Sweeter Than Sugar

Agave nectar has become a popular sugar alternative among dieters as well as health-conscious consumers.

There are many types of sugars and sweeteners out there, and almost every year that number grows. From natural to synthetic, some of our favorite beverages are enjoyed with such sweeteners. Some are considered “bad” while others are considered “healthy,” but they all have their pros and cons. This article aims to put some of the pros and cons into perspective.

Sugar

The pros: Sugar, both white and brown, are the most widely known and used sweeteners in restaurants. Though they gets a bad rep for being high in calories and a plethora of other health considerations, customers are likely to make sugar their top choice for sweetening drinks.

The cons: Sugar is quite possibly the dieter’s worst enemy. Studies have shown that the more a person chooses to consume fatty, sweet foods, the more he/she craves them. Sweetened beverages have shown a correlation with obesity, due to increased calorie counts in the resulting products. Sugar consumption has been linked with an increase in “bad” cholesterol levels. It is important to note that though these negative considerations are often reflected on white sugar, many other types of sweeteners, whether containing fructose and/or glucose, have the same effects. Despite the connotations associated with white sugar, it continues to be the go-to sweetener.

Honey

The pros: Though there is a conception that honey is healthier than sugar, it actually has more calories. However, since it is sweeter than sugar, less of it is usually used in drinks and recipes, which can lead to a lower overall calorie count. Additionally, many appreciate its “spiced” taste when compared to sugar.

The cons: In addition to its high calorie count, honey may contain a significant amount of pesticides. A 2010 study found that 98% of apiary-extracted bees’ wax contained pesticides. This is probably due to the concentration of the pesticides on the plants from which bees extract nectar. Another factor to take into consideration is young children. Parents are usually instructed to refrain from giving their babies honey, until they pass one year of age. Therefore, in a family-friendly venue, honey may not be the best choice of sweetener.

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