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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sugar, Honey, or Molasses: The Sticky Truth

Do you prefer sugar or honey? Maybe agave nectar perhaps? Well why not molasses? This line of thought came to me when I was making miniature cup-cakes (not to be confused with cupcakes) for the youth group at our church. Cup-cakes are small cakes that are mixed in a coffee cup and microwaved. When I was making them and adding sugar I remembered one in the group has type II diabetes. This meant white refined sugar was a no no. So I remembered I had agave nectar to use and made our buddy his own personal cake. My thought ended there.

A couple of days later, me and my daughter made peanut butter play dough. I had just enough honey to use for the recipe and then it was gone. Beside it in the pantry was a barely used bottle of molasses. I bought it during the Christmas season to make my old coworker ginger bread men cookies with raisin buttons (which reminds me, I need to perfect this recipe before Christmas gets here). I wondered if it was a good substitute for honey... So what did I do?? You guessed it, I researched it.

Surprisingly, I found that molasses is profoundly more nutritious than sugar, honey, and in most cases even maple syrup! For example, in a 1/2 cup of molasses vs 1/2 cup honey:
56% vitamin B6 vs. 2%;
35% calcium vs. 1%;
44% iron vs. 4%;
102% magnesium vs. 1%;
70% potassium 3%;
41% copper vs. 3%;
129% manganese vs. 7%;
43% selenium vs. 2%;
22.4 mg choline vs. 3.7mg

I know, I know... 1/2 cup (or 8 T) of molasses is a bit much but it gives a good contrast between the sweeteners. As seen in the link below where I found this data, maple syrup has more zinc and manganese than molasses. Sugar and agave nectar only have trace amounts if any nutrients.

Do we then totally substitute molasses for everything? No. A major benefit of agave nectar is it contains cancer fighting saponins and inulin. Using honey grown locally can stimulate the immune system to adjust to the local allergens. Sugar on the other hand... Simply put, it just tastes good. So moderation and variety is key as they all have something appealing. However, for our morning waffles or pancakes, molasses is the new favorite goo for all in my house. Me for the nutrients, my husband and daughter for its sweet taste, my dog for an accidental treat (as my daughter would say) and well, the boy is too young for such things.

Sources:
http://greenlitebites.com/2010/11/11/sweetener-comparisons-honey-agave-molasses-sugar-maple-syrup/

Until next time,
Kindest blogging wishes!!!

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