Sweetners, The Natural, The Artificial and The Just Plain Nasty Part Two

Last month we talked about common forms of solid processed sugar. Now let’s learn about natural liquid sweeteners. Please note, when we say something is “natural” be aware that the sweetener is derived from a source found in nature, but has been processed in some form.

Honey

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Flowers produce nectar, which is collected by bees and stored in honeycombs. Honey is created by the fanning of the bee’s wings and is facilitated by the architecture of the honeycomb. After it is harvested by beekeepers, it is spun in a centrifuge, extracted and strained before bottling. Your Grandmother may have given you hot tea with honey to soothe a sore throat or glazed a ham with honey for Easter Sunday. One tablespoon of honey has 64 calories.

Light and Dark Corn Syrup

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Corn syrup is a thick, concentrated substance derived from corn starch. Light corn syrup has 62 calories per tablespoon and is flavored with vanilla. Dark corn syrup has 57 calories per tablespoon and is flavored with molasses.

Maple Syrup

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Mmmmmmm. Who doesn’t love maple syrup on a stack of pancakes? This breakfast staple begins as sap from a maple tree that is collected during the sugaring season between late February and late April. One tablespoon of maple syrup will add 52 calories to your morning meal.

Agave

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The center of the blue agave plant contains aguameil (honey water) which is processed to create a syrup. Agave syrup has a light caramel taste and is widely used to flavor teas, nutrition bars and other foodstuffs. Agave has about 60 calories per tablespoon.

Molasses

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Molasses is the syrup left over after sugar has crystallized from boiling sugar beets or sugarcane. It ranges in hue and viscosity from light, medium and dark. Blackstrap molasses has the deepest color and has the most viscosity, hence the phrase “Slow as molasses”. Stirring one tablespoon of molasses into hot oatmeal adds 58 calories.

Stay tuned, Dr. Everett will rank solid and liquid sweeteners in order of calories, glycemic index and nutrients in a post later this week. Thanks for reading today!

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