Endurance Nutrition – A Sweet Switch to Raw Plant-Based Sugars

Bonraw Natural Sugars
Endurance athletes need carbohydrates, and they need sugar for energy. There are many kinds of sugar in the world though, and choosing the right ones makes a substantial difference to how well sugar can act as fuel.

I have been testing out a range of natural plant-based sugars from Bonraw Foods; interested to see why their Panela, Silverbirch, and Coconut Blossom sugars could be sensible substitutes for refined sugar.


Coconut Sugar 

Coconut sugar is made from the fresh sap of coconut blossom. It is heated to turn it into syrup, which then crystalizes into small granules. It is neither refined nor bleached and it is recognised as the most sustainable sweetener in the world. Coconut sugar tastes like sweet molasses with intense caramel undertones, and it is perfect for baking sponges, biscuits, and desserts. 
 
Crucially for sportspeople and others looking for a more stable blood sugar level—such as diabetics, Coconut Blossom Sugar has a far lower GI index than refined cane sugar. It is ranked with a GI of 35 versus 67 for refined white sugar—that equates to far slower release energy, without the dramatic sugar spike and trough. 

This is the perfect sugar for recipes such as my High Energy Flapjacks and Cycling Puddings


Silverbirch Sugar 

Bonraw Silverbirch derives from the fibres of woody plants. It is a 100 percent natural sugar substitute that looks and tastes just like regular sugar but has many health benefits over white sugar. It is a great substitute in tea, coffee, and other hot drinks. 

The most obvious benefit of Silverbirch is that it is 40 percent lower in calories than refined white sugar. It also has an outstandingly low GI level of just seven points, compare to 67 for standard sugar. The plant-based sweetener also contains xylitol, which contributes to the maintenance of tooth mineralisation. 

This sugar is perfect for making my favourite Scandinavian style coffee syrup—as found in Vélochef's 'Outside is Free' book: 
  • 200 ml water 
  • 150 grams sugar 
  • 3 star-anise 
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1 tsp ground cinnamon 
  •  > Boil in a pan for 10 minutes and then allow to cool (keeps for weeks in the fridge) <


Panela Raw Dried Cane Sugar 

Panela is raw dried cane juice from Colombia. It has been traditionally handmade for centuries by extracting and dehydrating raw sugar cane juice. It is the most natural and nutritious cane sugar available. Slightly lighter in taste than coconut sugar, it has a similar flavour of molasses and caramel. It is the ideal replacement for brown sugar in cooking, baking, and hot drink making. 

Because Panela is unrefined it keeps the natural minerals of iron and zinc found in sugar cane—these are known to support the immune system. Like Coconut Blossom Sugar, Panela has a low GI of 35, and is a completely organic whole-food. 

This sugar is perfect for recipes such as Peanut Butter and Banana Baked Oat Bars and Sprouted Spelt Pancakes.


These three different sugars are a notably healthier and more natural alternative to the ever-present highly processed and refined sugars found in foods and drinks today. If you are looking for better slower release energy, with other natural health benefits too, then these are well worth checking out.


Bonraw Rude Health Apple and Cinnamon Streusel Cake
Apple and Cinnamon Streusel Cake — Made with Rude Health Sprouted Spelt and Bonraw Coconut Sugar


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