeter than sugar, and has a distinctive flavor. Baked goods made with honey are moist and dense, and tend to brown faster than those made with granulated sugar. Use 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey in place of 1 cup sugar, and reduce the other liquid ingredients by 2 tablespoons. Unless the recipe includes sour cream or buttermilk, add a pinch of baking soda to neutralize the acidity.

Molasses is a byproduct of refined sugar production. It is made up of sucrose, glucose, fructose, and also contains small amounts of B vitamins, calcium, and iron. Molasses imparts a dark color and strong flavor to baked foods, but is not as sweet as sugar. When substituting molasses for sugar, use 1-1/3 cups molasses for 1 cup sugar, and reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 5 tablespoons. Molasses is also more acidic than sugar; add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of molasses used in substitution for sugar. Replace no more than 1/2 the sugar called for in a recipe with molasses.

Maple syrup is made from the sap of sugar maple trees, and is a combination of sucrose and glucose.

The sap is boiled down into the sweet, delectable syrup we pour over our pancakes and waffles. It is also very good in cookies, pies, and cakes. There are several grades of syrup available. Grade A maple syrup is golden brown and has a light flavor. Grade B is heavier, darker, and has more of that mapley flavor. Like honey, it's very sweet; use 3/4 cup for every cup of white sugar. Decrease the amount of liquid by 3 tablespoons.

Brown rice syrup consists of maltose, glucose, and complex carbohydrates. It is an amber hued syrup resembling honey, but it is not as sweet as honey. It can be substituted cup per cup for granulated sugar, but the liquid ingredients should be reduced by 1/4 cup per cup of rice syrup. Enzyme treated syrup, as opposed to malted syrup, will tend to liquefy the batter of a baked product. Use the malted syrup for best results.

Fruit juice concentrates, such as apple juice concentrate, orange juice concentrate, or white grape juice concentrate, are wonderful substitutes for sugar. Juice concentrates are made up of fructose and glucose. Use 3/4 cup for every cup of white sugar, and decrease the amount of liquid by 3 tablespoons.

Artificial Sweeteners

The following artificial sweeteners have been approved by the FDA and are available for home use. They provide sweetness, but lack the browning, tenderizing, and moisture retaining properties of granulated sugar. There is no need to substitute artificial sweeteners for the small amount of sugar used for proofing the yeast in breads. Instead, use milk or potato water for the liquid: the sugar found in either of these is enough to jump start the yeast.

Saccharin is 200 to 700 times sweeter than sugar. It can be used in baked goods. However, the manufacturer recommends substituting it for only half of the sugar in a recipe. Substitute 6 (1 gram) packets for each 1/4 cup sugar. It is sold under the name Sweet and Low.

Aspartame is 160 to 220 times sweeter than granulated sugar. This sweetener is heat sensitive, it loses its sweetening power when heated, and can not be used for cookies or cakes. The manufacturer does recommend adding it to pie fillings for no-bake pies, and to puddings after they have been removed from the heat. Substitute 6 (1 gram) packets for each 1/4 cup of sugar. It is sold under the names Equal Zero Calorie Sweetener and NutraSweet No Calorie Sweetener.

Acesulfame potassium is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is heat stable so it can be used in baking and cooking. Use acesulfame K in combination with granulated sugar when baking. Substitute 6 (1 gram) packets for each 1/4 cup sugar. It is sold under the brand names Sunette and Sweet One.

Sucrolose is made from sugar, but is 66 times sweeter than sugar. Granular sucrolose is the form used when baking. Substitute 1 cup granular sucrolose for each cup of sugar called for in the recipe. Recipes made with this product tend to bake faster than usual. It is sold under the name Splenda No Calorie Sweetener brand name. Also available is a product called EZ-Sweetz. It is a liquid sweetener with zero calories, zero glycemic impact, zero aftertaste, and zero worries. It is suitable for diabetics and tastes like sugar. Suitable for hot and cold foods.

Remember, these substitution guidelines are just that -- guidelines. You can tailor your recipes for your tastes by adding more or less sweetener to your recipes. Also, you may not get exactly what you were looking for. It might be better! Live a little -- experimentation is fun!