Honey is a food that gives energy thanks to the carbohydrates it contains. Even a spoonful of honey relieves fatigue and increases performance and endurance. Athletes still benefit from this property of honey. Honey, which is very easy to digest, when mixed with warm water and drunk, accelerates the burning of fat in the body and helps to lose weight. Honey can be used for sugar in almost any food and recipe. However, since it is a high sugar food, it is not recommended to consume it continuously. So, do you know any honey-like substance you can substitute for honey?
Honey-like substances include maple syrup, agave nectar, molasses, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Those foods can replace honey in cooking recipes. They can be used as sweeteners since they contain sugar. However, the best thing about these substitutes is that they have a lower amount of sugar compared with honey which makes them healthier. Let’s check these substances together.
Honey Like Substances #1: Maple Syrup
Maple syrup, as the name suggests, is obtained from a plant called maple. In order to obtain the syrup from this tree called Maple, a cut or tap must be made on its trunk, and then the sap must be drawn from it. The maple syrup is ready when the juice obtained is boiled enough and thickened.
Maple syrup is a medicinal drink obtained as a result of processing the sap of the maple tree, which is formed only in February, March, and April. Maple syrup, which contains antioxidant components, also contains riboflavin, calcium, zinc, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium. Used as a natural sweetener, maple syrup contains 95% water. Maple syrup is obtained by collecting the sap with the help of the tap opened on the trunk of the tree for 3 months of the year.
The maple sap waters accumulated in the buckets from the taps on the trunk of the tree are sent to the main tanks by the pumping system. The sap water sent from the main tanks to the processing centers is thickened by boiling. The flavor of maple syrup is similar to the flavor of caramel. Making maple syrup requires painstaking and self-sacrificing work. Collecting the buckets obtained from each tree one by one and waiting for them is labor-intensive work. Maple syrup, made with traditional methods, is a natural and organic food and has a special meaning, especially for Canada. So much so that the maple is the symbol of the Canadian flag.
Original maple syrup is considered a natural sweetener because it is made from a plant and does not contain any other additives such as refined sugar. Canada and the United States of America are among the countries with the highest production and consumption in the world. The benefits of maple syrup include:
- Maple syrup is a sweetener rich in many minerals such as calcium and potassium.
- Since it has high antioxidant properties, it removes the free radicals in our body and thus strengthens our immune system.
- It protects our body as much as possible, not only from diseases such as colds and flu, but also from much more serious problems such as cancer, and supports the healing process of existing diseases.
- It helps the inflamed areas in the body to heal faster.
- Since it can show antiseptic and antibacterial properties, it also prevents skin diseases.
- It has an anti-aging effect as it gives elasticity to the skin.
- It contributes to the healing process of urinary tract disorders.
- It is said that since it is much more delicious and natural than refined sugars, it can be used as an alternative to processed sugar in the application and presentation of many recipes.
After obtaining the maple syrup, you can use it to evaluate pastry recipes such as pancakes and waffles, as we said above, you can use it just like honey or jam, or even use it in different recipes such as a maple syrup sesame bar recipe.
Apart from this, if you wish, you can also prepare skincare masks with your own hands at home with maple syrup. Add the same amount of milk as the syrup into 1 measure of maple syrup, apply this mixture to your skin, wait for 15-20 minutes and rinse. That’s all you need to do for radiant and clean skin!
Although maple syrup is a natural sweetener, it is very important not to consume it excessively, as it has very high values in terms of sugar. Otherwise, it can cause many ailments, from obesity to diabetes and even heart diseases. Apart from this, it is said that excessive consumption can have different side effects such as nausea, pain, indigestion, and a change in toilet pattern.
In short, if you have a chronic and serious illness, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, do not try to use any material, including maple syrup, for therapeutic purposes, consult your doctor and act in accordance with his recommendations.
