by Dr. David Jockers
December 04, 2011
Sweet foods were a rare delicacy for our ancient ancestors.
Today, we have an unlimited supply of
sugary foods and beverages at our disposal. Natural sweeteners can
be used effectively in moderation to provide the sweetness that most
people crave. Here are the best natural sweeteners ranked in order
based on low
glycemic index and additional health benefits.
Every living creature is designed to run off of a simple sugar
called glucose. It is the primary unit in the study of metabolism.
However, there are certainly dangers involved with consuming too
much glucose. Those dangers mostly involve elevated blood sugar and
insulin, which trigger fat accumulation, cellular inflammation and
Fructose is another simple sugar that is found in nature within
fruits, honey, and plant/tree nectar. This is metabolized
differently than glucose and can cause even more hazardous effects
when consumed in excess.
Sweeteners in Order
Stevia is processed from the
leaf of the
stevia plant, which is native to South America.
This herb derivative has no effect on blood sugar, insulin
signaling and triglyceride formation.
It develops most of its
sweetness from glycosides called stevioside and rebaudioside.
These compounds are 250-300 times sweeter than sucrose,
which makes them have the ability to withstand heat and have
longer shelf life.
Studies have even shown the stevia leaf to have beneficial
effects at improving cellular insulin sensitivity and at
reducing the risk of type II diabetes and high blood
Lo Han Extract:
A fruit plant that grows native
in Southern China/Northern Thailand.
Lo Han has a very low glycemic index and low sugar content. It gets the majority
of its sweetness from a glycoside nutrient called mogrosides.
These mogrosides are 300 times
sweeter than sugar and act as anti-oxidants that have shown
abilities to inhibit cancer cell formation. This is a
wonderful sweetener but can be hard to find and expensive.
This is a very low glycemic
liquid sweetener derived from the liquid sap of the coconut
blossoms. The glycemic index is 35 making it one of the
lowest of natural sweeteners.
Also, the fructose levels are
very low at 10%, and it contains a wide variety of
anti-oxidants, minerals and other nutrients that enhance
blood sugar stability. It is challenging to get and quite
Organic, Raw Honey:
This superfood does have an
effect on blood sugar and contains approximately 53%
fructose, so one should only consume this in moderation.
Honey contains a wide array of
trace minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium,
phosphorous, magnesium, copper, chromium, manganese and
selenium. These nutrients are critical for healthy cellular
insulin sensitivity and blood sugar balance.
Raw honey is also extremely rich in anti-oxidants and
natural enzymes. Honey contains flavonoid anti-oxidants such
as pinocembrin and pinostrobin that help reduce oxidative
stress in the body and promote better enzyme activity.
Organic Blackstrap Molasses:
Molasses is a byproduct of the
processing of sugar. It does have an effect on glycemic
index and must only be consumed in moderation. Blackstrap
molasses is a very rich source of iron, copper, manganese,
potassium, magnesium and selenium.
These include xylitol, glycerol,
sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, and erythritol. Sugar alcohol
is supposed to just pass through the body unrecognized. This
causes no blood sugar imbalances and is considered a safe
However, many individuals have
reported significant gastrointestinal distress that includes
cramping, bloating, gas & diarrhea.