Unrefined sugar: made from sugar cane juice. It is released by pressing sugar cane stalks. It is typically 50% less processed than refined sugar, and contains more molasses. There isn't quite as much molasses in this as in sucanat. We use this the most (we buy it in the "Latino foods" section at Walmart for the same price as white, refined sugar!).
Molasses: contains the most vitamins, minerals, and trace elements (iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium) because it comes straight from the sugar cane plant. There are two types: 1)Blackstrap (stronger flavor) and 2) Barbados (lighter and sweeter flavor). You can use 1/2 of this to produce the same sweetness.
Fructose: natural sugar found in plants and fruits. This is highly refined, but it is absorbed more slowly into your body, so it produces smaller fluctuations in blood sugar. You can also use much less of this to produce the same amount of sweetness (1/2 to 3/4 the amount). I use this in my tea because it tastes like sugar.
Honey: this is sweeter than sugar, and has more calories. The great thing about it is that you can use much less (about 1/2), and it contains medicinal benefits as well as enzymes, minerals, and vitamins.
Stevia: a natural herb, calorie free, and contains no artifical sweetners (saccharin or aspartame). It dissolves nicely in cold drinks. I use this one, as well, in tea. You can find this in the health foods section at HEB (if you have one where you live!), or probably in any health food store. It is a bit expensive, but completely worth it!
Information found at:
Now, onto why not to use artifical sweeteners:
- I haven't really done much research on Splenda yet, but just seeing it fizz in my coffee when I was out of town was enough to make me not want to use it! I will get back to you once I have done more research on the risks of it!