Honey Like Substances #2: Agave Nectar
Agave nectar (syrup) is a sweetener derived from the agave plant. South America and Latin America are the homelands of the agave plant. Although it is only recently popular in the western world, this syrup is a product that has been used in Mexico for centuries and has also been used in traditional medicine in this region. The taste of agave syrup is quite sweet. Since this syrup dissolves quickly, it is used as a sweetener in cold drinks. The agave plant is also fermented and used to make tequila.
Agave nectar is obtained from various species of agave, including Agave Tequilana (blue agave) and Agave Salmiana. Also known as agave nectar, it is a strong fructose product. To produce agave syrup from the Agave Americana and Agave Tequilana plants, the leaves of the agave plant are used by cutting the leaves after they have been grown for seven to fourteen years. The juice is then extracted from the agave seed called pina. The agave fruit is squeezed and the juice is filtered, then heated so that the complex ingredients become simple sugars.
A polymer of fructose molecules in the main polysaccharides is called fructan. This filtered juice is then concentrated as a slightly thinner syrup than honey. Its color varies between light and dark amber, depending on the degree of processing. Agave syrup is a product suitable for vegan nutrition, as it has completely plant-based production. For this reason, it can easily be preferred instead of honey.
The agave syrups sold today are obtained by processing the agave sugars with heat and enzymes, and in this process, the agave loses all its health effects. Agave nectar is low in glucose and therefore does not increase blood sugar levels much. This ensures that the sweetener has a low glycemic index. Agave syrup is 1.4 to 1.6 times sweeter than sugar and can be used as a sugar or honey substitute in recipes. It is added to some breakfast cereals as a binder. Light agave syrup has an almost neutral flavor and is therefore sometimes used in beverages.
Amber agave syrup has a medium-intensity caramel flavor and is therefore used in dishes and beverages for stronger flavors. Dark agave syrup has stronger caramel notes and is used in some desserts to add a distinctive flavor to dishes using poultry, meat, and seafood. Both amber and dark agave syrups are sometimes used as sauces for pancakes, waffles, and toast. The darker one is not filtered and therefore contains a higher concentration of the agave plant’s minerals.
If you have a diet suitable for a vegan diet, you can meet your sugar needs with agave syrup. Agave syrup is recommended in moderation for vegan individuals who do not use honey and sugar. You can make coffee and vegan desserts with agave syrup and enjoy it. One drop may be enough when preparing coffee. As for dessert, it is still a healthy decision to be in moderation.
The agave plant has a lot of fiber in its core. Agave syrup, which contains fiber, also shows the ability to relax the intestines. It is said to prevent constipation problems, according to some opinions, because it contains dietary fiber. There are also opinions that you can protect your intestinal health thanks to the dietary fibers in agave syrup. If you have been complaining about your bowels and have had problems with defecation lately, you can add a drop of agave syrup to your drinks and see the effect.
Research on the agave plant and its syrup continues today. According to the latest data, it is stated that the vitamins and minerals in agave syrup balance cholesterol. When cholesterol balance is achieved, heart diseases are prevented. It is worth mentioning again: Agave syrup, consumed in moderation, will take on an important task for heart health. If you have a chronic disease, you can take care to use it after checking your blood values.
Honey Like Substances #3: Molasses
Since molasses is very rich in vitamins A, B, and D, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium, copper, and zinc elements, it is highly recommended by experts to consume it in your diet, especially for lung patients, pregnant mothers, and children.
There are many varieties of molasses. If we take grape molasses as an example, It is a very valuable food source with a high nutritional value. Grape molasses is a substance that meets a very large part of the daily magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron requirements, which are extremely important and necessary for the human body. In addition, grape molasses also helps our body to produce blood by supporting it.
The nutritional value of molasses, which is very beneficial and friendly to our body, varies according to the fruit from which it is produced. Molasses is a very good energy source with its carbohydrate value of ‘1,276kJ / 305 kcal’. In addition, molasses is known as a very useful medicine as well as being a good food source with B1, B2 vitamins, and various mineral substances it contains. Since all of the carbohydrates it contains, up to 80%, are in the form of glucose and fructose, molasses allows it to easily pass into the blood without having to be broken down in the digestive system of our body.
