If you want an all-natural sweetener that is better for you than others and want it to be grown in ways that actually help the environment you have at leat 3 choices.
According to this article at GoingGreenToday, the top 3 are coconut palm sugar, barley malt syrup, and brown rice syrup (organic). You can check prices near you to see which is cheapest, but they are not all equally sweet. Barley malt syrup and brown rice syrup are not as sweet as sugar, so you would probably use more than you would of the coconut palm sugar. Coconut palm sugar has a glycemic index of 35, barley malt syrup has a 42 GI, and brown rice syrup has a 25 GI.
The top choice is coconut palm sugar because they don’t have to kill the coconut palm to get it. They just take the sap from the flowers, and the tree goes on living and producing. From the linked article: “By far the most sustainable sweetener available because palm trees survive on little water and produce 50-75% more per acre than sugar cane. These tropical trees grow in diverse agro-ecosystems, support wildlife and restore damaged soils.”
Brown rice syrup is about half as sweet as sugar and is gluten-free and wheat-free. It also has good vitamins and has a bit of a butterscotch flavor.
While honey has many health benefits, people are concerned about survival of honey bees. I don’t know that eating honey affects that, but some worry it might. Honey is a great natural way to fight allergies when you get honey that is made locally. Kids under 3 should not consume honey.
Maple syrup is natural and those who make maple syrup say they are able to collect much less than in previous years because of climate change. As it becomes more rare it will become even more expensive. I do love a little bit of maple syrup drizzled over waffles topped with fresh strawberries! Just a little drizzle is wonderful. As maple syrup becomes more expensive it will become even more of a great gift combined with pancake mix, etc. If you find a good price on maple syrup, put some away to use in gift baskets!
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