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A while back we saw how fructose is not the healthy answer to sugar.

In truth there is no alternative to sugar that is healthy if looking at the excessive amount of sugar consumed by most: 35-40 kg consumed by the average Briton when it should be no more than 8kg per year.

Finding a healthy sugar alternative includes retraining our taste buds to taste the natural sweetness in unprocessed foods such as fruits, berries, vegetables, grains, corn, etc without needing to add sugar.

 

Understanding our taste buds and mouth chemistry goes a long way to controlling the need for added sugar. For instance a complex carbohydrate that is chewed long enough will eventually start to taste very sweet and lemon juice or vinegar added to berries will bring their sweetness out.

Honey will taste sweeter, weight for weight, than white sugar. Therefore it could be used sparingly in baking. Also suitable are chopped unsulfured dried fruits such as raisins, apricots, chopped figs etc .

Inuline and fructo-oliga-saccharides (FOS) are undigestible water soluble fibres which are found in chicory, Jerusalem artichokes, leaks, and onions and taste very sweet. Those can also be used in dishes for their sweetness. FOS can also be bought on its own. However they do come with unpleasant side effect in particular bloating and gas.

The healthiest alternative to sugar is steevia, a plant from the daisy family rich in glycosides Refined Steviosides & Rebaudiosides are the sweetest form and may be purchased in a semi-white powder form (usually referred to as an extract) or in a clear liquid made by adding the powder to water and a preservative. The powder may be added directly to food and beverage but in very tiny amounts. The liquid is used drop by drop.

The advantages are many and include calorie free concentrated sweetness with no apparent negative side effect but evidence of its therapeutic benefits. It has been shown to have positive effects on elevated blood pressure and to reduce cravings for sugar (unlike artificial sweetners). It is stable when heated (unlike Inuline) and therefore suitable in baking.

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