The Healthiest Sweetener

The Healthiest Sweetener
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There are two sweeteners that are actually good for you.

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Now there are sweeteners that do have some nutrition. This new article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association measured the antioxidant content of a whole list. Which is healthier? In alphabetical order: agave nectar, blackstrap molasses, brown rice syrup, corn syrup, date sugar, dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, raw cane sugar, plain old sugar sugar, or turbinado sugar.

Here’s the graph. Two actually have some significant nutrition, but the rest are pretty much a wash. Let’s start filling this in. Should we start with an easy one to launch us off? Table sugar versus raw, pure, organic agave nectar. Which is worse? Does sugar have less nutrition? Or does agave nectar have less nutrition? Or do they both have the same? Remember how I asked if we should start out with an easy one? Well, I guess the answer is no. They both have exactly the same nutrition—which is to say, basically none. Sugar is here; agave is here. Each with a completely pitiful two millionth of a mole of plasma ferric acid-reducing ability—which is essentially zero antioxidant power.

There’s one sweetener with even less, though. Now all those down at that end are basically just empty calories. But out of curiosity, which has even less nutrition than sugar?

Ten left to choose from. Which one was all the way down at the end? Least nutrition. 

Now we knew corn syrup was here, remember? Same as sugar. They’re all empty calories, but brown rice syrup measured out as the emptiest.

Which is worse? Honey? Or maple syrup? Or the same? Well, they can’t be the same, right? There aren’t two bars left the same size. Both still sugar, but honey beats out maple syrup.

In fact, all these down are basically just sugar—whether dark, light, raw, or turbinado. There are only two health-promoting sweeteners—only two sweeteners that are actually good for you: molasses and date sugar. They’re both good, but out of curiosity, which one falls to second place. Do you think molasses is less healthy than date sugar? Or does date sugar fall to second place?

The healthiest sweetener on the planet is date sugar. Date sugar is not really sugar; it’s just whole dried dates, pulverized into powder. As the only whole food up there, no wonder it’s number one. It’s the only thing I ever use in baking. Because it’s a whole plant food, it has fiber, though, so there is a thickening effect—which is great for smoothies or hot chocolate.

But what if you want to sweeten your tea or coffee? You don’t exactly want thick tea. Now you could add sugar, but then you’re adding empty calories, and if you drink as much tea as you really should, that can add up.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Now there are sweeteners that do have some nutrition. This new article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association measured the antioxidant content of a whole list. Which is healthier? In alphabetical order: agave nectar, blackstrap molasses, brown rice syrup, corn syrup, date sugar, dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, raw cane sugar, plain old sugar sugar, or turbinado sugar.

Here’s the graph. Two actually have some significant nutrition, but the rest are pretty much a wash. Let’s start filling this in. Should we start with an easy one to launch us off? Table sugar versus raw, pure, organic agave nectar. Which is worse? Does sugar have less nutrition? Or does agave nectar have less nutrition? Or do they both have the same? Remember how I asked if we should start out with an easy one? Well, I guess the answer is no. They both have exactly the same nutrition—which is to say, basically none. Sugar is here; agave is here. Each with a completely pitiful two millionth of a mole of plasma ferric acid-reducing ability—which is essentially zero antioxidant power.

There’s one sweetener with even less, though. Now all those down at that end are basically just empty calories. But out of curiosity, which has even less nutrition than sugar?

Ten left to choose from. Which one was all the way down at the end? Least nutrition. 

Now we knew corn syrup was here, remember? Same as sugar. They’re all empty calories, but brown rice syrup measured out as the emptiest.

Which is worse? Honey? Or maple syrup? Or the same? Well, they can’t be the same, right? There aren’t two bars left the same size. Both still sugar, but honey beats out maple syrup.

In fact, all these down are basically just sugar—whether dark, light, raw, or turbinado. There are only two health-promoting sweeteners—only two sweeteners that are actually good for you: molasses and date sugar. They’re both good, but out of curiosity, which one falls to second place. Do you think molasses is less healthy than date sugar? Or does date sugar fall to second place?

The healthiest sweetener on the planet is date sugar. Date sugar is not really sugar; it’s just whole dried dates, pulverized into powder. As the only whole food up there, no wonder it’s number one. It’s the only thing I ever use in baking. Because it’s a whole plant food, it has fiber, though, so there is a thickening effect—which is great for smoothies or hot chocolate.

But what if you want to sweeten your tea or coffee? You don’t exactly want thick tea. Now you could add sugar, but then you’re adding empty calories, and if you drink as much tea as you really should, that can add up.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

For more on dates, check out these videos:
How to Reach the Antioxidant “RDA”
Spicing Up DNA Protection

And check out my other videos on sweeteners

For further context, also see my associated blog posts: The Best Foods: test your nutrition knowledgeIs There a Safe, Low-Calorie Sweetener? and Which Common Fruit Fights Cancer Better?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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