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All About Sugar

 

Let’s talk about sugar.

 

This is a dense topic so I’m going to try and simplify.

 

My dear client requested I write about this topic. I couldn’t agree more. There are so many misconceptions surrounding sugar.

 

It’s time to set the record straight.

 

There is no such thing as healthy sugar.

 

It doesn’t matter if it’s organic, all natural or unrefined.

 

Sugar is sugar.

 

Sugar happens to be our biggest enemy.

 

Sugar is linked to a number of adverse health effects including diabetes (which happens to be the most expensive disease to treat), obesity, heart disease and countless others.

 

Let’s not confuse this with the fact that carbohydrates are sugar and we need carbohydrates to function. However, there is a difference between simple and complex carbohydrates.

 

Simple carbohydrates include fried foods, cake, cookies, doughnuts, soda…you get the point. Basically anything that is instantly broken down, spikes the blood sugar and then results in a crash.

 

Quick side note…

 

Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas. It’s critical in the use of sugar and regulation of blood sugar levels. Without insulin, sugar stays in the blood stream and keeps the body at a high blood sugar level (hyperglycemia). When you consume simple sugars, insulin must be secreted to help stabilize the blood sugar. After a while, if you constantly consume simple sugars, the insulin response will diminish and this is when diabetes becomes a risk.

 

Complex carbohydrates include oats, brown rice, vegetables and beans. These foods are rich in fiber and sustain energy levels for long periods of time.

 

Sorry for the tangent.

 

Let’s start with artificial sweeteners. If you’ve read anything on my blog, you probably know my opinion by now. I tend to throw it out there quite often.

Do not, I repeat do not ever consume artificial sweeteners. If you’re going to eat sugar, just eat sugar. Don’t ever consume anything that is pretending to be something its not.

 

Artificial sweeteners are chemicals.

 

End of story.

 

Now, here’s the hard part. Since artificial sweeteners have a million different names, how do you recognize them?

 

Here’s one easy way, don’t buy anything with ingredients you can’t pronounce and avoid words like sugar free, diet and sugar alcohols.

 

Aspartame is the most common artificial sweetener. It can be found in Splenda and Equal.

 

Here are other names that artificial sweeteners go by, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, erythritol and xylitol.

 

The list goes on and on…

 

When in doubt, avoid it.

 

I’ll share one last thing about artificial sweeteners.

 

When you consume an apple, your body knows exactly what to do. It draws the nutrients from the apple and executes the digestive process. Your body uses the apple as fuel.

 

Now, when you consume something that is artificially sweetened the story becomes very different. Your body spends time trying to figure out what the heck you just ate. After a while, your body gives up and stores the food as fat and no nutrients are absorbed.

 

Now let’s focus on agave, honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar.

 

Agave is thought to be a “healthy” alternative to sugar. It’s not. Agave is highly processed therefore it spikes the blood sugar tremendously. Avoid this if possible.

 

Honey is a natural sweetener. However, it is still sugar. If possible, stick to raw honey and use in moderation.

 

Maple syrup contains zinc and manganese. It’s barely processed and natural. This is a good option. Again, use in moderation.

 

Coconut sugar is barely processed as well and contains nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron and B vitamins. I love this alternative because it also gives a rich caramel flavor. As I’ve already mentioned, it’s by no means “healthier” and should still be used in moderation. I do, however, think it’s a great option when baking.

 

I would avoid traditional table sugar and brown sugar, it’s highly processed and refined.

 

I could write for days about the different types of sugar. In my opinion, your best option is to stick with honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar.

 

Moderation, moderation and moderation is the key!

 

I want to touch on fruit for a moment.

 

Yes, fruit is sugar.

 

Fruit also contains vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants and fiber. It’s absorbed and broken down differently in the body. When compared with refined sugar, fruit does not have the same effect on the blood sugar.

 

I certainly hope this helps.

 

There’s a lot more I could have expanded on but I think this gives a good starting point. Basically, avoid artificial sweeteners and stick to the less refined ones such as honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar. As I already mentioned, moderation is the biggest thing here.

 

 

I felt it was time for another cookie recipe. Here’s one with coconut sugar.

 

Enjoy!

 

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

1 cup almond butter

½ cup coconut sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup coconut flour

½ cup chopped dark chocolate

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

In a mixing bowl, add almond butter, coconut sugar, egg and vanilla. Mix well.

 

Add salt and baking powder. Again, mix well. Slowly add in coconut flour. Be careful not to over mix, the dough will get very tough. Carefully add in chopped dark chocolate.

 

Roll and flatten cookie dough into about 2-3 inch circles, place on sheet tray.

 

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

 

 

 

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