Though most of us have probably heard processed sugar referred to as “empty calories” and likely think twice about eating that giant piece of chocolate cake, our over consumption of processed sugar still manages to go under the radar and wreak havoc on our health.
3 Things You Should Know About Processed Sugar
- Processed sugar is highly addictive. Why? Because it causes a dopamine release in the brain, a “feel good” response that makes us want to consume more and its absence results in cravings and other physical responses such as headaches.
- Processed sugar is not just “empty calories”. It may be empty of nutrients but it has an ample affect on the body. It has absolutely no health benefits and is detrimental to your teeth, can lead to diabetes and weight gain (due to elevated insulin & leptin resistance) and it weakens the immune system (by lowering the efficiency of white blood cells it hinders out ability to fight off disease and infection).
- Processed sugar is in just about every processed food. Before you go and buy that frozen pizza, jar of peanut butter or bag of chips, try checking the ingredients list. This article on hidden sugars may help you be more aware. Remember sugars can also be disguised, so familiarize yourself with terms such as high fructose corn syrup and the –ose’s (glucose, fructose, sucrose etc,).
So what do we do? We make adjustments! Cutting processed sugar is not the end all of sweet tasty treats, in fact there are healthy alternatives out there that are more satisfying and can even be grown in your own back yard.
The best alternatives to processed sugar.
Raw Honey is an extraordinarily tasty alternative to processed sugar and it has incredible health benefits! My suggestion is to buy it from a local source (try your local farmers market) to be sure you are getting the real thing and to support the local foods movement! http://tainofarm.com/growing-and-buying-local-and-organic-food/ eXtreme Hotel’s farm, Taino Farm harvests raw honey three times per year and we consider it liquid gold. You can read more about raw honey harvesting and additional benefits on Taino Farm’s website.
- Stevia is a natural herb sweetener that you can grow yourself. The leaves are much sweeter than processed sugar and do not raise insulin levels. This article on how to grow and make homemade Stevia extract gives wonderful and simple instructions that will have you making and baking healthy sweet treats in no time.
- Fruit is a delicious and simple way to curb that sweet tooth of yours. Rather than going to the store to buy imported snacks made with processed sugar while you’re on your fitness vacation, why not go to the fruit stand across the road and get an exotic and delicious piece of fruit like a guanabana or pineapple? Unlike processed sugar, fruit provides us with the health benefits of minerals, vitamins and fibers. It also gives us sustainable energy, unlike processed sugar that creates a spike in our insulin and blood sugar leading to processed sugar crashes or “sugar hangovers”. Coming soon: an amazing recipe for banana pancakes (sweetened with bananas) in eXtreme Hotel and Taino Farms Organic Cookbook!
Post by Lynsey Wyatt.