Agave syrup and coconut sugar: Do new alternatives to white sugar help you lose weight?
Agave syrup or maple syrup, birch, coconut, palm and whole cane sugar...more or less deserve their reputation as healthy alternatives to white sugar.
For several years, sugar has been in trouble and has been implicated in the "epidemic" of obesity and type 2 diabetes globally. Highly refined and thus devoid of good micronutrients, it is of no nutritional benefit. But since it is difficult to completely do without sweet flavor, and since good sweets contribute to the pleasure of eating, manufacturers introduce new sugars, presented as more natural and better for health.
The new sugars: the calorie side, what's their value?
White sugar, whether extracted from beets or cane, is 100% carbohydrates (sugars) and provides 400 calories per 100g, or 40kcal per teaspoon (10g). Whole cane sugars, such as rapadura or muscovado, are unrefined, but contain 96-97% carbs, so they're roughly the same as calories. The same for coconut or palm sugars (obtained as cane sugar, by evaporating the juice of the coconut flower or sugar palm). Date sugar, maple syrup, or agave have slightly less energy, 30 to 32 calories per tablespoon, because they only contain 75 to 80% carbohydrates.
Right Choice: Birch sugar (also called xylitol) at 24kcal per teaspoon, and erythritol (from fermenting sugars) at 0kcal (because the body can't absorb it), they really make the difference.
Its great feature: Super sweetening power
This is a feature that is rolled out regularly. So we can easily reduce it by 30% compared to regular sugar. Either because it's too fragrant: Muscovado has a taste of licorice, rapadura, palm sugar and maple syrup reminiscent of caramel. Either because it is like date sugar or agave syrup, it is rich in fructose with a higher sweetening power than that of sugar. Exceptions to the rule, birch sugar and erythritol are dosed like white sugar.
It contains few nutrients
Compared to white sugar that provides only empty calories, unrefined sugars provide the mineral salts, polyphenol antioxidants and even fiber to date sugar. For example, 100 grams of muscovado provides 2.8 mg of iron, 100 grams of coconut sugar, and 2 mg of zinc, or in both cases 20% of the RDI. But when you reduce to the amount used, barely 10g in yogurt, the contribution becomes minimal!
High glycemic index
It is not enough to look at the calories in food. Equally important is the glycemic index (GI), that is, its ability to raise blood sugar levels. Maple syrup, whole cane, coconut and palm sugar primarily contain sucrose, which is the same carbohydrate as regular sugar! Thus, it also raises blood sugar levels quickly, and when consumed in excess, it promotes weight gain and tooth decay. Agave syrup and date sugar
mainly provide fructose. This sugar has a low glycemic index (it does not raise blood sugar), but once you eat more than 50 grams per day, it can raise your blood triglycerides (fats) and cause fatty liver ( Also called "fatty liver disease"). As for birch syrup and erythritol, they fall into the category of polyols. They do not raise blood sugar and do not cause carcinogenesis. But it can cause bloating and other digestive disorders, especially when the intake exceeds 10 grams per day.
Perfect sugars for baking
Provided that it is eaten well, taking into account its sweetness and flavour. Agave syrup gives smoothness to fruit sorbets and mousses. But in cakes, it becomes bitter when cooked above 180 ° C. Maple syrup goes well with almond or lemon in cakes or cookies. Whole cane sugars, which color the preparations, go well with dark foods, cocoa or berries, but they make it possible to make an original cream. Note: You cannot make meringue or caramel with birch sugar or erythritol.