It definitely seems that over time as you clean up your diet and remove processed and sugary foods your palate changes. I used to love juice and now find that it is so sweet that I don’t like it anymore. Chocolate is another good example. I now also prefer 70% cocoa dark chocolate to milk chocolate (that is recent!).
That said, a little sweetener in baking or a cup of tea is still a nice treat. And there are definitely some options that are better than others. The common measure of a sweetener on the body is how much it affects blood sugar, or it’s glycemic index. Glycemic index (compared to glucose which has a rating of 100) is how fast a carbohydrate triggers a response in circulating blood sugar.
In general we are aiming to eat foods that are lower in the glycemic index scale… with the exception of times like post workout when a higher index food like a yam is a good choice.
I was reading about sweeteners a while ago and started using agave rather than honey in my tea (and margaritas), based on it’s low glycemic index. I can’t say that I have noticed any change in taste, and have tried it as a substitute in other food items as well. I also found that I was less likely to eat it off a spoon out of the cupboard. Don’t pretend you haven’t done that….
Here is a list of common sweeteners with their glycemic index rating:
white sugar- 64
brown sugar- 64
high fructose corn syrup- 62
cane juice- 55
maple syrup- 54
brown rice syrup- 25
stevia- less than 1
BUT! It is important to understand both glycemic index AND glycemic load, which takes into account the density of a food….. and why a bagel is such a scary food. It’s quite interesting to compare glycemic loads of grains vs. veggies which are both carb sources.
GLYCEMIC LOAD= GI x carbohydrate grams per serving /100
*** Notice here how pasta has a relatively low GI but have a high GL because of it’s density!
Then the other day Penny was telling me about a coconut sweetener that she found in the city that I hadn’t heard of. It’s called Coco Natura and it has a glycemic index of 35. The redeeming feature here is the source (I’ll take coconut over rice!), and that it’s granular like sugar rather than a syrup.
We really are lucky to have the food options that we have.