Natural fruit sweeteners are another excellent way to replace ordinary table sugar. The main advantage is that fruits contain a lot of sugar compounds and some are particularly abundant.
Fruit sugar or fructose is quite naturally the one type of sugar consistently found in fruits. Other sugars such as glucose and sucrose are present too. Sometimes fructose is available in the fruit as a discrete component, in other cases it is bonded with glucose to form sucrose. Here are few examples of fruits and how much fructose they have:
- Apples = 5.9 g (per 100 grams)
- Bananas = 4.9
- Grapes = 8.1
- Peaches = 1.5
- Dried Figs = 22.9
- Pears = 6.2
To turn them into usable natural fruit sweeteners, these fruits need to be processed. They can be turned into juices, syrups, extracts, or even dehydrated. The point is to get rid of the excess water in order to come up with a form that has more concentrated sugar.
In the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this type of sweetener is recommended only for moderate consumption because fructose also presents certain risks when excessively used.
Find out the pros and cons of natural fruit sweeteners so you can decide on your own.
Natural Fruit Sweetener Benefits:
Fructose is said to be almost twice as sweet as ordinary table sugar. Despite this fact, this sugar compound has a surprisingly low glycemic index of 19. Sucrose and glucose have indexes of 65 and 100 respectively.
In practical terms this would mean you could use lesser amounts of natural fruit sweeteners to achieve the same taste with regular sugar. Also given the lower glycemic index, such a substitute can then be relatively safer for those who need to carefully maintain their blood sugar levels.
One explanation given for this lower effect on blood sugar is that fructose is mainly metabolized in the liver and so is not immediately absorbed in the bloodstream. If your aim is to load up on carbohydrates to have enough fuel to burn for intense physical exercise, natural fruit sweeteners can provide a more sustained delivery of energy.
Olympic athletes in the past were said to eat a lot of dried figs and honey to improve their performance.
Natural Fruit Sweetener Risks:
Natural fruit sweeteners still need to be judiciously taken because fructose does have some setbacks. Just as with any other type of sugar, taking too much of this substitute is going to lead to health problems like obesity, diabetes and the cardiovascular diseases.
Some people have a condition called fructose malabsorption. This is a digestive disorder where the small intestine is unable to process the sugar. Most of the fructose ends up in the large intestine and becomes food for the bacteria that live in the colon. Fermentation occurs and results in some gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and flatulence.
A much more serious condition is hereditary fructose intolerance where the liver enzymes can’t metabolize the particular sugar. In this case natural fruit sweeteners and anything with fructose will have to be avoided altogether.
Natural Fruit Sweetener Practical Uses:
Running the fruit through a juicer or food processor and subsequently using that concentrate as a sweetener is likely the best way to preserve its active enzymes, vitamins and minerals. You’ll lose the dietary fiber however and this form is also the least sweet.
To have a real sugar substitute you may have to boil the juice until it reaches the consistency of syrup. Much of the water evaporates and you’re left with more concentrated sugar. This form of natural fruit sweetener is appropriate for baking. Usually 2/3 cup of fruit syrup will adequately replace 1 cup of ordinary sugar.
Fruit juice concentrate or syrups are readily available in groceries or health stores. But if you’re the type that likes to tinker around in the kitchen or are meticulous about the food you eat making your own is easy enough. If you have to purchase a packaged product go for organic fruit sweeteners to make sure it’s really natural.
In the next post, I’ll tell you about the pros and cons of blackstrap molasses 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 natural fruit sweeteners, 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 natural fruit sweeteners.