By Casey Seidenberg Special To The Washington Post
Not all sweeteners are alike. Refined white sugar and corn syrup are stripped of nutrients, have a high glycemic index and contribute to obesity and diabetes.
The artificial sweetener aspartame lacks nutrients and has been shown to cause problems such as dizziness and headaches.
Many agave syrups contain 70 to 80 percent fructose, more than in high-fructose corn syrup.
But blackstrap molasses and grade B pure maple syrup have more nutrients and impart flavor.
High in iron and calcium, this sweetener bestows a sweet and tangy flavor.
It has less sugar and a higher nutrient content than basic molasses and can be substituted for molasses in most recipes.
But it is slightly more bitter, so taste-test as you use it.
Just two teaspoons provide 13 percent of your daily requirement of iron and almost 12 percent of calcium, as wella s magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese.
Although blackstrap molasses has a similar calorie count to white sugar, its glycemic load is lower. This means diabetics can consume it more safely.
Use it in gingerbread. Stir into a bowl of oatmeal. Add to baked beans. Baste a turkey with molasses to give it a warm color and a richer taste. Rub on chicken before baking for a crispy crust.
Grade B pure maple syrup
Maple syrup has a higher sugar content and a lower mineral content than blackstrap molasses, but its sweet taste is more universal.
Two teaspoons of maple syrup provide 22 percent of your daily requirement of manganese, a mineral essential to survival.
Manganese is shown to build strong bones, keep our blood healthy and support antioxidant work. The zinc in maple syrup supports our immunity and heart.
Many people choose grade A maple syrup because it most resembles the highly processed versions made with corn syrup.
Grade B is usually produced later in the season, tends to have a richer flavor, pours a bit thicker and is more nutrient-dense. In other words, B is a better choice.
Replace a cup of white sugar in recipes with a 1/3 cup to a ½ cup of maple syrup and reduce the recipe’s liquid measurement by ¼ cup.
Mix into a bowl of oatmeal, millet or quinoa. Add to yogurt and fruit. Toast your own granola with olive oil and maple syrup.
Drizzle on roasted sweet potatoes and squash. Combine with soy sauce and orange juice for a delicious chicken marinade or glaze a turkey