Molasses is usually not consumed alone, as it has a dense taste. When molasses is used for healing purposes, it can be drunk with a spoon just like medicine. At the same time, molasses can be mixed with tahini and consumed as a dessert known as tahini molasses. Ice slush is one of the ingredients that can be added to molasses and consumed in this way.
As we all know, tahini and molasses are good sources of sweets and nutrients. The molasses varieties can be listed according to the fruit they are made from. Grape Molasses, Mulberry Molasses, Carob Locust Molasses, Juniper Molasses, Beet Molasses, Sugar Beet Molasses, Sugar Cane Molasses, Black Mulberry Molasses are among the most well-known types of molasses.
Grapes that are separated as molasses are squeezed in various ways by methods such as foot chewing, pestle, and press. In this way, the juices of the crushed, squeezed, and pressed grapes are obtained. This molasses grape must, which is sour at first, is boiled at 50-60 degrees for 10-15 minutes, and molasses soil is added into it. This molasses soil, which is white in color, must be treated before the grapes have been crushed yet. This process is also called a shortcut.
After adding molasses soil the must is rinsed to form a precipitate and in this way, the sourness from the grapes is removed. It should be noted here that the molasses that is not added to the soil will be sour and cloudy in appearance. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry foresees the addition of 1-5 kg of molasses soil to an average of 100 kg of grape must.
Thanks to the process of removing the foams formed on the molasses while boiling, clean molasses with a clear appearance is obtained. In this way, much more delicious molasses is obtained. The must (unfermented grape juice) that went through certain processes is taken into the resting containers and kept in these containers for at least 45-55 hours. During this rest, the soil that is added to the bottom of the container and the sediment formed by certain particles in the grape must precipitate. Afterward, the clear upper part of the must is separated from the residue formed and the residue on the molasses is discarded.
Finally, the separated clear must is transferred to the boiling pots, which is worth mentioning here, the process that gives molasses its dark color and consistency is the boiling process. During the boiling process, the sugars in the must caramelize and darken. As the water decreases during boiling, the molasses mixture takes on a thick consistency. It should not be forgotten that in the process of boiling molasses, the must is boiled in one go and it should turn into syrup in the form of molasses. The type of molasses that we briefly described is the type of “sweet runny molasses”. Certain molasses types are obtained by evaporating the water of must under the sun in large containers.
Solid molasses, which is the opposite of runny molasses, is a type of molasses that has been air-impregnated and bleached by adding yeast to sweet runny molasses. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry recommended that 25 kg molasses be made with a yeast consisting of 5 egg whites, 500 grams of powdered sugar, and 500 grams of old molasses. The molasses, which is added to yeast and mixed continuously, is kept for a day, mixed well again the next day, and packaged ready to be consumed.
Honey Like Substances #4: Brown Sugar
Brown sugar is the sugar obtained by mixing white crystal sugar with some molasses that has been pre-treated and reached food purity. It is called brown sugar because of its color. In other words, brown sugar is a moist, brown-toned, fine-grained sugar with a total of at least 88% by weight of sucrose and invert sugar.
It is obtained by mixing commercially refined white sugar crystals with sugar molasses to form a film of desired thickness on the crystal surface. Color darkness varies according to the amount of molasses it contains. Light brown sugar, 3.5%; Dark brown sugar contains 6.5% molasses.
Brown sugar contains very useful minerals. Small amounts of protein, vitamins, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, sodium are included in brown sugar and are especially beneficial for people who have blood sugar problems. Especially if we consider the details in the production stage, brown sugar has a very natural and additive-free feature compared to white sugar.
Sodium found in white sugar is not found in brown sugar. It is also observed that many blood pressure patients have a more balanced body structure within the scope of the use of brown sugar. The amount of sugar taken throughout the day helps the body achieve healthier and more beneficial reactions compared to white sugar.
