The question has been raised, how would you compare sweeteners and where does honey stand when compared to the nutritional benefits of other sweeteners. Many studies have been done comparing nutritional benefits of sweeteners; the general consensus from double-blind studies is as follows: Refined sugar, corn syrup, and agave nectar offer the least nutritional benefits; raw cane sugar is slightly higher than the first three mentioned;  maple syrup, brown sugar, and honey are considered intermediates; and, dark and black–strap molasses offer the highest nutritional benefits among sweeteners.

 

It should be remembered that all sweeteners contain relatively few nutritional benefits when compared to the benefits that could be derived from applying the same caloric expenditures toward the consumption of whole fruits, vegetables, grains, or legumes and by omitting the consumption of unecessary sweeteners. Therefore, regardless of the superiority of one sweetener over another, sweeteners should be used minimally or not at all.

 

If sweeteners are used minimally, using one versus another will not promote a significant health difference in one's diet. Therefore as you limit your use of sweeteners to a minimal usage, you can use whichever sweetener enhances any particular recipe best. For example, a touch of agave nectar. or maple syrup, or honey might provide superior enjoyment to black molasses within a smoothie, whereas black molasses might provide a richer experience with naturally leavened bread. As you experiment with sweeteners, remember they have little to no nutritional value and are generally considered empty calories that lead to weight gains and other problems. 

 

The average consumption of 70 kilograms of sweetener per American per year is far too high and is unhealthful. Some evidence indicates it may even be higher among the LDS population. If you are determined to use this much sweetener in your diet, you will derive greater benefits by using intermediate or high sweeteners on the list above. However, when comparing nutritional benefits of foods which do not easily sustain health, one must wonder about the relevance of such a discussion.

 

Significant changes in eating trends have occured between the early 1900s and today which greatly affect each of our lives. All of the "blue-zone regions" of the world, where people suffer the least disease and enjoy the greatest longevity, eat today very similarly to the way Americans ate in the early 1900s. By comparison, the average American today consumes 93% of his calories from sugar, oil, refined and processed grains, and animal-based foods. Only seven percent of today's caloric choices are derived from whole fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.

 

What you must come to terms with, if you desire greater dietary health, is that our society is already preset for dietary failure. If you simply go with today's dietary flow, you will exerience diet-induced diseases and premature death. By comparison, if you happened to live in rural Taiwan, your chances of dietary success would be infinitely greater. Why? Because the dietary flow in rural Taiwan does not include unhealthful church and neighborhood socials; nor would you walk or drive down streets in rural Taiwan that are lined with fast-food joints; nor would you shop in grocery stores that contain over 250,000 unhealthful food products; and you would not watch TV commericials that stimulate false appetite and that promote unhealthful foods. Rather, your natural environmental food choices would lead to a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains and that limited animal-based food consumption to less than 10% of your caloric intake. You would a sound diet without even having to think about it.

 

In America, the only way you can have a healthful diet is to become educated and wise in your dietary decisions. If you just go with the flow, the flow is failing and so will you, 100% guaranteed! The only Blue-Zone region in the world that exists among westernized civilizations is Loma Linda, California, where 95% of the residents are Seventh-Day Adventists, who are taught a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet that is exceptionally high in intake of whole fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Through education, they have risen above devastating western dietary trends.

 

Because of superior dietary education residents of Loma Linda thrive dietarily while most Americans fail. They offer the promise, that even in westernized civilizations, it is possible to overcome unhealthful church and neighborhood socials, unhealthful church and university cafeterias, streets that are lined with fast-food joints, and grocery stories that contain far more unhealthful than healthful food choices. 

 

Become educated, master the principles of sustainable dietary health, and become an exceptional influence for good in your neighborhood and community. Remember also, that a shining example, love, and  great tasiting healthful meals shared with others speak more loudly than words to the unintiated. Constraint, harsh words, and passing judgment upon those who do not follow sound dietary counsel helps no one.

 

Jim

 

 

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In your call-in show today you spoke about unrefined agave. Would you please give me the brandname that you use?
Jim: I am really mixed up about this sugar thing. I have been told at least for the past two years that blue agave was an excellent replacement for sugar and it was great for diabetics because it did not raise their glycemic index. You even had it on your last sale. Greensmoothie girl also says it is an excellent source of sweetner????
Sweeteners are all just empty calories, and they should be used sparingly. If you are diabetic, it is perferable to limit intake of all sweeteners. One is really no better than the other. I have a Master's degree in Medical Dietetics. Greensmoothie girl has no credentials other than what she has gathered through her online research. However, this site (LDS Heath) appears to have good, solid nutrition information.. I think a diet that follows the word of wisdom (fruits, vegetables and grains using meat products sparingly) should be our goal as Latter-day Saints.
Connie Nelson said:
Jim: I am really mixed up about this sugar thing. I have been told at least for the past two years that blue agave was an excellent replacement for sugar and it was great for diabetics because it did not raise their glycemic index. You even had it on your last sale. Greensmoothie girl also says it is an excellent source of sweetner????
The initial information I studied regarding agave nectar is inconsistent with further research that has been done on sweeteners. Thus far I've seen reports claiming glycemic index rates as low as 17 and as high as 75 plus or minus 8 points. Some research claims that this sweetener aids in the absorption of calcium; other research refutes such conclusions. Some research indicates that when comparing this sweetener to the other sweeteners mentioned in this posting, agave nectar offers more anitoxidants than other sweeteners; other double-blind studies refute such claims. I spoke today with the owners of a respected variety of agave nectar; it is commonly believed to be the best on the market. They are having a comparison study performed for a variety of brands of agave nectars to determine if various manufacturing processes might be responsible for such wide swings in scientific studies regarding this sweetener. If a thorough comparison of major brands of Agave Nectar is performed, using one labs and identical assays, it is likely we may have better information available regarding this subject in the future than we have today. Regardless of the outcome of such a study, the truth remains, all sweeteners are high in calories and low in nutrient density and therefore should be used sparingly, as a condiment only. I'll keep you posted on the outcome of these studies.
I missed your show but intend to listen to the recording. The church social thing is hard. I went to a RS dinner lately, where there were no nutritious choices. I told them that I had already eaten, which was true. Afterward, I went home and prepared a delicious salad. I think in the future, I'll prepare a picture perfect salad and an inviting bowl of fruit to eat at such events. Then their mouths will be watering and interest peaked.
I'm looking at two brands fairly carefully; the first is Volcanic Nectar; the second is Xagave. I don't know what to recommend yet, except for my general recommendation to go real easy on sweeteners or to avoid them all together.

Julie Greenman said:
In your call-in show today you spoke about unrefined agave. Would you please give me the brandname that you use?
I let my Relief Society president know I am willing to bring food to church socials; that way I can ensure that at least ONE thing on the table will be healthy! It is a sad commentary on our culture that we eat so poorly.

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