Agave vs honey & other natural sweeteners: Which are actually good for you?
Honey, one of the natural sweeteners, shouldn’t be consumed by people with candidiasis or blood sugar problems. Read here about other natural, yet healthier alternatives – including the highly recommended Lakanto!
Everyone enjoys the sweet taste, but even most natural sweeteners feed candida (a systemic fungal infection), which destroys your immune system and creates uncontrollable cravings for more sugar.
The good news is that healthy natural sweeteners do exist. In fact, for decades I’ve been researching sweeteners all over the world to uncover those that would be optimal for your health.
Read on to learn more – including insights on the newest and most exciting sweetener on the market!
Sugar – Is it Natural?
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate made up of fructose, and glucose. These two simple sugars join to create sucrose.
While sucrose is found naturally in plants and fruits, the refining process required to make granulated sugar (including cane, raw, or brown sugar) is what makes it bad for consumption.
America’s addiction to sugar has created an epidemic of health and immune problems including candida, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, adrenal fatigue, diabetes, and obesity.
For more details on the dangers of eating sugar, read: The 25 Key Reasons to Dramatically Reduce or Avoid Sugar in Your Diet.
Raw, Organic Honey
People have been eating honey for thousands of years, and raw honey is believed to have a number of health benefits, particularly antimicrobial, wound healing qualities.
Raw honey is one and a half times sweeter than sugar; however, it still feeds the systemic yeast infection, candida. It also raises blood sugar almost as much as table sugar.1
For these reasons, natural sweeteners like honey is not included in stage one of the Body Ecology program.
Once you are free of candida symptoms, and your digestive tract is well populated with the friendly microflora essential for good health, you may be able to handle small amounts of raw, organic honey if it is properly combined. The food combining rule for honey is to eat it alone on an empty stomach. This means the first thing in the morning. For example you might prepare a hot cup of tea and put honey in it.
The best honey in the world is active manuka honey from New Zealand. You want to purchase active manuka honey with a fairly high UMF rating. While +10 may be available in your health food store, the highest I have purchased is +35. Over twenty years of research at Waikato University in New Zealand has shown that this special honey naturally destroys bacteria including staphaureus, streptococcus (even antibiotic resistant MRSA, Golden Staph), as well as h. pylori (helicobacter pylori), the bacteria typically associated to stomach ulcers.
Crude Blackstrap Molasses
Molasses is made by refining sugarcane and sugar beets. During processing, sugar crystals are extracted leaving a dark, syrupy mixture.
If the molasses is from sugarcane grown in high quality soil, it can have an abundance of minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium.
Blackstrap Molasses is the darkest color molasses you can get, and this indicates the presence of less sugar, and more nutrients.
Again, even this healthiest version of molasses will feed candida and would only be eaten on an empty stomach (see honey above) after your inner ecosystem is well established and your candida symptoms have completely disappeared.
Agave is derived from a plant found mainly in Mexico and contains a sweet, sticky juice that is ninety percent fructose.
Until recently blue agave was used only for tequila distilling. Then growers found a way to process agave, and convert it into something called hydrolyzed high fructose inulin syrup.
This chemically processed agave is similar to high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a sugar with serious health implications.
In fact, some agave distributors have been caught re-labeling HFCS as agave syrup!2
It is difficult to tell whether the agave syrup sold on the market is from a toxic variety of agave, which might be used due to the shortage of blue agave, or whether it is the highly processed fructose syrup.
For these reasons, it is best to avoid agave syrup until further legal mandates are in place to ensure its source, and its safety.
Curb Your Sugar Cravings
Fermented foods and drinks have been used throughout history and have many benefits. One great benefit is that they stop your cravings for sugar and carbohydrates! This is one of the most important reasons why fermented foods and drinks are a mainstay of the Body Ecology system of health and healing. Could ending the current epidemic of obesity be as simple as adding fermented foods and liquids to the American diet? Now you can begin to see why we at Body Ecology take our work very seriously.
To stop those cravings for sugar, carbohydrates and even alcohol, you can make Young Coconut Kefir at home using fresh coconut water and our Body Ecology starters. Simply start drinking one pint (2 cups) per day and in about four days you’ll notice that your cravings for sugar and alcohol may subside. Our other fermented liquids like CocoBiotic and Innergybiotic are convenient (they come already made so you don’t need to do any preparation) and help replace cravings for sugar with cravings for healthy, nourishing foods.