Healthy hair comes from having a healthy scalp. If you are tired of expensive hair scrubs that do not produce results, you can opt for brown sugar for the scalp. Brown sugar increases the quality of the hair by accelerating the blood flow in the scalp and makes the hair stronger. You can get the most natural and effective results for hair care and scalp care from brown sugar hair masks and cures. Brown sugar is not only healthier for the body, but also provides healthier and more beautiful-looking skin. It helps to remove toxins from the body and effectively moisturizes the skin.
Brown sugar is often used as a key ingredient in beauty scrubs. Experts say it is a natural exfoliator. Brown sugar can be used for brushing starting from the feet to the neck and scalp. Thus, blood circulation increases, and the pH balance of the skin is preserved. After this process is done once, the body is washed with warm water. Thus, you will get soft, smooth, and refreshed skin.
As a result of the use of white crystal sugar, carbohydrates in the sugar mix very quickly into the blood and cause insulin secretion. As a result, the formation of diabetes is often accelerated in our bodies. This risk is reduced when brown sugar is used instead of white sugar. When the energy values of both sugars are compared, there is no big difference between them. While there is 400 kcal in 100 g of white sugar; There is 380 kcal in 100 g of brown sugar.
In addition, brown sugar also contains potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, iron, vitamin B12, niacin, and choline. None of these minerals and vitamins we have mentioned are found in white crystal sugar. Even in very small amounts, when brown sugar is used instead of white sugar every day, we can benefit from the minerals and vitamins we need to some extent.
Honey Like Substances #5: Corn Syrup
Corn syrup is a sugary honey substitute, but unlike any other, it’s a harmful kind. Corn syrup obtained from corn is included in many packaged products such as chocolate, biscuits, cola, and fruit juices. Experts state that corn syrup is much more harmful than natural sugar obtained from sugar beets. Noting that corn syrup prevents the feeling of satiety, experts also say that the fructose in corn starch is addictive and does not cause a feeling of satiety. Corn syrup creates a feeling of eating more with its negative effects on the brain.
Corn syrup is preferred more than natural sugar obtained from sugar beet in the food industry. Because it is stated that the cost of corn syrup is less than natural sugar. Because of its high sweetening power, a small amount of sweetener can sweeten much more products and extend the shelf life of the product.
Calories from glucose and fructose are more dangerous than calories from starch and glucose, such as potatoes and bread. In corn syrup, starch is broken down into glucose and then glucose into fructose. Corn syrup consists of 80 percent fructose and 20 percent glucose. But, for example, in sugar, which is more natural and obtained from sugar beets, the ratio of fructose and glucose is 50-50 percent. Fructose is a stronger sweetener than glucose.
Corn syrup causes insulin resistance, obesity, vascular diseases, and diabetes. Insulin resistance also leads to the growth of tumors. Cancer cells use sugar as fuel. Insulin is not required to metabolize fructose reaching the liver. Moreover, it quickly turns into triglycerides and becomes storage fat. Of all sweeteners, fructose turns into fat the fastest.
The damage that refined sugar creates in the body is slightly less than that of corn syrup. We need to know how to be content with the sugars we get from vegetables and fruits, which we call natural sugar. When we can’t say stop to dessert, we should prefer the ones made with sugar obtained from sugar beet. We should read the biscuit packages well and should not consume any type that ends with ‘OZ’.
Best Honey Like Substances That You Can Buy Online
- Butternut Mountain Farm Pure Vermont Maple Syrup, Grade A, Amber Color, Rich Taste, All Natural, Easy Pour Jug, 32 Fl Oz, 1 Qt
- Hidden Springs Maple Organic Vermont Maple Syrup, Grade A Dark Robust (Formerly Grade B), 32 Ounce, 1 Quart, Family Farms, BPA-free Jug
- Kirkland Signature Organic Blue Agave All Purpose Sweetener, 36oz Bottle (Pack Of 2, Total of 72 Oz)
- Wholesome Organic Blue Agave Nectar, Natural Low Glycemic Sweetener, Non GMO, Fair Trade & Gluten Free, 44 Ounce (Pack of 2)