Caution: The write up below is illicitly oversweet. It will be undeniably challenging to control your sugar cravings.
We live in a world with a never-ending list of sugary sources. Once you start reading the labels, you will get acquainted with the measureless guise of sweeteners from dextrose to fructose to sucrose to molasses to incessant syrups – all claiming to be organic, healthy, and natural.
While no one can deny the significance of joy, which desserts bring to our lives, we have to be cautious about the risks of artificial sweeteners put us in.
To provide clarity and brevity, we will confine the comparison between some of the most commonly used natural sweeteners, such as date syrup, maple syrup, and agave syrup.
Dates and humans have an ancient and profound relation – long ago when no artificial sweeteners were available. Filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids, dates and their products sweep any comparison by a significant margin.
Choosing date syrup over other sweeteners provides a more nutrient-dense choice as it is rich with antioxidants, minerals, and fiber. You will be surprised to know that dates have 2.5 times more potassium as compared to bananas.
Here are some of the top benefits of using date syrup.
Our bodies depend on the energy derived from the foods. Our stomach breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, and the glycemic index is the measure of how quickly food is processed in your blood. Date syrup has a low glycemic index, which means a slow and sustainable increase in blood sugar as compared to refined sugar. The glycemic index of date syrup is 47 +/-2. On the contrary, agave syrup and maple syrup have glycemic index of 30 and 54 respectively. However, it is pertinent to note here that the low glycemic index of agave syrup is due to its high fructose concentration. In simple terms, consuming agave syrup due to its glycemic index is similar to consuming high fructose corn syrup.
Date syrup is loaded with abundant quantities of potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. It also contains a plentiful amount of fiber, especially the soluble fiber beta-D-Glucan.
The regular table sugar is highly processed with no nutritional value and significant health complications. Comparatively, it is made of 100% organic source with low to minimal processing. This attribute makes the date syrup the most desirable natural sweetener with no harmful side effects.
No matter which sweetener you consume, it consists of fructose, glucose, or sucrose. However, excess fructose is harmful in multiple ways. It overwhelms your liver, raises VLDL cholesterol levels, and causes insulin resistance.
Sucrose is a combination of fructose and glucose. Date syrup has a balanced concentration of fructose and glucose, keeping you safe from ailments such as heart diseases, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, and leptin resistance. Whereas agave syrup is 80% fructose, 10% glucose and maple syrup is 99% sucrose. However, the high glycemic index of maple syrup makes it unhealth for consumption.
Another reason for favoring date syrup over other sweeteners is the versatility. It contains essential amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, making it the ultimate choice for vegans, halal diet, DASH diet, and paleo diet.
Let’s take a look at other natural sweeteners to observe how they rate against the date syrup.
The product gained popularity amongst diabetic patients as a trend to shift from artificial sweeteners. Agave syrup, marketed as a natural, diabetic-friendly sweetener, is made of highly processed starch and loses all benefits during processing and refining. It was mainly used in cold or hot drinks like iced tea, cocktails etc. Also, it used in baking and cooking as well.
In actuality, agave syrup is way more harmful than regular table sugar. It is because the processing converts it into fructose, which has adverse health effects. Due to higher concentration of fructose, agave syrup causes increased belly fat and fatty liver disease. Moreover, fructose intake is also associated with increased LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which causes heart disease.
Another plant-based natural sweetener that is extremely popular in Northern America. Maple syrup is undoubtedly a better choice than regular sugar, but it has slightly lower sugar content than date syrup but with a high glycemic index. Date syrup’s low GI value puts it ahead of maple syrup even with a moderately high sugar concentration.
Maple syrup is mostly used as a topping with waffles, pancakes, French toast etc. ad also as a flavoring agent in baking as well. It is less harmful than agave syrup as it contains high levels of antioxidants, riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium etc. which are very healthy for human beings. However, date syrup sweeps all the appreciation when it comes to health benefits.
Let’s take a look at the nutritional comparison of all these sweeteners. The comparative analysis below clearly shows the nutritional supremacy of date syrup over its competitors.
Date syrup contains more potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, and fiber than the other two plant-based natural sweeteners.
Keeping in mind all the comparative points discussed above, the fact remains that date syrup is by far the most healthy, natural, and least processed plant-based sweetener. Having low glycemic index, being loaded with essential vitamins & minerals, minimal processing, and numerous health benefits put it way ahead of its competitors.
So, let’s date!