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TOPIC: Sugar vs Honey vs Stevia vs Agave vs Brown

 
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January 30, 2014 8:39 AM
I grew up with a diabetic father. And an aunt. Or two. Plus maybe the occasional uncle or cousin. So since diabetes runs in the family, I've tried to cut down on refined white sugar, at least. I don't use Equal or Splenda, partly because of the taste, and partly because of all the talk about aspartame and whatever.

I try to use honey when I need to sweeten things. I know that it has more or less the same calories as refined white sugar, but other than the minerals and what have you, it helps as a good way to avoid store-bought sweets and pastries.

Anyone have any good knowledge about alternative/natural sugars? I've tried reading up, but I don't know which ones to believe.
January 30, 2014 8:51 AM
I know that raw (unpasteurized) honey is amazing for you. It's considered a superfood. Pasteurized honey, however, is basically just sugar. Heat kills all the awesomeness.

Refined white sugar is bad because it's processed. Brown sugar is just white sugar with added molasses, so if you're avoiding white sugar, avoid that too. Turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw) is a more natural form of unrefined sugar, but I don't know too much about the health benefits of it.
  35000189
January 30, 2014 9:02 AM
i'm a raw organic honey person, too. it's opaque and so dense i use a butter knife to get it out of the jar. i don't add it to foods though. i eat a teaspoon right off the knife. my left eye "leaks" from allergies. it's been doing it for 2 years. when i eat a teaspoon of raw honey each day, it stops. it doesn't taste like pasteurized honey. it's sweeter, somehow. i don't cook my food, but i hear it has a low melting point if you wanted to add a dollop to your coffee.
  48226866
January 30, 2014 9:26 AM
Honey. It's natural and way more healthier than other substitutes.
January 30, 2014 9:30 AM
I use organic agave, just because most times its untampered with. You use less than honey for the same impact so you end up consuming less of it. Besides its a little less expensive and its more reliable. Too often so called "Natural Honey" really isnt. Besides I love the taste.wink
January 30, 2014 9:32 AM
Well, I don't want to be the bad guy, but honey is sweet because it has sugar in it.
  19237370
January 30, 2014 9:33 AM
Regardless of what you choose, ALL sugars are broken down the same way by the body. Sugar DOESN'T cause diabetes. Diabetes is more genetic and lifestyle driven. If you're concerned about sugar, just eat less of it or consider artificial sweeteners.

A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
IDEA Fitness member
Kickboxing Certified Instructor
Been in fitness industry for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition
  9285851
January 30, 2014 9:33 AM
in the grand scheme of things, considering how nutrient poor vs. other foods all of these are, there's really not a significant difference. I would lean towards stevia and using the calories saved to eat some other nutritious foods.
January 30, 2014 10:34 PM
I eat raw organic honey too. Or I think I do. The brand is Palawan Honey Queen. Hoping anyone knows about it. It's what I use for my coffee.

About using stevia/other artificial or low-cal sweeteners: I don't have to save up on calories for healthier things, because honestly, I'm on a calorie deficit. My abandoning of refined sugar has led me to not eating most baked desserts and unhealthy, processed foods like instant granulated juices, donuts, cake, etc. Most of my daily sugar intake comes from fruit and honey. I'm also not very keen on using artificial sweeteners because they're empty calories and have side effects? Like, the daily allowable intake of stevia for the body is about 4mg, but one sachet or one diet soda that uses Stevia would have 17mg. Allowable sucralose (Splenda) is about 5mg, but every sachet/soda using Splenda has 68mg. And for Aspartame (Equal and Nutrasweet) you can have 50mg a day, but every diet soda has about 187mg. So I get if you're diabetic that you'd need to use these so that your blood sugar won't spike. But I avoid them because I need my non-empty calories, and I know that healthy sugars are important for any nutrition plan.

