Dear Living Well Daily Reader,
The holidays are brutal if you’re trying to watch your sugar intake. Everywhere you look, there are candies, cookies and cakes tempting your sweet tooth.
Fortunately, these aren’t the only Yuletide dessert options for the sugar-conscious.
Researchers have discovered there’s an all-natural sweetener that has fewer calories than sugar, is packed full of minerals and may even help you lose weight.
And the best part — it’s easy to get your hands on.
This waist-trimming sweetener is molasses, a byproduct of sugar production.
For the study, scientists fed mice either a high-fat diet or a high-fat diet with 2% or 4% molasses extract added.
After the 12-week study, the researchers found that the mice that ate the most molasses extract (the 4% group) had lower body weights and reduced body fat.
Even better, they had reduced levels of leptin, a hormone that’s produced by fat cells.
While experts don’t fully understand why molasses helps reduce body weight, they suspect it’s due to its high mineral count. It’s rich in vital minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium and chromium, which is known for helping regulate blood sugar.
Plus molasses has a much lower glycemic index (GI), which measures of a food’s ability to rapidly increase blood sugar. The higher the GI, the faster and higher the spike in blood sugar.
Regular sugar has a GI of 80, and molasses has a GI of 55. This means eating sweets made with molasses may have less impact on your blood sugar than eating those made with other sweeteners.
And believe it or not — molasses can be substituted for sugar in just about any recipe and make your dishes taste even better!
While all added sugars should be consumed in moderation, this is one sweetener you can actually feel good about using, and it may even help you burn off some of the holiday bulge.
When choosing a molasses, go for the blackstrap variety. It has the most nutrients and lowest GI and is available at health food stores, grocers and online retailers.
Managing editor, Living Well Daily