Natural Sweeteners

Everyone always asks “well then Mary-Ann, what do YOU use to sweeten things up?” Here is the answer, along with key ideas on how to use them. The goal with natural sweeteners is to avoid highly processed and refined sugars that will cause your blood sugar to spike, which can result in hypoglycemia. Mary-Ann discusses:

  • Fructose, and how it works, as well as how it compares to honey, and when to use each
  • Coconut sugar
  • Malted Carob as an alternative to Hot Chocolate, and good alternatives to cream for a hot chocolate
  • Dates
  • Banana and Banana Milks
  • Juices
  • Jams/Jellies
  • Aspartame and its dangers to your hormonal systems and brain


Here is a rough transcript if you prefer:

Now one of the things that comes up whenever I speak about sweet stuff is well what do you sweeten things with, what do you sweeten things with if you’re making cakes or if you’re making muffins or something. I’ve used quite a bit of honey this morning and a lot of people say to me “oh but I’m diabetic and I can’t use that.”


Now I found for me personally that honey works the best to sweeten things with. I like the taste, you may not like the taste. It’s the most natural product, especially if it’s raw and/or organic. That’s how it’s found in nature and in small quantities our body can handle it.


I find even some diabetics can actually handle honey efficiently. Now I was severely hypoglycemic and I can handle honey now that my diet is in balance.


Particularly when you combine it with things that contain fat like the coconut cream or the macadamia nut or coconut for example.


Anything that contains fat helps to slow down the absorption of sugar. So I found that my body responds well to honey. Some people found their bodies respond better to fructose.


Now I’ve got some fructose here and this looks as a white crystalline powder. In the UK this is sold as a diabetic sweetener. And the reason for that is fructose, if your blood sugar has dropped a few- blood

sugar supposed to be there and it drops, and you put fructose into it, it stabilizes it back to where it should be.


Very similar to fresh fruit, slightly higher than fresh fruit but similar to it. Slightly higher because it doesn’t contain water soluble fiber. The fructose molecule has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar. When you put refined cane sugar into the body your blood sugar shoots way up like that and that’s when the brain starts not working as well as it should because your blood sugar is all over the place and then it  tends to plummet down because your pancreas over produces insulin.


So down comes the blood sugar and you can find you or your children suffering from mood swings or hyperactive behavior or feeling miserable all whiny, all emotional you can feel very emotional and want to cry all the time for example.


So I find fructose has a very stable effect. However this is still a processed food. It has no nutrients in it. It has been stripped of all the nutrients it is just pure fructose pure carbohydrate. So there is no nutritional value other than from carbohydrate so it will stabilize blood sugar.


And this is great for things like baking cakes and muffins because honey, because it’s a liquid sweetener and because it’s got some strange properties tends to make everything go very runny and fluid and you find cakes don’t bake very well. They don’t set very well. So and they don’t rise nicely, whereas with fructose it works very well.


You must remember that fructose is about a third sweeter than sugar is, than cane sugar is. So you use slightly less of it. About a third whatever if the recipe needs a cup, use two-thirds of a cup.


So fructose can be used for things like that. I have recently also found this on the market this is called pure coconut sugar and it tastes like honey & fruiter and is kind of mixed like crystallized sugar.


I’ve not used this to bake with but it’s very nice to eat enough and my grandsons like it and they come and ask me for teaspoon of it every now and again. You could use it as a jam for example and put it onto a rice cakes on chill your whole wheat bread or your rye bread. It’s called pure coconut sugar and this is imported from Thailand. I find most of these foods that are imported from Thailand you’ll find in the supermarket section where the curries or the Thai foods are.


Everybody’s making Thai curries these days and Thai food so I find these things are pretty easy to get hold of these days. Mainstream supermarkets carry them.


We have a product on the market called malted carob and I made this because I love to drink hot sweet drinks like hot chocolate for example.


And growing up as a child my mom used to give us Ovaltine when we went into bed at night which is made with barley malt.


But of course it had sugar in it. So this contains barley malt it contains fructose to stabilize the blood sugar, it contains some vanilla powder and then it contains carob. So we call it malted carob because the barley malt and the carob.


And this is the powder that we add hot water to drink and just with hot water.


You can add- Mark likes to add fresh cream to this. Coconut cream is particularly delicious and remember that coconut cream does not contain any cholesterol. It does contain some saturated fat but because it’s liquid at room temperature it’s mainly unsaturated fat.


Very high water content for coconut cream anyway. So you can have coconut cream with this, fresh cream with it, you could have some soy milk if you wanted to in small quantities. Just use soy milk that contains no sugar and added fats and preservatives and flavor and some things like that.


And this is a lovely hot drink by the way this malted carob can replace the honey in the carob power in the macademia fudge I made. You can just use macadamia nut and malted carob.


