Beyond Gorgeous

Beyond Gorgeous

A Sweetener That Keeps Hair from Going Gray?

A sweetener that keeps your hair from turning gray?  That’s just one of the interesting claims I encountered when researching blackstrap molasses — another in our series of sugar alternatives.

Another thing I didn’t know — molasses is the “waste product” of refining sugar cane.  You’ve heard a million times that sugar provides lots of empty calories with no nutritional benefit at all.  Yet, sugar cane is a nutritious food.  The sugar cane plant has deep roots that go far underneath the depleted top soil and get nutrients from below.  It’s the processing into white sugar that gets rid of the nutrients. What happens to them?

They are left in the “waste” byproduct — molasses.  Ironically, this healthy source of vitamins and minerals is mostly used in animal feed.

It wasn’t always so.  Until after World War I, molasses was the sweetener of choice.  Then a more efficient way of refining sugarcane was invented and white sugar took over.  The amount of white sugar in the American diet has been increasing ever since.

That’s a pity, since molasses is rich in many of the vitamins and minerals we most need.  For example, it has more calcium than dairy products, and it is paired with naturally occurring magnesium, which helps your body assimilate the calcium for making healthier bones.  Magnesium is also good for your nervous system and heart health.  One Web site explained in detail how a deficiency in magnesium can lead to migraines.

Molasses has iron in abundance, too — more than in red meat.  It also has B vitamins, potassium, manganese and copper.

Wow — no wonder molasses has been used as a tonic for years.  There are claims for it helping everything from constipation to heart murmurs.  It’s also touted as a help for arthritis pain.  Many Web sites recommended using it as a baby food sweetener.

But what will it do for your weight loss?  Well, it has about as many calories as sugar.  It does have a lower glycemic index though — 55, which just puts it over in the moderate yellow zone. It won’t help you to down a whole jar in a day or two.  In fact, since it is a natural laxative, it won’t be pleasant!  If you are going to use sweetener, though, you might as well as be getting some nutritional benefit.

There are many different kinds of molasses on the shelves at the grocery and health food stores.  It’s important to get unsulphered blackstrap molasses, which is the kind with the most health benefits.  Organic is best, because the cane syrup is boiled down three times to get to the blackstrap phase.  If the syrup contains pesticides or other toxins, they will be concentrated in the finished product.

The downside of this healthy sugar?  The taste.  It is distinctive and many people don’t like it.  Try working up to the taste by gradually substituting it for some of the sugar in recipes.  Also, using it in herbal teas which have a strong or complementary flavor might help.

If you want the health benefits — or just want to see if it stops your hair from going gray, you can try a tonic.  Here is a recipe I found for one:

1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses

hot water

3/4 cup milk


Put the molasses in a glass or cup and add just enough hot water to cover it.  Stir until it dissolves and add milk and ice.

You can also just down a tablespoon of it, if you like the taste and/or are sufficiently tough. At any rate, the health benefits are great enough that I’m going to try it and see how I can work it into recipes.

If you use blackstrap molasses and have a good recipe, please let me know. I’m not a good cook, so I need all the help I can get my readers!

Eating to live and living for Christ,

Susan Jordan Brown

Comments read comments(32)
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posted May 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Thanks for your encouraging words! I’ve had lots of comments about molasses. Maybe it will make a comeback as the sweetener of choice. Did you see my molasses cookie recipe? It’s a little different because molasses is the only sweetener in it, and the oatmeal makes it lower glycemic. You can find it in the list of earlier posts on the right side of the blog page.

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posted May 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Great post, thanks! :o) My Gram used to tell me how good molasses is for you, wayyy back when. I love it on oatmeal (the ‘real’ kind, not instant), and have used it in cookie recipes too.

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posted April 26, 2012 at 10:12 am

Anna, thanks for reading and taking time to comment!

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Anna Doorack Fults

posted April 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm

My family used molasses all the time when I was young. I remember it being on the table. When my father became diabetic, it disappeared from the table. I am going to try it. I am sensitive to most sweeteners and get headaches from using them. Thanks for referencing this for us.


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posted April 20, 2012 at 9:26 am

Thanks for reading and commenting!

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Taramatie Persad

posted April 18, 2012 at 3:41 am

I am always looking for natural product that could be of benifits to my body,love the idea that it will stop graying hair will gave it a try.Thanks for your info

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posted April 17, 2012 at 9:48 am

For lots of years it WAS the real thing. Only rich people had white, refined sugar. I could not find any side effects at all, except that it does have a slight laxative effect — which is why it was given as a “spring tonic.” Thanks for reading and commenting!