Once cravings for strong sugars stop, you’ll find yourself feeling truly satisfied with the more subtle sweetness in fruits and in vegetables.
The MOST HIGHLY Recommended Natural Sweeteners by Body Ecology
Until your energy and health returns, I recommend that you use only these natural sweeteners – they do NOT feed candida.
Stevia is all natural, has zero calories, does not cause blood sugar spikes, and does NOT feed candida. Try the delicious Stevia Liquid Concentrate to healthfully satisfy your sweet tooth! Read More.
Stevia, is derived from a small shrub found primarily in China and South America, and is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. In its unrefined yet medicinal form it has a slight licorice taste that makes it unpleasant as one of the natural sweeteners. Many years ago the Japanese discovered how to extract the two sweet elements in stevia, (rebaudioside and stevioside) from the leaf creating the safest, natural, calorie-free sweetener on the market today.
Fifteen years ago when the FDA put a ban on the importation of stevia into the US, I was fortunate to have obtained a large supply of it just prior to the ban. I created a grass roots movement turning on tens of thousands of people to stevia with the help of Doctors Robert Atkins, Andrew Weil and Jullian Whittaker. We all understood how important stevia could be to an American public that seemed to be addicted to sugar and aspartame. Coca Cola, part of the group trying to suppress stevia at that time ironically has now asked the FDA to approve it for use in their Diet Coke.
Here are some of the benefits of stevia:
· It has a long history of safe use as an herbal sweetener, and as an antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic agent.
· It may help balance the pancreas, which is quite often compromised in people with candida.
· It is recommended for diabetics and for people with hypoglycemia.
· It regulates the digestive tract and greatly increases energy.
Stevia is wonderful in teas, our fermented drinks and as a sweetener in quinoa flakes cooked into a cereal for breakfast. It is especially delicious with the flavor of fruit and with dairy foods. However, it is not as versatile for baking. Stevia comes in a powder form and as a liquid in different concentrations. Getting just the right amount of sweetness can be tricky. At Body Ecology we created our own version of Stevia using only the finest quality rebaudioside and stevia extracts. We then filter it to remove the licorice-like aftertaste. It is delicious, with the perfect amount of sweetness.
Now that Coca-Cola is using stevia, I feel that we have crossed an important milestone. With 65% of Americans overweight and even obese, we now have a chance to overcome our addictions with both stevia and probiotic foods and liquids that control cravings.
Also healthy and natural, xylitol sweetener is extracted from birch cellulose. Xylitol does not feed candida and has these benefits:
- It has been clinically proven to fight dental cavities, and to facilitate the remineralization of dental enamel.3
- It tastes similar to sugar, with 40% fewer calories.
- It helps stabilize blood sugar.
Lakanto – Lo Han Guo
After decades of searching, Body Ecology has finally found the perfect companion to our popular, best-tasting stevia liquid concentrate. While Stevia has long been recommended by Body Ecology for beverages, tea, fruit and dairy foods, we have also been aware of its limitations. What we wanted and needed in our system of healing was a safe, natural sweetener that could be used for baking, particularly since so many parents want to make treats for their kids. And at last we are pleased to say we have found it.
Lo Han, another natural sweetener that does not feed candida, is extracted from the Lo Han Guo fruit, which is a member of the gourd family.
Here are some benefits of Lakanto:
- It is 250-400 times sweeter than sugar.
- Is calorie free.
- Like Stevia and xylitol, it is safe for diabetics and hypoglycemics.
- It is used as a medicinal herb in Southern China, and for treating coughs and sore throats.
Lakanto also has these amazing characteristics:
- Zero calories
- All natural ingredients
- Sweetness equal to sugar
- No aftertaste
- Heat resistance makes it excellent for baking
- No influence on blood sugar or insulin
- Can be used anywhere in place of sugar
- Prevents cavities
- Comes in granulated, cubed, and syrup forms
- Does NOT feed candida
- Food and Diet in Diabetes
- From “Sweet Deception” by Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Kendra Degen Pearsall, 2006
- Benefits of using Xylitol