White sugar is proven to raise your risk of all chronic diseases, but that doesn't mean you have to give up sweet foods to eat smart. "Alternative sweeteners are more popular than ever, and unlike table sugar, they have added health benefits." And most fall lower on the glycemic index, which means they won't spike your blood sugar like white sugar will.
Barley Malt and Brown Rice Syrups
Both of these natural sweeteners are made from whole grains – barley and brown rice, respectively – and are less refined than table sugar, low on the glycemic index, and made of slow-digesting carbs that enter your bloodstream steadily during a couple hours, versus the almost immediate uptake of table sugar. And unlike alternative sweeteners such as honey, these syrups won't crystalize over time and have a long shelf life.
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Best uses: Barley malt and brown rice syrup have a rich, butterscotch flavor, says nutritionist Lisa Turner, which pairs perfectly in spice cakes and bread recipes, or over cereal and pancakes.