Highly-processed, refined sugar often has very little or no nutritional value. This can have an impact on your immune system which, when you are suffering from allergies/intolerances, is already weakened. In addition, the GI level of refined sugar is very high, so you may find that you experience blood sugar level dips, leading to energy and mood swings. So it’s a good idea to use sweeteners which help support your immune system and boost your nutritional intake, instead. There’s a wonderful range of products available, many of which are easy to source and to use.
Made from the agarve plant in Mexico, agarve syrup has a mild flavour and is very sweet. You may need to order this from an internet retail store if you can’t find it in your local health food store. Use in baking, desserts and to sweeten drinks.
Nutritious and with a low GI, this is a more healthy version of a sweetener than most. Barley syrup (also known as barley malt syrup) is made from sprouted barley and has a gentle flavour and sweetness. Nutritious and low in GI, this is a more healthy version of a sweetener than most. Available in some health food stores and also from internet retail sites.
related ingredients: barley flour, barley
Blackstrap mollases are made from sugar, but unrefined so that it still contains a good source of vitamins and minerals. Widely available – you can often find this in large supermarkets, as well as health food shops.
Made from maize corn, and sometimes combined with barley malt syrup, this is a nutritious alternative to sugar with a much lower GI. Buy this either from your local health food store or, if it’s not available, from an internet retail store.
related ingredients: corn pasta
Date syrup is high in vitamins A, B and D as well as calcium, magnesium and potassium, and has a low GI. You can use this as a sweetener in the same way to honey, and it is particularly useful for binding ingredients together in a recipe.
Whilst this doesn’t have a high nutitional content, fruit sugar has a GI level five times lower than refined sugar. It is widely available and you can simply use it in all types of cooking just as you would use refined sugar. Some varieties are sweeter than refined sugar, so you may not need to use as much as you normally do.
related recipes: blueberry and banana muffins, chocolate and hazelnut brownies, raspberry tarts, flourless chocolate cake, tarte tatin, plum crumble, coconut panacotta, the ultimate gluten-free & dairy-free chocolate cake, cherry and almond ice cream, apricot and cardamom soufflés, brioche with caramelized peaches, raspberry and rosewater cupcakes, chocolate birthday cake, cherry pie
Rice syrup is generally made from brown rice to produce a sweetner you can use in baking and for desserts, drinks and spreads. Unlike highly-processed sugar, rice syrup is nutritious and has a low GI. You’ll probably need to buy this from an internet retail store unless you can get hold of it from your local health food store.
related ingredients: rice milk, rice pasta, rice noodles, rice paper sheets, rice
Xylitol is a completely natural product, extracted from corn. Regarded as the wonder food of sweetners, it is low GI, with less carbs and calories than sugar, and anti-bacterial properties. Use it just as you would use sugar – for sweetning drinks, sauces, desserts, cakes, biscuits, pastry and all baking. You’ll probably need to order this from an internet retail site if you can’t find it in your local health food store.
related recipes: plum crumble, coconut panacotta, the ultimate gluten-free & dairy-free chocolate cake, strawberry semifreddo