Have you ever wondered what the difference is between honey, table sugar, maple syrup or even rice malt syrup? Read on to discover the lowdown on all things sweet!
Honey is a 100% natural sweetener, created by bees that take the nectar from flowers and concentrate it into honey, which contains trace elements, proteins and bioactive compounds. All honey is only minimally processed (to removed it from the honeycomb frame, strain it and pack it into bottles), which is the opposite of other sweeteners.
Cane sugar, or table sugar is produced by shredding, rolling and boiling cane sugar until it can sugar can be separated from molasses. The remaining product is tumble dried then refined further into granules, crystals, liquids, etc. As a highly processed product, it contains little nutritional value besides a source of energy.
Artificial sweeteners are man-made compounds that are intensely sweet and usually powered in format with a chemical-like taste. These include aspartame, sucralose, saccharine and xylitol – none of which are particularly tummy friendly!
Stevia is highly processed extract of the stevia rebaudiana plant that is native to South America.
Agave Syrup is another natural plant substance that undergoes intense processing and refining, so ends up being more like a sugar syrup and not a pure, natural product. Agave also has a much higher ratio of fructose than honey and tastes neutral.
Rice Malt Syrup is often referred to a healthier sugar alternative by those wanting to avoid fructose as it is high in glucose. However, it is a highly processed product that lacks the complexity of flavour and natural sweetness of honey.
Maple Syrup is made by boiling the sap that comes from Canadian or American Maple trees until it resembles a thick, distinct- tasting syrup. While a natural syrup like honey, it has high food miles, making honey the naturally sweet choice for breakfast, baking, cooking and drinks.