Benefits of Natural Sweeteners

Have you ever wondered if there really is a difference between refined sugars and natural sweeteners? Recent research suggests that natural sweeteners are healthier for you in more ways than one.

In the study, researchers focused on understanding obesity and diabetes by feeding obese rats a variety of different diets including refined sugar and natural sweeteners. Specifically, some rats were given refined sugar diets and others were given a natural sweetener diet, which included maple syrup, agave, and honey.

The results were surprising; the main difference isn’t the sugar content but that maple syrup contains polyphenols and refined sugars do not. The sugar contents in each were relatively the same including fructose and sucrose, but the outcomes differed because maple syrup contains strong antioxidant molecules called polyphenols. The conclusion was it was not the sugar itself but these other chemicals that help lower risk for chronic diseases because they offset the negative effects of too much sugar.

The next time you go to put refined sugar into your foods or drinks, consider the alternative natural sweeteners that taste just as great and are actually healthier for you!

Reference: Valle, M.; St-Pierre, P.; Pilon, G.; Marette, A. Differential Effects of Chronic Ingestion of Refined Sugars versus Natural Sweeteners on Insulin Resistance and Hepatic Steatosis in a Rat Model of Diet-Induced Obesity. Nutrients 2020, 12, 2292.

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