Do you know that feeling when your bowl of cereal needs a little bit of sweetness to it? The first thing you’d do is to reach for sugar. It’s true, there are particular foods that need a tiny bit of sweetness to them, and at 15 calories or so per teaspoon, a bit of sugar isn’t that much of a big deal, especially if you are only using it sparingly.
However, perhaps you have encountered or heard of other forms of sugar as well such as agave syrup, barley malt, and others. You might be thinking, are there other benefits that one has over the other? Nutritionally speaking, we can’t name who wins or who’s the least kind of sugar. Why? The calories present in sugar, syrup, honey, etc., can be compared. Some of them might contain a few vitamins and minerals, they can only be added to meals in little portions which doesn’t have much of an effect. Ultimately, it all boils down to what it tastes like.
Here are a couple of natural sources of sugar:
Honey and maple syrup
These are minimally refined. What you are getting from the grocery store is basically what you can find in nature as well. Honey flavor and color vary depending on the nectar since bees manufacture honey from the nectar of many kinds of flowering plants. In general, the honey you get in the market is heated and strained before getting packaged. But if you look closely, there are raw and unprocessed honey as well. The saps from maple trees also undergo minimal processing. What they do is they boil it in order to remove a little bit of water – this causes the syrup to be somewhat concentrated. If you’re going to count, you’re looking at 60 calories per tablespoon for both honey and maple syrup, each. A little more than the typical 50 calories of white sugar. Although, they’re sweeter so you can be using less.
This is produced from the sap of the agave. If you’re wondering how it tastes like, think very sweet with a mild flavor. The agave syrup goes through minimal processing at a low temp in order to remove excess water. It is a bit thinner than honey consistency-wise, so it’s easy to mix with most liquids. Each tablespoon has about 60 calories.
This comes from sugar cane that we have so abundantly here. It might be a challenge to find them in liquid form when used as a sweetener, but there are products that are made by means of having the cane juice evaporated and turned into crystals. Essentially, we’re looking at about 60 cal per tablespoon.