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.
Research shows that pure maple syrup – straight from the tree, not the cheap stuff made from corn syrup flavored with maple extract – can contain up to 54 antioxidant compounds, some of which may help combat cancer and diabetes.
Best uses: Besides pouring it over pancakes, try this spicy syrup in homemade ice cream, barbecue sauce, salad dressing, and glazes or gravies for pork.
Credit: Photograph by Svend Lindbaek