Being aware of the type and amount of sugar in snacks and beverages is important. The number of Chicago residents coping with health related problems connected to sugar has increased over the years. Katherine Allmandinger, manager of strategic insights at Nielsen Health & Wellness, shared that “one in five households has a diabetic member who is either pre-type I or II.” And diabetes and obesity are just two of the many issues.
Since many Chicago consumers are leary of marketing claims regarding sugar, reading the nutrition and ingredient labels on the snacks and beverages they plan to purchase is becoming standard practice. The challenge for many consumers is knowing which sugar alternative to choose. Artificial sweeteners, while low in calories, are made from ingredients that are known to be harmful. A healthier alternative are natural sweeteners such as monk fruit, honey, and agave.
Monk fruit is a small sub-tropical melon from Asia that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. The easiest way to enjoy the sweetness of monk fruit is to use the extract or sweetener. Unlike other fruit, the monk fruit gets its sweetness from naturally occuring antioxidants instead of naturally occuring sugars. This difference is why monk fruit does not affect blood sugar. In addition to not impacting blood sugar levels, monk fruit has anti-inflammatory properties, combats infection, and fights fatigue.
Honey is a sugary sweet liquid produced by honeybees. A natural sweetener, honey can be used as a substitute for sugar in snacks and beverages. But be careful, honey is sweeter than sugar so you’ll need less of it to get the same sweetness. As with monk fruit, honey has multiple health benefits. Honey boosts energy; contains a variety of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium; has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and antioxidant properties; and has trace amounts of more than 15 amino acids.
Agave is a succulent plant native to the southern United States that is transformed into dark and light agave nectars or syrups. The lighter nectar has a mild flavor while the darker nectar has a stronger flavor that has been said to be close to the flavor of maple syrup. Just like monk fruit, agave nectar is low on the glycemic index and doesn’t cause a sugar rush and unhealthy blood sugar spike. Antibacterial properties, an improved immune system, and increased bone mineral density are just a few of the other health benefits of agave nectar.
Which sweetener would your Chicago employees like to see in their healthy snacks and beverages? A great way to provide a variety of healthy options and give your employees’ finances a boost is to include reduced or zero cost healthy vending machines in your office break room. Mark Vend can help you customize the perfect selection of snacks and beverages to meet your employees’ sweet and salty needs. Call us at (847) 291-9216 for more information.