The terms sugar and sweetener are not so much different in terms of meaning. Although people feel that sugar is a form of sweetener, this actually not the case. Sugar is a term used to refer to any substance that is used to sweeten food. However, because of the fact that sucrose or the ordinary table sugar is also loosely called as sugar or in some cases white sugar, sweetener is then used.
Sugar is a form of carbohydrates that can be good for the body when eaten in right amounts. The problem arises when people eat too much of it. Unlike other food items, sugar do not have anything more to offer than empty calories. Sugar, you see, can actually pack the calories and add to your weight. This increases the risk of developing other health problems such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes, not to mention the threat of obesity.
Sugar comes in many forms. Do you know where each comes from?
White sugar is perhaps the most common form. This is the ordinary table sugar that people use for their drinks. White sugar comes from sugar cane. Another similar form is the brown sugar, which many believe is much healthier than the white. Brown sugar is made by adding the sugar cane molasses, making it more moisturized. There is also the raw sugar which retains much of the molasses of the sugar cane. Turbinado, Muscovado and Demerara are terms that are used to refer to raw sugar.
Honey is another sweetener that many consider to be very healthy. Naturally produced by honeybees, it requires no processing and can be used directly.
Stevia is a form of sugar or sweetener that is derived from a Paraguay plant with the same name. Stevia is actually considered an herb and is considered to be very healthy because it contains no calories and unlike the ordinary table sugar, which are empty carbohydrates, stevia actually has some levels of vitamins and minerals.
It is said to be capable of helping lower blood pressure, improve digestion and discourage the growth of bacteria. One disadvantage though is that stevia has a slightly bitter aftertaste.
Maple syrup comes from the sap of maple trees. Although maple syrup is also considered quite healthy, consumers are asked to be cautious in using uncertified ones because thete is danger of it having chemical residues from pesticides.
Malt syrup, on the other hand, comes from barley. It contains maltose, which is less sweet as sucrose.