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A.L. Ubani

posted April 17, 2012 at 8:27 am

Thank you for this eye-opener. I love this alternative to sugar.
I feel this should actually be called the real thing-SUGAR not bye-product.
Doe it have any SIDE EFFECT?

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posted April 16, 2012 at 8:51 am

I found organic unsulphured molasses at Wal-Mart, but had to get the blackstrap at our local health food store. If all else fails, I believe you can get it online.

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posted April 16, 2012 at 8:50 am

You take it internally — whether in the drink recipe I posted or just in food as a sweetener. Let me know if it works for you! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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posted April 13, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Have you ever tried molasses pudding? It’s more like a cake but it’s real good!

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Pat Cade

posted April 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm

your recipe didn’t state what to do with it.are you rinsing it in your hair or washing it with your shampoo? you only said you can also down 1tbsp. please specify. thank you.

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posted April 13, 2012 at 8:08 am

I’m always willing to try something natural and nutritional. Espescially when it comes to gray hair and heart health. I have never heard of this before. Growing up with my grandmother she always used some type of mollases. No wonder she was always so healthy.Lived to a very old age. I’m going to try this recipe. Where would I find Blackstrap mollases?

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posted April 11, 2012 at 7:50 am

Thanks for the encouragement!

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posted April 11, 2012 at 7:39 am

I found this on another blog: “In any recipe that would otherwise call for sugar as a sweetener, you can use 1 1/3 cups molasses for every 1 cup of sugar replaced. In addition, given the acidity of molasses, a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda should be added for each cup of molasses used. You’ll also want to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 5 tablespoons.” Hope that helps.

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posted April 11, 2012 at 7:37 am

It’s harder to find than it used to be, but you can still get it. Thanks for commenting.

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posted April 11, 2012 at 7:35 am

I found Grandma’s natural molasses at Wal-mart but had to go to the local health food store to get blackstrap.

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posted April 11, 2012 at 7:34 am

Well, you are right in style! I assume you ARE kidding – right?

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posted April 11, 2012 at 7:32 am

My grandma used to call that mixture “wagon dope.” I enjoyed wagon dope on biscuits, too! Thanks for commenting.

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Sara Dees

posted April 11, 2012 at 4:14 am

I did not know that you can buy Mollasses today. My parents used to put it on the table every meal and we ate it on biscuits or toast plain or mixed with peanut butter. I am glad to know it is still around.

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posted April 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm

I’m interested in knowing what the ratio is for substituting molasses for sugar. Is it one to one?

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Gil Mateo

posted April 9, 2012 at 1:23 am

Where can we buy black strap molasses or any molasses per se?

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Your Name

posted April 8, 2012 at 10:11 pm

I tried your recipe and my hair turned green

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posted April 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Thanks Fore The Info On BlackStrap Susan, God Bless You : ) Cheers, Sean Prescott

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posted April 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Great informative post. Will check it out.

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johnny carlton

posted April 8, 2012 at 11:35 am

I have consumed molasses for over 60 years and have enjoyed the sweetness on everything from in my coffee to pancakes, but my favorite way to enjoy it best is to pour some in a bowl with melted butter or margarine stir until a buttery color and mix in hot busicuts for a treat from heaven!

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posted April 8, 2012 at 8:39 am

Interesting! I agree that good molasses is hard to find. I read that blackstrap molasses is the best and cleanest kind, since it is cooked down a third time. I couldn’t find any, though. One thing for sure — high fructose corn syrup doesn’t “purify” or do anything else good for our blood! Thanks for reading and for taking time to comment.

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John Miller

posted April 8, 2012 at 7:32 am

When young (I’m 74 now), molasses were used for the spring “blood purifier.” It worked, IMO.

The problem now is finding good molasses. It seems few people know just how much to cook it–either insufficiently, or giving it a burned taste.

We use honey fairly effectively, with the added benefit of fewer allergies when using locally produced honey.

Of course, the “purifying” benefit, and needed minerals are not in the honey as in the molasses.

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posted April 7, 2012 at 7:48 am

Sounds good! Thanks for the comment.

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posted April 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm

My son uses molasses in the barbecue sauce he makes. I used to make my own baked beans years ago and used it in that in place of brown sugar.

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posted March 29, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I hope it helps! Thanks for the comment.

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Kristin E

posted March 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Susan, the iron content was a shock to me. I struggle with my iron levels because I’m not a big red meat eater and I love green veggies, but don’t eat them regularly enough to keep my levels up. My dad & grandpa grew up eating molasses smothered biscuits, I don’t mind the taste, but will try to add this to my diet to help with iron. Thanks!

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