Love of sugar is almost universal among humans. You might be a sweet tooth junkie and crave a daily dose of chocolate or ice cream or dose your tea with spoonfuls of sugar while others might enjoy the occasional treat or get enough sweet satisfaction from a ripened fruit. For some, the taste that acts quickly on the taste buds and saliva, is beneficial to the body whereas for others, when consumed in excess creates weight gain and stagnation or congestion in the body. People with weak digestion or not enough insulin production will experience negative effects when consuming too much sugar. The good news is that there are a host of alternatives to sugar that don’t create spikes in blood sugar levels and also have high levels of nutrition. There are also many healthy sweet treats that can satisfy your taste buds without causing weight gain or cravings for more. Alternatives like Stevia and Xylitol are so easy to use in place of sugar. Honey has loads of curative properties and Molasses and Maple syrup are filled with nutritional benefits.
PICK ME UP & DROP ME DOWN
Although eating something sugary sweet will provide an instant energy boost and seems like a solution, it effects a sudden rise in blood sugar followed by a drop in insulin (necessary to carry blood glucose to the cells that utilise energy). This means it creates a superficial boost as the perk up is brief and followed by a slump in energy and often a craving for more sugar. Kids often get hyperactive on too much sugar. After the energy rise it can create drowsiness and in severe cases like diabetes it creates a black out or coma. Choose a sweetener that doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes.
MAKE MAPLE A STAPLE
Organic, Grade A maple syrup has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and helps with digestion. It has a high manganese content that helps with muscle recovery. Essential nutrients like zinc, iron, calcium and potassium help support reproductive health and protects the body against colds and flu. Apart from drizzling it on your flap jacks and pancakes you can add it to yogurt, oats, fruit salad or combine it with pureed apples for a delicious sauce. It works beautifully in salad dressings, in fish or chicken dishes.
MASSES OF MOLASSES
Molasses is packed with goodness and is a great product to make a habit of using. A tablespoon of molasses contains about 20% of your recommended intake for iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. What’s more, a tablespoon means only 45 calories. It also has plenty of vitamin B6. Because of its distinct taste it doesn’t usually work as an alternative to sugar but is excellent to use in baking and for sauces or marinades. Molasses is the by-product left after refining cane sugar. It is the reason white refined sugar is unhealthy - molasses is the goodness that is left over. Molasses can be used in baking especially cookies, is great in meat sauces and is often used in baked beans. Use unsulphered molasses and either sweet molasses or Blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap molasses is the by product of the third boiling of sugar cane and is the most concentrated form.