Today’s sweetener spotlight in the Superhuman Food Pyramid is on blackstrap molasses.
The name “blackstrap” describes the food pretty well as it looks like dark-brown goo. Molasses are the viscous liquid byproducts of the sugar extraction process. Sugar cane is crushed to get the juice out and then boiled to crystallize the sugar. The third round of boiling sugar cane juice results in blackstrap molasses.
Most of the sugar has been taken out of blackstrap and this makes it the least sweet of all the other types of molasses derived from previous extractions. It still contains enough sugar compounds however to be a viable alternative sweetener.
Take a look at what other beneficial substances can be found in blackstrap molasses and find out why it should only be used moderately.
Blackstrap Molasses Benefits:
Blackstrap molasses are surprisingly rich in mineral nutrients. Here are the four most abundant ones found in blackstrap and how they can benefit you.
Manganese – Two teaspoons of the syrup can provide around 18% of you body’s daily need for this nutrient. As mentioned in the discussion on organic maple syrup, manganese is a component of the enzyme superoxide dismutase. This enzyme serves as an antioxidant by protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals. Manganese is also necessary for the proper synthesis of fatty acids needed in the nervous system.
Copper – This trace mineral plays various roles in your body’s processes. Among other functions, copper is involved in how iron is absorbed and used, helps in bone and tissue development, and is part of melanin production. Melanin is the substance that gives you skin and hair color.
Iron – This is one of the minerals that make up hemoglobin or the red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body. Iron is additionally a substantial part of your body’s metabolism and energy production processes. It is during children’s intense stages of growth that iron is in high demand.
Calcium – Besides being the major component of bones and teeth, calcium is essential for the proper contraction of muscles and the heart, transmission of nerve impulses, and blood clotting. It’s one of the more important mineral nutrients along with iron.
Blackstrap Molasses Risks:
A tablespoon or around 20 grams of this type of molasses contains 5.88 g of sucrose, 2.56 g of fructose, and 2.38 g of glucose. This composition of sugar compounds results in a glycemic index of 55 for blackstrap. That’s not really a low number and it should tell you that this sweetener cannot be excessively used.
You’re probably well aware of the dangers of over-consumption of sugar. Keep in mind that the adequate amount is relative to your physical condition and lifestyle. Very active people are able to take in more sugar because they burn the calories. Meanwhile some people despite their level of daily physical activity have digestive systems that don’t easily absorb sugars such as fructose.
Blackstrap Molasses Practical Uses:
Blackstrap molasses is used in dishes or baked goods not so much to completely replace ordinary sugar as to bring in its distinct earthy flavor, a flavor some would describe as bittersweet.
The typical substitution in baking is that one unit of sugar equals half a unit of molasses plus another half unit of a different but compatible sweetener such as maple syrup. This results in more or less the same sweetness as the original recipe.
For cooking, blackstrap is often used as a marinade or sauce for meats that will be either roasted or baked.
Pregnant women or those who are menstruating have a higher need for iron. Blackstrap molasses can serve as an iron supplement in such cases and be taken directly. A teaspoon or two a day is usually adequate for this therapeutic purpose.
In the next post, I’ll tell you about the pros and cons of sucanat and how it should be used in moderation in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the herbs, spices and sweeteners on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
If you have questions, comments or feedback about the pros and cons of blackstrap molasses, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the pros and cons of blackstrap molasses.