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When is going sugar free not going sugar free?

Posted by: Patrick Catanzariti on April 22, 2016

..when your ‘sugar free’ diet is actually filled with natural sweeteners that often do more harm than good! It’s not always easy to work out what the best sugar substitute is. We look at four common sweeteners and find out why they’re not so sweet after all:

1. AgaveAgave has more fructose than table sugar, which means it has a lower GI and is less likely to cause blood sugar spikes. Good right? Not really – the high fructose content means that it reduces your metabolism and can also cause digestive issues. It also has pretty much the same amount of kilojoules as sugar.

2. Rice Malt Syrup: Rice malt syrup is nearly all glucose, which means it has a very high GI. This isn’t ideal for diabetics or anyone looking to control their blood sugar levels. 

3. Honey: Honey doesn’t raise blood sugar as quickly as table sugar, and it is prized for its antibacterial properties. Even though it does have its good points, it’s important to remember that honey is still sugar (fructose and glucose, specifically) and so should be used sparingly. The same goes for maple syrup, which has similar sugar content.

4. Dates: You’ll see dates in a lot of ‘sugar free’ recipes – they’re the darlings of the raw and vegan crew. It’s easy to think that just because they’re fruit, they must be healthier than sugar. The problem with this is that fruit is high in sugar anyway. Because dates are dried, the sugar is concentrated, so you get more with every bite. They’re actually up to 60% sugar!

Having said that, we’re not recommending you give up fruit entirely – it does contain good things that our body needs like fibre, vitamins and minerals. Just be mindful that (like all good things) moderation is key.

You might be wondering where Natvia fits into all this. Well, unlike the guys above, it’s got almost no calories – only 0.4g per teaspoon. It also has no effect on blood sugar levels, so it’s perfect for diabetics. Plus, it’s completely natural!

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