Summer is sweet in so many ways – beaches, warm sunshine, biking, golfing, ice cream, BBQ’s and cool refreshing drinks. However, depending on what you use to sweeten the later, these wonderful summer-time treats can cause bitter results. Refined/processed sugars are stripped of nutrients - all that’s
left are empty calories, which can not only add up to added pounds, but also decrease your immune system (1 teaspoon
of white sugar contains 16 calories and suppresses your white blood cell production count by 50% in the following four hours after consumption). Many people assume reaching for the ‘brown’ sugar is a healthier choice, but you may be surprised to learn that this is actually more processed than the white stuff! And, please stay away from those nasty artificial sweeteners. While these may contain no calories, studies indicate that they can reduce good intestinal flora by 50%, disrupt the central nervous system (not good for those of us with SCI’s or other neurological disorders) and actually contribute to weight gain!
So what’s the sweet, alternative answer? Honey, it’s pure and simple. Harvested in the Summer and Fall, this natural
sweetener has multiple health benefits. It contains antioxidants to help protect our heart, friendly bacterial to help support our digestive system, as well as anti-microbial and anti-viral compounds to help fight infections. While honey does contain more calories per teaspoon than sugar (21 cal.), its higher fructose content provides a stronger sweetener power, which means you’ll use less. Furthermore, there is evidence honey may improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity compared to other sweeteners.
When substituting honey for sugar in recipes:
use half the amount
honey absorbs and retains moisture, so reduce any liquid called for by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used
reduce oven temperature by 25°F to prevent over-browning.
This Limonade recipe is a great way to make your Summer purely sweet!