Unfortunately this is only available in South Africa at the moment unless you order off our website.


And the website is


And then of course you can use on of the best, in fact more natural even than the honey and people with diabetes can sweeten things with dates.


I’ve got some fresh dates and these have had the pits removed and this is what I used to make the date and coconut balls. Equal quantities of dates, which have been softened in a double boiler, I did this in a previous DVD and combined with coconut and you roll them in balls and I keep in the freezer so it’s really chewy.


But sometimes I don’t have enough time to let the date balls stand, and I actually feel like eating it right now and then I just mix coconut and fresh dates together and I just spoon mouthfuls of fresh dates and coconut into my mouth and it’s equally delicious.


So dates can be used, you can soak them, you can blend them and you can use them as a spread like a jam on your bread or your rice cakes or corn thins.


Dates can be used to sweeten things like banana bread, very delicious banana bread. Can use them in muffins and cakes as well.


They’re exceptionally high in Iron and high in magnesium, potassium. They contain calcium, B vitamins that don’t upset the brain. These are probably one of the best sweeteners you can use.


If you’re worrying about sweetening things like cereal you can use what I call banana milk, you take banana and you blend that with water in a blender and you pour that over the cereal. If you still want it sweeter, either raw honey you can put chopped dates in, you can put fructose powder.


If you want to make a chocolate flavored cereal and your children are in the transition. They’ve gone from chocolate cereal you can use normal corn flakes or rice cereals and you can put the malted carob on it with the banana malt. That’s another way to do it, to give it the chocolatier flavor.


But one of the things that people do like to use to sweeten with either just boiling water and make a hot drink, is use fruit juices that are 100 percent pure.


I use the Ceres juices. I use it because I think they are the best on the market. Also liqi-fruit is available, But the Ceres is available internationally and I know available in the United States. It’s available in the UK from a variety of stores and it’s one of the nicest pure juices on the market that I’ve seen even in my travels, traveling overseas I haven’t tasted ones that taste as good as these.


The grape juice is particularly nice and wonderful for doing any sport. You can put this into bottle with water and use it as a sports drink.


It’s isotonic in that it’s completely balanced as far as electrolytes are concerned. It’s stabilizing on your blood sugar and it has a long-term effect on your blood sugar, it doesn’t shoot it up and drop it down like a lot of the other sports drinks do.


So I really like that the grape juice in the Ceres have a red one and Ceres makes this white one which I said is available. But they also have some great jams available.


Now of course you can make your own jam with any preservative free dried fruit just by soaking it overnight and then blending it the next day but if you look more normal jam taste that actually tastes like jam, then this is a fantastic product.


I really I think if I had a prize I could give out for the best natural product that tastes s exceptional. To me these jams are nicer tasting than any of the jams that contain sugar. These are the St.Dalfour jams, made in France.


I find them not badly priced you know considering I don’t have jam every single day. It’s still a it’s a treat if I feel like something sweet after a meal, I have a rice cake cause I’m gluten intolerant, I’ll have a

rice cake or a corn thin with some raspberry jam on it or some strawberry jam.


They’ve got and marmalade, and beautiful fig jam and what makes these so special is that it’s just the fruit and grape juice. That’s all it is mixed together. It actually tells you the ingredients on the back it contains no preservatives flavorings it’s made from unsweetened grape juice and fruit pectin and raspberries for example so it’s just the fruit and the grape juice and pectin which is the substance from the skins of fruit that helps let it set once you’ve been boiling it.


So the fruit is cooked, obviously you’ve got a boiled fruit with the grape juice to make it really sticky. In today’s fashionable terms would call a reduction because that’s what you doing you getting rid of all the water to get the sticky amount at the bottom but it tastes delicious these jams.


So there’s a lot you can see there’s a lot of product on the market I don’t use any of the other sweeteners. I don’t use artificial sweeteners that contain aspartame like Kendral and Nutrisweet. I don’t touch them because they’re known to mess the hormonal system up, and the central nervous system and brain. I really had problems with my brain with my behavior I don’t need something else.


We know for example that aspartame sweeteners can cause headaches, can cause mild epileptic seizures. So to me they’re just not an option at all


I’d rather have sugar before using artificial sweetener. Other sweeteners like Saccharine and Sorbitol are known to cause cancer of the urinary tract.


Then these things like Stevia and some of the other plant extract that I use as sweeteners. I don’t like to use Stevia because I find it does cause diarrhea which is not a lot of fun it also gives that artificial sweetener taste and I don’t like that taste.


I want my food to taste natural and I love all the sweeteners I find these give the foods the most natural taste. And you can as I said, use them in most things. Substitute fructose for sugar in anything that you bake any of your old favorite recipes. You’ve got your jams and you’ve got juices. There’s not much else you need to sweeten.



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