How sweet it is to have access to these natural sources of sugary flavor. These time-tested sweeteners do the job of providing you with flavor and energy WITHOUT short-circuiting your pancreas, and causing your body to store fat like Jabba The Hut.
If you haven’t heard the news by now, dietary fat doesn’t make you fat, excess sugars make you fat. Excess sugar gets stored in your fat cells, and it’s the underlying cause of our society’s expanding waistline.
How to avoid this tricky situation is to avoid the chemical, super-sweet sweeteners, and go for the real stuff that gives you far more bang for the buck instead. Here’s a list of the best natural sweeteners.
1. Honey – Honey is made by bees from the nectar of flowers during pollination. This already sounds like magical stuff, but it only gets better from here. Honey is actually THE HIGHEST source on enzymes of any known food. Enzymes = Life-Force and the ability to have optimal biochemical functions in your body.
Honey is rich in antioxidants, minerals, and amino acids. Honey also has excellent antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties.
2. Yacon Root Syrup – Yacon is the sweet secret of the Peruvian culture. It’s commonly called “the apple of the Earth” because of it’s sweet and delicious flavor that can be eaten as is or turned into fantastic pour-over sweeteners and powders.
Yacon is a tuber (like a potato) that’s low glycemic and low in calories. It’s rich in a type of polysaccharide called inulin, which helps to optimize healthy bacteria and is an excellent prebiotic.
Yacon root is considered the world’s richest source of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) which help the body to absorb critical alkaline minerals and better eliminate toxic compounds. Here’s where you can find this sweet Peruvian treasure: Organic Yacon Powder
3. Maple Syrup – The process of making maple syrup is an age-old tradition by our ancestors, who used it as both a food and a medicine. Maple syrup is creating by tapping (piercing) the maple tree, allowing the clear sap to run out freely. This clear sap is then boiled to remove excess water which takes the sugar density from a single digit to over 60%.
Maple syrup is such a valuable commodity because it’s one of the few WILD foods that are readily available to health-minded individuals. Maple syrup is actually higher in minerals than honey, and provides a rich source of manganese and zinc which are critical for male reproductive health. Always be sure to purchase 100% pure maple syrup.
4. Dried Fruit – Using dried fruit to sweeten your food and beverages is a fantastic way to use whole foods for added benefits. The star choice here is the longevity superstar, the dried goji berry. By using this whole food for your sweetener you are also getting 19 amino acids, beta-carotene, zinc, iron, calcium, selenium, polysaccharides and much more.
You can add goji berries to your shakes, oatmeal, salads, baked goods, entrees, and teas. Just soaking goji berries in water for several hours will create a delicious goji berry tea that you can use as is, or as a base for making some incredible elixirs. Other dried fruit commonly used as sweeteners are: dates, raisins, mulberries, dried cranberries, and dried apricots.
5. Stevia – Stevia originates from the rain forest of Paraguay in South America. Stevia is a low glycemic, carbohydrate-free, calorie-free sweetener that’s been used for centuries to promote good health and energy.
What’s remarkable about stevia leaf is that it’s actually 100 times sweeter than sugar WITHOUT all of the known drawbacks of sugar (e.g. diabetes, obesity, and cancer). It’s one of the few things in nature that seems too good to be true, but actually stack up scientifically. Stevia has been shown to help stabilize blood pressure, normalize blood sugar levels in diabetics, and decrease the risk of osteoporosis by enhancing calcium absorption.
Here’s my favorite stevia product (English Toffee… Delicious!): Sweet Leaf Liquid Stevia
Please share below if you use any of these natural sweeteners, or comment on another natural sweetener that you use instead.