What's behind all those sweeteners
SUMMARY: Sugar is a big culprit for bad breath, but learning the best natural alternatives can help keep oral issues at bay and promote a healthy body.
Posted: March 11, 2013
We all have a bit of a sweet tooth now and again - or maybe on a regular basis - and it's important to make the right choices to keep a healthy mouth and body. Raw sugar and natural sweeteners have been put into the limelight in recent years, so it can be challenging to know which one is the best option. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar that you eat, so picking the right sugar can have a major effect on your bad breath and other oral health issues. Here are some tips on the most popular types of sweetener so you know exactly what you're putting into your body:
White table sugar is the most common form of sugar or sweetener in the United States, but it is a refined product. That means that sugar goes through an extensive process, including purification, filtration and dying, which takes most of the nutrients out of it. However, when compared to highly processed sweeteners like Splenda, sugar isn't so bad. Consuming large amounts of traditional table sugar will increase blood glucose and insulin levels, as well as the risk for diabetes and heart disease. Diabetes and oral health are often considered synonymous, so cutting sugar out of a diet may be a good option.
Slathering maple syrup over pancakes or waffles is the most common use for this sweet liquid, but it can actually be a great alternative to sugar because it offers health benefits to the body. It can help boost the immune system, increase heart health and lower the risk of prostate cancer. As the mouth is the gateway to a person's health, maple syrup may be the perfect, natural alternative to sugar if used in moderation. It can help decrease the risks for diabetes and oral health issues.
There are countless kinds of honey, some of which are better than others. Locally produced honey can help individuals with allergies and keep problems like post nasal drip at bay. Organic and raw honey contains a concentrated dose of antioxidants, and can improve the skin, promote digestion and help heal wounds.
Agave extract is taken directly from the agave plant, and is typically converted into syrup. Although some people have claimed that this sweetener has a high density of fructose, most enthusiasts of natural ingredients give this nectar a thumbs-up. Although agave has a slightly higher amount of calories than traditional table sugar, it contains dietary fiber known as a prebiotic. Since it soothes the digestive system, it can also help combat bad breath.
Although it's not technically a form of sugar, this sweet extract is a great alternative to sugar. It contains iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and selenium, and also has properties to help maintain a healthy blood pressure, relieve migraines and boost the immune system. The vitamins and minerals in date sugar can help keep the mouth healthy.
Stevia is the overall accepted best alternative for sugar. Extracted from leaves of the stevia plant, this sweetener is shown to help maintain glucose levels and dental health, as well as many more ailments. People who experience bad breath symptoms frequently should switch to using stevia because of its healing benefits. This powdered extract is zero calories, for those who are watching their weight or trying to shed a few pounds, and it is 100 percent natural. Powdered sweeteners are often much sweeter than regular sugar, so you may want to consider a liquid option.