Healthier Alternatives to Artificial Sweeteners

By Simone Stromer, MD, CHC [AADP]

The other day I met a friend at a new café that recently opened in the city, and discovered the most delicious iced tea that probably exists—fruity sangria iced tea. It was available sweetened or unsweetened, so I opted for the unsweetened version, which was tasty by itself, and even more so with a dash of honey. Indulging in sweetened ice teas and other flavored drinks are part of surviving the summer, because they are so refreshing; however, many of us opt for drinks that contain unhealthy sweeteners such as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, or dextrose. I call them unhealthy because they are either artificial chemicals or chemical manipulations of natural products. Even plain old white sugar, which is a highly refined and processed form of sugar cane, is probably better than some of these.

Start experimenting with alternative healthier sweeteners both in your drinks and even in your baking. Some of the best ones to start with are: agave nectar, brown rice syrup, date sugar, honey, and maple syrup.

Many people think of maple syrup as that “fattening sauce I add to my pancakes”; however, in actual fact, natural and pure maple syrup is simply made from boiled-down maple tree sap. In addition, pure maple syrup contains many minerals, vitamins and amino acids. One table spoon of maple syrup contains about 50 calories, which is a little less than in a tablespoon of honey. Maple syrup will provide a really unique flavor to your drinks and baking and trust me you are going to love it!

Simone Stromer, MD, CHC [AADP]
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