Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Good Morning Loveslies!!

Our resident raw foods chef/instructor, Carolyn Akens is back with some great information on natural sweeteners. Let's check out what she has to say about these wonderful and healthy sweeteners that you can use.

Sweeteners…Your Choice!

There are various discussions about sweeteners and what you, the consumer, should use. Some say agave is bad for you, but you must make your choice about the sweeteners you will use for you and your family; do your own due diligence. What you shouldn’t use are refined and processed sugars whether white or brown they are still PROCESSED. The following are the sweeteners I use personally and in Carolyn’s Raw Foods Institute.

Agave Nectar: Raw agave nectar has a mild, neutral taste. It is produced at temperatures below 118 degrees F to protect the natural enzymes, and is low on the glycemic index.

Coconut Sugar: Coconut Sugar is naturally low on the glycemic index, which has benefits for weight control and improving glucose and lipid levels in people with diabetes (type 1 and type 2).

Date Paste: made from Barhi dates (can use Medjool) and filtered water (can use distilled); 1 cup Barhi dates and 1/2 cup filtered or distilled water. In a food processor, combine the dates and water and process until completely smooth.

Date Sugar: Unrefined sugar made by finely grinding dried dates and dehydrating them.

Maple Syrup (not raw): is a liquefied sugar made from the concentrated sap of the sugar maple tree. Maple syrup is available in several different grades, ranging from Grade AA, which is thin and mild in flavor to Grade C, which is thick and strongly flavored.

Stevia: is a South American herb that has been used as a sweetener by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay for hundreds of years. The leaves of this small, green Stevia rebaudiana plant have a delicious and refreshing taste that can be 30 times sweeter than sugar. Unadulterated Stevia products may be safely used by both diabetics and hypoglycemics.

Organic Sucanat: the juice extraction processes are mechanical, and unlike typical sugar cane processing, no chemicals are added. Sucanat is non-refined cane sugar made by simply crushing freshly cut sugar cane, extracting the juice and heating it in a large vat. Once the juice is reduced to a rich, dark syrup, it is hand-paddled. Hand paddling cools and dries the syrup, creating the dry porous granules we call Sucanat. Nothing is added and nothing is taken out!

Yacon Syrup: Yacon syrup is a sugar substitute native to the Andean region of South America. It is glucose-free, and does not increase blood sugar levels. Because of this, yacon syrup is often recommended as a sweetener to those suffering from diabetes or at risk for becoming diabetic and is low on the glycemic index. Yacon syrup has a dark brown color and sweet flavor, like a cross between caramel and molasses.

The component that gives the roots a sweet taste is Fructooligosaccharide, or FOS. FOS also acts as a probiotic, serving as food for the “friendly” bacteria in the colon, including lactobacillus and bifidobacteria species.
It provides health benefits including:
• Aids digestion
• Enhances absorption of calcium and magnesium
• Improves elimination of toxins
• May reduce the risk of colon cancer

DATES: (the following dates are used exclusively by Carolyn’s Raw Foods Institute in the order shown.)
• Barhi - these are the sweetest and softest of all the dates. They taste much like caramel. They are a better date for diabetics because of inverted sugar.
• Medjool - a large meaty date with a full flavor.
• Honey - have a soft, creamy-texture and sweet-tasting species. They are a delicious eating date that seems to "melt in your mouth," and are excellent for sweetening recipes.
• Deglet Noor - this date has semisoft to firm flesh and is the most popular of dates.
• Khadrawi - This medium, sweet date has a dark mahogany color with texture that is very soft and described like "pudding." Khadrawi dates are unique because their sugar is inverted. They are the best choice for diabetics.
• Halawi - soft date, thick flesh, caramelly & sweet, somewhat wrinkled in appearance, golden brown in color.
• Thoory - a dry date with a hard flesh, and a chewy, nutty flavor.
• Zahidi - firm texture - Less sweet

Carolyn Akens
Master Raw Food Chef/Instructor - Raw Food Isn't Baby Food!
Raw Food Classes, Raw Food Chef & Raw Food Instructor Certifications, Mastering the Art of Pastry Unbaked Training

Twitter: CarolynAkens
Facebook: Carolyns Raw Foods


  1. wow! great stuff, this was so helpful. Thanks for sharing this. Take care.

  2. Thanks for the info. I have to try this.

  3. I use SweetLeaf brand of stevia! I love that it contains 0 calories, 0 carbs, a 0 glycemic index, and 0 chemicals!


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