Did you know the average American consumes well over 20 teaspoons of added sugar on a daily basis, which adds up to an average of 142 pounds of sugar per person per year! That’s more than two times what the USDA recommends and is proof of sugar’s addictive nature! Even worse, the average teenager consumes approximately 35 tsps per day!
However, natural sweeteners, all of which are gentler than the refined white stuff, easier on the body’s blood sugar, are available in most health food stores. Even though these sweeteners are less processed than white sugar, it is still recommended that they be used in moderation, as they are still sugars.
So to prove that you can indulge in dessert without losing your head or waist-line, over Labor Day weekend, I baked my special gluten-free, vegan brownies. Party-goers were shocked at how delicious they were! They were chocolately and sweet. I am happy to report that by using natural, unprocessed sugar, you can use less--because it's typically sweeter, and experience less of a sugar rush as they take longer for our bodies to metabolize. What sugar did I use?
Short for Sugar Cane Natural, this brand-name product consists of evaporated organic cane juice made through a mechanical rather than a chemical process, and thus less refined, retaining many of the sugarcane’s original vitamins and minerals. It has a grainy texture and can be used in place of white sugar.
Agave nectar, or agave syrup, is a natural liquid sweetener made from the juice of the agave cactus. It is 1.4 times sweeter than refined sugar, but does not create a sugar rush, and is much less disturbing to the body’s blood sugar levels than white sugar. Due to its high fructose content and the fact that the glycemic index only measures glucose levels, agave syrup is noted for its lower glycemic index and glycemic load than many other natural.
**It should be noted, however that agave is high in fructose, even higher than that of high-fructose corn syrup, and some research suggests that fructose does not shut off appetite hormones, and may decrease glucose tolerance, so you may end up overeating. Agave syrup naturally contains quantities of iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. When baking with agave, reduce heat on oven by 25 degrees.
Check out this recipe (photo to follow!)