Sweeteners to Avoid:

1. White/cane sugar– made from the sugar cane plant, over 99% of the nutrients are lost during processing leaving just empty calories.

2. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)/corn sugar/glucose-fructose– HFCS is made from corn where some of its glucose is turned into fructose for the desired sweet taste. It is found in most commercial and processed foods. HFCS has been linked to diabetes, obesity, and is extremely addictive.

3. Aspartame– an artificial sweetener which is metabolized into methyl alcohol and formaldehyde in the human body and has been reported to cause headaches, dizziness, blindness, and seizures, among other symptoms. It may be found in diet sodas, candies, gum, and toothpaste.

4. Splenda– falsely advertised as “made from sugar so it tastes like sugar,” Splenda is actually made in a lab. There have been no long term studies done on its safety, with some preliminary studies showing consumption may cause enlarged liver and kidneys…No thanks!

Better Choices for Sweeteners:

1. Stevia- a natural calorie-free sweetener made from the stevia herb. Stevia can be purchased in a powder or concentrated liquid form. Stevia is a great replacement for Aspartame and Splenda for those trying to lose weight or individuals with diabetes. It can be found in health food stores.

2. Xylitol– a natural sugar alcohol which is calorie free. Found in natural chewing gums as studies have shown it may help with tooth decay.

3. Coconut sugar– made from coconuts, this sugar has a very low glycemic index rating. It has a delicious flavour similar to brown sugar and is great in recipes.

4. Sucanat– a non refined cane sugar, it is made from dried cane juice using minimal processing, therefore it still contains most of the nutrients found in sugar cane.

5. Blackstrap Molasses– is a by-product of processing sugar cane into refined sugar. During the processing of sugar cane, all of the nutrients are removed from the refined sugar and left in the molasses; therefore, it is a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron. Always choose organic molasses to avoid the chemicals commonly used in cane sugar processing.

6. Honey– made by bees using the nectar from flowers. Honey has antimicrobial actions and can help you fight off a cold. There are numerous local farmers that make honey so make sure your honey is from the Ottawa area.