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New natural sweeteners: palm sugar, yakon, and more

Refined white sugar and high fructose corn syrup have lots of sweet competition these days. Many natural sweeteners boast fewer calories and a lower glycemic index scores, meaning they are less likely to cause spikes in blood sugar. The Natural Foods Merchandiser reports on the latest to make their way into natural sweetener territory, including palm sugar (a.k.a. coconut sugar, made from coconut palm flower nectar) which can be substituted conveniently one-to-one for sugar, and yakon powder or syrup (made from a South American tuber) which has a molasses-like flavor and fewer calories than refined sugar.

Meanwhile, Coke is set to launch its stevia sweetened drink with FDA approval reports the Wall Street Journal. Prior to December 2008, stevia did not have GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status and was classified a supplement.

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