Posted by Rachel on:
So, I have a confession to make.... I love sweets! I can still remember pulling a piece of already chewed gum that someone had thrown to the ground, right into my mouth. Mmmmmm! Yea, pretty disgusting! Not my proudest moment as a four year old. But sometimes I still feel that same powerful 'urge' to find the nearest source of sugar, and eat it!
I took this picture at Fresco - one of my favorite (healthy and affordable) places to eat. Like every restaurant they have these mysterious little paper sugar packets, and it reminded me of how many kinds of sugar are available to us. So, I thought it would be good to chat a little about a few of them here. It's hard to know which ones are ok to eat, and which ones to avoid.
White refined table sugar
Vegans (or anyone else for that matter) take note: white refined table sugar goes through an elaborate process of filtration often using bone char, which is an animal charcoal. This type of sugar is also modified from it's natural composition when it becomes bleached with sulphur dioxide (an allergen for some people). The reason this sucks is because the process strips away all of the good nutrients.
Evaporated cane sugar
Evaporated Cane Sugar is type of raw sugar that is less processed, and has kept it's nutrient integrity. I usually pick this up at Trader Joe's and use it my morning English tea. It's a beautiful color and it's organic!
Raw cane sugar
This sweetener are in those cute little brown packets! It is a natural and unrefined sugar that uses no animal by-products during its manufacturing. If you are at a restaurant and you have 3 choices, Equal, Refined, Raw...choose this kind for your coffee.
This is a chlorinated sugar (I say no more!). bleah. Don't.
High-fructose corn syrup
This is basically a corn starch that is highly processed. Sometimes the corn used for corn syrup is is genetically modified, which is another discussion in itself. I would avoid this sugar as much as possible.
Sweet 'N Low
This one has a warning printed on the packet, "may cause cancer in laboratory animals" because it contains 'saccharin'. A food additive, which is also in many diet sodas. A cause for concern in humans too - if you ask me. I'd leave it in it's cute little paper packet.
Nutrasweet or Equal
Contains 'aspartame' an artificial chemical that can be a neurological irritant, that affects mood and energy levels. Also may trigger a case of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Mmmm, how lovely is that?!
A flower pollen extract made by those hardworking bees. It's sweeter than sugar (so you need less of it!) and contains vitamins and traces of minerals. It's also a good energy food.
A succulent plant sugar, that has many kitchen uses. A great substitute for your typical table sugar. Great in baking chocolate brownies, and it's healthier than a lot of other sugars!
A natural herb sweetener, that can be used by diabetics or those who are hypoglycemic. Another good alternative.
Top 5 reasons to cut back on sugar:
1. It contributes to Obesity and Diabetes (junk food; cookies and soda etc.)
2. It causes tooth decay
3. PMS (refined sugar makes it even WORSE ladies!)
4. Heart disease
5. Mood swings, depression and anxiety
I should also mention that on the whole, sugar is not bad. We just need to keep a handle on how much we consume. It is best to have foods like; fruit, vegetables, and whole grains which are known for having a sweet flavor. Next time your feeling like a candy bar, have a juicy peach, some raw almonds or sliced carrot sticks, it will help satisfy that sweet tooth.
Question for my readers: what's your favorite tea sweetener, and why?
* The Undercover Nutritionist is not a Doctor, and maintains this blog for educational purposes only. It is always good to consult multiple sources of information about your diet and health before making any big changes to your diet or lifestyle. This is just one!