We believe in all things primal, so why wouldn’t our early ancestors be right when it comes to all things inherently sweet? Either we’re pouring refined nutrionless sugar or man-made alternatives that are void of nutrition as well and have been shown to have adverse affects down our throats. Why not exchange these for something natural, that actually has some benefits? You may seem leery, but today we will investigate those natural sweeteners: honey, molasses, and maple. How can we distrust something with such a long history. Early hunter-gatherers used smoke to get the bees out of their hives, so our ancestors could sneak a sweet treat. There are neolithic art depicting honey and Egyptian text dating back to 5500 BC talking about honey. I think that’s a pretty rock solid history, besides honey Indians have been tapping into the sweet maple succulence since before the Europeans brought their honeybees. Let’s take a closer look at these individually, but I’m thinking by the end, you’ll want to have a supply of all three on hand to interchange to maximize benefits and to satisfy your ‘sweet tooth’. HONEY
Like I’ve already said honey has a long history, and boy are the bees working hard for that tooth. Honey is the sugary nectar of flowers (the type of flower plays a role in flavor, texture, and color) that is gathered by bees. These gracious bees have to travel thousands of miles just to accumulate 1 teaspoon of honey (and you think you work hard for the money)! Profile of honey?
- 35-40% fructose, 30-35% dextrose, 17-20% water, traces of pollen, wax, acids, proteins, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, pigments, and gum (which determines thickness)
Different components of honey have been sending waves throughout the health world. A study done in 1992 showed positive correlation between propolis in honey and anticancer characteristics. As honey is already predigested it is easy to digest, and actually has friendly bacteria too. It’s been used topically to heal, to suppress coughing, and to boost immunity. But some of what I found most interesting was its effect on blood sugar. Because it has a 1:1 ration of fructose to glucose, this means the that the fructose is able to unlock enzymes in the liver that turn glucose into glycogen. Glycogen in turn is used by the brain during sleep and prolonged exercise for fuel. If glycogen is not up to par than those pesky stress hormones like cortisol are released to convert your precious muscle protein to glucose. Over time this can: impair glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, diabetes, and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. If that’s not enough studies comparing honey, sucrose and low GI sugar-free diets found that the honey diet showed: decrease in weight gain and body fat percentage, less anxiety, better spatial recognition memory, improved HDL, improved blood sugar levels, and less oxidative stress damage. Wow, pretty impressive! Raw and les processed is obviously the way to go with honey. To tie into yesterdays post and talk of fermentation the last couple of months, man has made fermented drinks out of honey for ages (does mead ring a bell?). Honey can actually ferment itself, but never spoil. Hello a new option to pop?
MAPLE: Like I mentioned Indians have been using granulated maple sugar (which now comes in names like maple powder, maple sprinkles, maple granules) before the Europeans came. Profile? Maple has 88-89% sucrose, and the rest is fructose and glucose. Important nutrients:
- rich in calcium and potassium
- excellent source of manganese
- good source of zinc
- contains magnesium, phosphorus, malic acid, citric acid and some amino acids
If you need a refresher on minerals check out the blog from last month. This is your maple syrup that you find out of the grocer shaped like cabins or motherly looking woman, which actually have hardly maple in them. We’re talking real here (and yes it’s probably going to cost more, better to pay now than in health care down the road), check online or at trusty health food stores.
MOLASSES: Search for unsulphured blackstrap molasses and possible nutrients that you’ll be getting include:
- very good source of iron
- very good source of calcium
- very good source of potassium
- very good source of magnesium
- excellent source of copper
- excellent manganese
So have it your way, would you rather be enjoying and reaping the benefits of nature’s splendor, or chugging down man-made nutritionless crap that is making your condition worse? Hmm….tough choice, but I think in this case I am going to side with natural. What you choose is up to you but I think that the post from this week are clarity enough to steer clear of refined and fake. For more on our fat-burner weight-loss program check out our website at bodychange.net.
- The White Plague: America’s Sugar Addiction (bodychangewellness.wordpress.com)