Sweetness can come from many places.
A relaxed walk after a satisfying meal can offer the body a “sweet” treat that aids digestion and boosts the mind. A conversation filled with smiles and kind words can satisfy the desire for security, even more than chocolate can. An after-dinner enjoyment of a favorite pastime or hobby can assuage the appetite for sugar. A meal that gives entertainment to the senses through appetizing aromas and flavors needs no aftertaste of dessert.
Dessert that is nutritionally sound provides sweetness within context of a nutritionally sound meal. Dessert that is nutritionally bereft tantalizes the eyes and pleases the mouth, but upsets the digestive system and causes myriad negative irritations in the body.
When the urge for sweetness overcomes sensible treatment of the body, remember that there are dessert substitutes that satisfy the calls for momentary gratification, escape from unhappiness, or sweet addiction.
“Foods that are sweet blind us. Their charismatic taste overtakes our reasoning, and we crave their company. Our willpower weakens and we are held captive by our desire for repetition of the sweet sensations in our mouths.” …from the post “Sweeteners: The Facts“
Knowing that we are held captive by the irresistible pull of sweetness is helpful for us to feel less guilty about wanting sweet additions to our meals. The goal is to eat the sweets that nourish and not the ones that disturb the balance inside our bodies.
Note: Food intake is part of a balanced life. Eating well but ignoring emotional health will not bring balance. Over-focusing on food intake and ignoring community responsibility will not bring balance.
“Most of our diet is meant to be non-sweet. The sweet part should be about 8%, and of that 8%, all should be from natural sources—that is how our bodies are designed. .” …from the post “Sweeteners: The Facts“
With this fact in mind, choosing to fill the 8% of sweetness with nourishing sweets is wise.
Best sweets and sweeteners
Here are the best sweets and sweeteners to eat, in the order of nutritional value.
- Raw unprocessed honey / pure maple syrup
The least amount of processing provides the most nutritious sweetener.
- Date syrup (also known as date honey)
Dates can also be used as a sweetener (as well as raisins and other dried fruit).
- Stevia / blackstrap molasses / fruit juice
Stevia is sold in packets and larger containers. The packets are ecologically wasteful.
- Agave / coconut sugar
Coconut sugar has societal implications, so use it sparingly.
- Pasteurized honey / dark molasses
Here are the sweeteners that our bodies don’t want. They cause havoc inside our bodies and disrupt balance. Some of these sweeteners are accepted forms of sweetening, but they really shouldn’t be.
- Neohesperidine dihydrochalcone (E959) / saccharin / sugar from sugar beets
Sugar from sugar beets are listed separately from sugar from sugar cane because of processing considerations.
- Aspartame / Sucralose / sugar from sugar cane
- Cyclamate (E952) / light brown sugar
- Asesulfame potassium (E950) / corn syrup
Light and dark corn syrup are equally disruptive.
- Evaporated cane juice
- Light molasses
Sweeteners not ranked
There are many more sweeteners than those listed in this blog post. The following sweeteners were not listed above because of production or unresolved issues.
This sweetener is not listed above, although many people extol its usage, because it has unresolved issues. It has not been studied enough to deserve its praise.
This sweetener has unresolved issues. It should be used sparingly.
- Rice syrup
This sweetener has unresolved issues. It is better than all the sweeteners listed in the “Worst” section. It is not listed in the “Best” section because of the unresolved issues.
- Monk fruit
This sweetener is a “Best” sweetener when traditional processing is used. Non-traditional processing, which is how most of this sweetener is distributed, leads to societal issues.
- Lucuma powder
This sweetener has societal issues.
8% is important
Choosing how we fill the 8% can affect our health currently and in the future. Some sweeteners cause immediate effects and some contribute to health issues in the future. Choosing from the “Worst” section is often not a real choice because many of those sweeteners are in processed foods. Sugar is such an accepted sweetener that people don’t realize what they are doing to their bodies when they consume it. Choosing from the “Best” section whenever possible is what the body prefers. Satisfying the sweet tooth with sweeteners that the body can handle adds to health.
Facts to come
The next post will present sweetness from a different view.
Note: The source of the information provided here is divine inspiration.