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Is This the Healthiest Sweetener?

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If you have diabetes, or are pre-diabetic, then added sugars can cause serious problems. Sugar leads to blood sugar spikes which can have serious health consequences. However, artificial sugars are also bad for diabetics, so what can you do if you have a sweet tooth? Research suggests that eating blackstrap molasses in moderation can be a viable sweetener option for someone with diabetes because it does not cause dramatic blood sugar spikes. Read on to see how this sweetener is beneficial for diabetics and more.

Sugar is one of the most dangerous food additives. Sugar is responsible for causing many of the world's most preventable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. However, most of our lives are completely dependant on some form of added sugar regardless of the health risks. But what if there was a way you could have a sweetener that was at least somewhat healthy? That sweetener is blackstrap molasses, which can even be used in moderation by diabetics.

Blackstrap Molasses: An Overview

Touted as a usable sweetener for diabetics, you may be surprised to learn that blackstrap molasses is produced as a byproduct from sugar cane. But sugar cane is a plant, and does have some vitamins before processing. During processing, the pulp and nutrients are extracted from sugar cane, leaving the white powdery residue that we usually think of as sugar.

But blackstrap molasses is the leftovers from sugar processing and it contains all of the vitamins found in sugar in concentrated amounts.

What's in Blackstrap Molasses?

Blackstrap Molasses Health Benefits

Research suggests that the nutrients in blackstrap molasses can benefit the body in the following ways and may be particularly beneficial for diabetics.


Blackstrap molasses has a glycemic index of 55, which is similar to the glycemic index of corn or rice. A glycemic index of 55 does not cause sudden blood sugar spikes, but it is still not the healthiest for diabetics and blackstrap molasses should be used in moderation and monitored closely. Not everyone's body will respond to molasses in the same way. A tablespoon of blackstrap molasses contains just 32 calories, which makes it the ideal sweetener for individuals to try to lose weight or prevent weight gain.

Boost Iron Intake

A tablespoon of blackstrap molasses contains seven percent of the recommended daily intake for iron. This can help boost iron levels for women and individuals who are anemic in a natural and non-dangerous way.

Prevents Constipation

The fiber and other compounds in blackstrap molasses make it beneficial for relieving constipation and promoting regular, healthy bowel habits.

Keeps the Brain Healthy

In one tablespoon of blackstrap molasses you will find nine percent of the RDI for manganese, five percent of the RDI for potassium, two percent of the RDI for selenium, and three percent of the RDI for vitamin B6. This blend of nutrients is useful for preventing depression, creating energy, regulating mood, and boosting overall brain function.

Stabilizes the Nervous System

Molasses is high in magnesium which is a regulator for many of the body's functions but is particularly useful for balancing the nervous system. Magnesium works with calcium to balance the flow of calcium into the nerves. Too much calcium and the nerves are over-stimulated, leading to muscle cramps, fatigue, and high blood pressure.

Makes Bones Stronger

One tablespoon of blackstrap molasses has four percent of the RDI for magnesium and six percent of the RDI for calcium. Magnesium and calcium work together in many of the body's systems but are also used to build strong bones and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.

Helps Fight Cancer

In addition to nutrients, blackstrap molasses is high in antioxidants. Compared with all other sweeteners, molasses has the highest level of antioxidants. Antioxidants have many uses in the body, but they are most famous for fighting cancer cells and preventing skin damage. By switching to using molasses as a sweetener you are giving yourself the gift of healthier skin and a reduced risk for developing cancer.

How to Eat Blackstrap Molasses

You can use blackstrap molasses anywhere you would use regular sugar. It may take a bit of time to get used to the slightly bitter taste of molasses, but once you do, you may find it adds a pleasant bottom note to your food. Try adding molasses to recipes, smoothies, tea, coffee, baked goods, baked beans, as a marinade, and as a sweetener for sauces.

Instead of using sugar, use molasses instead. You can even eat a spoonful of blackstrap molasses in the morning for a quick energy boost that will not cause as big of a crash as eating a sugary breakfast.

Where to Find Blackstrap Molasses

Not all molasses has the same health benefits as blackstrap molasses. Most health food stores and some traditional grocery stores carry blackstrap molasses in the same aisle where sugar is sold. The bottle will say "blackstrap" on it or "unsulphured black strap."

Bottles that are labeled simply "molasses" are not true blackstrap and are more likely to be corn syrup dyed a darker color or heavily processed and not contain the same nutrients as blackstrap molasses. When you eat blackstrap molasses for the first time it will taste bitter and probably not as sweet as you suspect, but that is normal. Pure, unrefined sugar cane is not as sweet as table sugar.

Other Ways to Lower Blood Sugar Naturally

Research suggests that a variety of nutrients help keep blood sugar levels down and prevent insulin resistance. The following nutrients have been linked with lowering blood sugar and preventing diabetes side effects:


Magnesium can move glucose into the body's cells and helps improve insulin sensitivity. Bitter melon: Bitter melon contains an enzyme that removes sugar from the blood and carrier it into the body's cells.


Returns insulin production to normal levels and removes sugar from the blood.


Moves glucose into the body's cells and boosts the effectiveness of insulin.


Stimulates insulin receptors and improves insulin sensitivity.

Molasses is the Healthiest Added Sugar

No added sugar is completely healthy, but with a low-calorie count and a boost of nutrients, blackstrap molasses is about as healthy as you can get. In addition to providing a nutrient boost, blackstrap molasses also does not cause blood sugar spikes like many other sweeteners or long-term side effects like some artificial sweeteners. If you must have something sweet, as long as it is still consumed in moderation, molasses can be a safe sweetener for diabetics and other individuals.





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