A couple of days ago, I shared with you one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes. In that same post, I mentioned some of the benefits of honey for PCOS. That got me thinking… what are some other sweeteners that we can and should be using? Obviously, sugar (refined sugar, white sugar) is out of the question.
Sweeteners we should avoid
In addition to table sugar, we should also be careful of how often we use artificial, calorie-free sweeteners. Using artificial sugars can trick the brain into thinking we are eating more calories than we actually are. Eventually, the brain realizes that this “sugar” is not giving our bodies the calories it expected, so we begin craving more sweets to meet the expectation of more calories. Sweeteners found in foods or drinks labeled “diet” or “sugar free,” are the ones we are better off steering clear of. We also need to avoid agave nectar, high fructose corn syrup, and sugar alcohols (such as xylitol).
Better Options for PCOS
Stevia- We should use the green liquid or powder; not the white stuff. Stevia tastes 300 times sweeter than sugar! It is high in chromium and does not impact our blood sugar levels. Additionally, it supports proper digestion.
Raw Honey- As I mentioned a couple days ago, raw honey is unrefined, contains small amounts of enzymes, minerals, and vitamins, and has a glycemic index of only 30.
100% Pure Maple Syrup- Maple syrup may help stimulate insulin release and to increase sensitivity of fat cells to insulin. This makes maple syrup helpful in fighting diabetes, which women with PCOS are often at high risk for.
Yacon Syrup– Yacon syrup is a little pricey, but it is also glucose-free, and does not increase blood sugar levels.
Coconut Palm Sugar- This is a great sugar substitute for those of us with PCOS, as its glycemic index is only 35. It also has a greater nutritional content than most sweeteners.
Organic Blackstrap Mollasses- Although its GI is a bit higher than that of raw honey and coconut palm sugar, black strap molasses (GI of 55) contains calcium, iron, copper, and manganese. It is also a good source of potassium and magnesium.
Brown Rice Syrup- With a glycemic index of only 25, brown rice syrup is a nice sweetener for baking and desserts.
I have used each of these sweeteners for various things. I’ve always had such a sweet tooth that I just knew it would be nearly impossible for me to give up sugar after being diagnosed with PCOS. But it hasn’t been. We still have plenty of options for sweeteners when we absolutely feel that we need them, and with a bit of experimentation, it is easy to come up with ways to “PCOS-ify” special treats for when we need them.
You can also find this post here, along with lots of other greats posts about fertility, healthy living, and gluten free eating!