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ALICE MERRITT: Now I'm going to talk to you about natural sweeteners. Natural sweeteners are a very healthy alternative to using highly refined white sugars. The problem with white sugar is that because it's gone through the refining process, it's lost a lot of its vitamins and minerals, and so you basically just get empty calories. When using natural sweeteners like honey, blackstrap molasses, maple syrup, they're still sweet but hey have all of the vitamins and minerals left in them.
 The other thing to remember about natural sweeteners is they can also have--like blackstrap molasses is a wonderful source for calcium, which isn't something you might typically think of.
 But they do still have high calorie content, so you still want to remember to have them in moderation. So important things to remember about natural sweeteners is, they're wonderful alternatives for baking or sweetening any dishes, having cookies, and you can use them about the same amount as white refined sugar as in the natural sweetener. They are higher in vitamins and minerals, can be good sources of calcium.
 Styvia is another herbal sweetener that doesn't have any calories and doesn't raise blood sugar. It can be a good alternative for diabetics to add in coffee and teas, and then again, it doesn't affect their blood sugar levels. Just remember that natural sweeteners, even though they're higher in vitamins and minerals, and maybe good sources of calcium, they still do have a significant calorie source. So you want to have them in moderation.
 So feel free to use them as alternatives when baking, these are healthier recommendations for natural sweeteners.



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