Read up on this, and maybe let's discuss if this is reliable info or not: http://medicalobserverph.com/sweet-nothings-part-1-do-artificial-sweeteners-promote-weight-loss/

On Agave: I heard the common agave nectar is bad for you. (???) Because traditionally, Miel de Agave was made with the agave plant's tops, boiled for syrup. But the agave nectar we have now is made from the agave bulb, which is the starchy part of the plant, and then processed the same way as High Fructose Corn Syrup.

On how Honey has Sugar: Yes I know. I'm not diabetic just yet, and I'm not on some crazy low-cal, no-sugar, no-carb diet. What's important to me is that I'm eating the healthy kind of sugars. And that's what this thread is for.
Edited by thoughtspresso On January 30, 2014 10:54 PM
January 31, 2014 1:11 AM
I would stick with raw local honey or stevia. Stevia isn't an artificial sweetener like most people believe, It's actually a plant that you can buy or grow yourself. Many of the store bought stevia powders and drops do contain other questionable ingredients though. Have you heard of brown rice syrup? Some people swear by it, although I don't consume grains. I would really recommend you read this http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-definitive-guide-to-sugar/#axzz2rr8ArE1N
Edited by AmplifiedHeart On January 31, 2014 1:14 AM
January 31, 2014 2:36 AM
Using honey to replace white sugar doesn't really pass a logic test, unfortunately. White sugar (sucrose) is a molecule that can be split into glucose and fructose by enzymes or acid conditions like in the stomach. Honey contains glucose and fructose and a bit of sucrose and some other sugars.
  18022302
January 31, 2014 3:50 AM
QUOTE:

Regardless of what you choose, ALL sugars are broken down the same way by the body. Sugar DOESN'T cause diabetes. Diabetes is more genetic and lifestyle driven. If you're concerned about sugar, just eat less of it or consider artificial sweeteners.

A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
IDEA Fitness member
Kickboxing Certified Instructor
Been in fitness industry for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition



Yep, it's all the same in the end. Honey is really expensive, compared to other sweeteners, so I never buy it.
January 31, 2014 4:41 AM
raw honey seems to be pretty good. It's has a much lower glycemic index than white refined sugar. Tastes great in tea :)
January 31, 2014 4:51 AM
I always try to use raw unprocessed sweeteners that still have all their vitamins and minerals intact such as raw honey, pure maple syrup and dried raw stevia. I use the stevia for cooking or smoothies and the honey or maple syrup to sweeten drinks. Stevia doesn't affect your blood sugar levels so I don't limit the amount of that but for the other 2 I make sure I don't have too much as they are high in sugar which not only makes you store fat around your stomach, but can make you more likely to crave bad foods after they've made your blood sugars spike and fall again.
January 31, 2014 4:59 AM
QUOTE:

raw honey seems to be pretty good. It's has a much lower glycemic index than white refined sugar. Tastes great in tea :)
The reason for the lower GI is the fructose content which is higher than table sugar.
January 31, 2014 5:50 AM
For Pete's sake people. Raw honey is just sugar too with about 15% water content depending on the source and trace/negligible amino acids. It's not magic, it's sugar with varying ratios of glucose and fructose depending on what the bees were collecting.
Edited by FredDoyle On January 31, 2014 5:54 AM
January 31, 2014 6:12 AM
QUOTE:

Regardless of what you choose, ALL sugars are broken down the same way by the body. Sugar DOESN'T cause diabetes. Diabetes is more genetic and lifestyle driven. If you're concerned about sugar, just eat less of it or consider artificial sweeteners.


^^This...
If you are concerned about diabetes the best thing you can do is maintain a healthy bodyweight. I am pretty sure sugar is only a concern once you have diabetes.
  53377916
January 31, 2014 7:39 PM
Fred: Now that's a really helpful response, thanks!
January 31, 2014 8:32 PM
Raw local honey is supposed to help with allergies. It seems to make a positive difference with seasonal allergies for both my husband and me. When I am baking sometimes I will use usda organic sugar, but usually I stick to raw local honey. Expensive but worth it, especially in homemade honey oat breads and in teas. Yum!
Edited by newlife888 On January 31, 2014 8:32 PM

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