Sugar is sweet, but it’s not your skin’s best friend. Consuming loads of sugar can overwhelm your digestive system and bloodstream, wreaking havoc via free radical production, breakouts, inflammation and other unfriendly symptoms. It can also lead to many serious health problems. Because table sugar is processed (usually from corn) into crystalline fructose, it is very hard on the human body. Most dietitians and doctors recommend keeping sugar pretty low in the diet. Pure white table sugar is highest in the glycemic index and causes huge insulin and cortisol spikes, which can lead to all kinds of problems (like attention deficit, headaches, irregular digestion and metabolism, etc.)
Many people have turned to artificial sweeteners, like Splenda, Nutri-Sweet, Equal, and other creations with the hopes that we can have our cake and eat it too. Unfortunately, these synthetic sweeteners have shown in research to put their own burdens on the body. In some severe cases, use of artificial sweeteners has been linked to diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s…not good.
So what can we do to satisfy our sweet tooth without mortgaging our skin and our health? The answer may lie in a special cactus plant called agave.
Agave is a natural plant extract turned into syrup for sweetening and can be substituted for sugar in nearly any recipe (substitute 1/4 cup Agave for every 1 cup of sugar.) This sweet nectar is extracted from the native Mexican agave plant. It has a very low glycemic index (about 27 – compared to white bread’s 112 and honey’s 83) and tastes like a combination of honey and sugar (but a little sweeter).
Prefer the taste of Splenda or Equal to table sugar? Try Stevia instead. Stevia is another natural plant extract that can be purchased at almost all grocery stores in bulk or in boxed packets and it tastes a lot more like a low calorie sweetener. *A little Stevia goes a long way, so be sure to use it sparingly and make proper adjustments to baking recipes.