Choosing to introduce natural sweeteners and alternatives to white sugar in your diet is an important step to take for the good of our health but always paying attention to the quantities. Why? Because they have a higher sweetening power than traditional sugar. But let's take a step back, let's talk about the sugar refining process. First of all, it is extracted from beet or sugar cane and, through various chemical processes and transformations industrial becomes the product we all know in the form of white grains. During these processes the sugar is deprived of various nutrients such as vitamins, enzymes and salts, all nutrients that are good for our health but which are eliminated from the raw material due to refining. The solution? Introduce alternative and natural sweeteners to our diet. Let's see what they are.
Honey: the best among the alternative sweeteners. Whether it's acacia, chestnut, wildflower or whatever you like best, honey is an excellent food to add to your diet. It is rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.
Stevia: yes to sweetness, no to calories. A completely calorie-free natural sweetener. Interesting, right? On the market it is found in powder, liquid but also in leaves. It has a taste reminiscent of licorice and can be used to prepare cakes, biscuits, spoon desserts and to sweeten drinks. But that's not all, stevia has another point in its favor: if used regularly it will help regulate blood pressure, purify the skin and normalize blood sugar.
Maple syrup: in the fluid state. Used in the USA on pancakes and crêpes, maple syrup is excellent for reducing calorie intake. Not only that, it provides our body with the right energy, it is a valid tonic, it contains mineral salts such as potassium, vitamin B1.
Agave syrup: to be used sparingly. It has a higher sweetening power than honey and is mostly made up of fructose. As mentioned just before, even with natural sweeteners you must not exceed the quantities.
Pure fructose: directly from fruit. As with agave syrup, fructose must also be used in small doses: it is twice as sweet as sucrose! It is commercially available in powder form and can be used like white sugar to sweeten drinks and foods.
Concentrated apple juice: viscous. This natural sweetener can also prepare at home, comfortably and effortlessly. Just get it 500 g of Stark apples, 15 g of corn starch And 1 organic lemon.
Start by washing the apples and cutting them into chunks, put them in a bowl and sprinkle them with lemon juice. Now take a juicer or, better yet, an extractor to get the juice. Filter it placing a tea towel inside a fine mesh strainer and do it drain for about an hour. Then squeeze the cloth to extract more liquid. Take a saucepan and sift yourself then the corn starch, pour the apple juice and jumbled up vigorously with a whisk. You do cook over low heat for a few minutes while you continue to mix. As soon as the mixture changes its consistency and becomes more and more viscous turn off the heat and let it cool, transfer the concentrated apple syrup into an airtight jar and use it to sweeten your preparations!
Colombian panela: solid state. Colombian panela belongs to that category of little-known alternative sweeteners. It is obtained from the evaporation of sugar cane juice, the color resembles that of raw sugar but the flavor is completely different: the panela is very delicate. It can be grated directly on foods to sweeten them.
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