Sugar – and why it’s bad for you
Since I found out how sugar harms your body, I have been doing my best to stay away from it. It can be hard though because sometimes my sweet tooth sneaks up on me. In those cases, it’s lucky that sweet snacks do not necessarily have to be filled with sugar. On Snackaffairs, I feature only snacks that are sugar free, and this is why:
- Sugar is bad for your teeth, and will ruin them over time.
- Many lifestyle diseases are linked to sugar, and the risk to get them is therefore increased, these are diseases such as depression, diabetes, breakouts & skin irritation, obesity and more.
- Sugar is extremely addictive, actually more addictive than cocaine!
- Refined sugar has no nutritional value, besides empty calories.
- Sugar impairs liver function.
- Sugar counteracts fat combustion.
- Sugar is hormone-disrupting and turn men to women, and women to men (man-boobs, hair growth etc.)
So what do you do? You can start by being aware of what you eat and drink. Sugar comes in many disguises, and if we are aware of what we are eating, we can get around it. In a canned soda you will find 53 teaspoons of refined sugar, it has many masks!
When you cut down on your sugar consumption, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as fatigue and headaches. But keep on going! It will go away, and you’ll get through it.
If you do like to sweeten things up once in a while, there are many other natural sweeteners without sugar and without the negative effects of refined sugar – like these ones:
- Coconut sugar
- Coconut sirup
- Acacia honey
My favourite sweetener is dates – I love them as a snack, and I love them in my food. Next in line for my favourites is coconut sirup. Coconut sirup doesn’t taste like coconut, like you think it would, but instead it has a very pleasent dense flavour – much like molasses. Coconut sirup has a very low Glycemic Index (GI = 35 – read about this in the next paragraph). In addition to this, it is rich in amino acids, which is the building blocks for protein and is essential to many bodily functions. Furthermore, the sirup has a wide spectre of vitamins, including B and C vitamins – and is rich in potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron. Sounds good that a sweetener can have so many benefits, doesn’t it?
The Glycemic Index
The Glycemic Index is a good thing to keep in mind, if you’re trying to keep a low sugar intake. A foods glycemic index tells you how much it will increase your blood sugar. We’d like to keep our blood sugar stable, and eat foods with a low glycemic index. Foods with a high GI increase blood sugar, while foods with a low GI will keep your blood sugar stable.
Food with a high GI are foods like sugar, soft drinks, white bread, pasta etc. they will increase blood sugar and insulin levels. But that’s not always a bad thing. After a tough workout, it can be a good thing to eat something with a high GI (fruit, not sugar).
Dates are often used to sweeten a treat instead of sugar, but the GI of a date is actually higher than cane sugar. Therefore if you want to keep a low GI, you substitute dates for figs because figs only have half as high GI as dates. Chocolate (85% and up)is really low in GI.
This is the Glycemic Index Chart. If a food has a GI below 55, it is considered low in GI and will only keep your blood sugar stable. 55-69 in GI is medium. If a food has over 70 in GI, it is considered high. These foods will raise blood sugar.
Coconut sirup is low in GI, it has a GI of 35 – and agave sirup is only 15. White sugar falls a GI of 64.
Dark Chocolate – The Delicious Benefits
Many chocolate lovers have grown up with the idea that chocolate is candy, and should only be enjoyed as a candy. If you eat all the fake chocolate (milk chocolate, white chocolate, and flavoured chocolates), it’s like candy. But the cacao bean is actually a superfood, and if there is enough cocoa in your chocolate (above 85%), it’s actually really healthy. It’s recommended that you eat one square of dark chocolate every day, as it will give you these amazing benefits:
- Dark chocolate has a lot of nutritional benefits (fiber, iron, magnesium…)
- Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants! Actually, there are more antioxidants in dark chocolate than in the super fruits acai berries, blueberries, cranberries and pomegranate.
- Dark chocolate can lower high blood pressure
- Dark chocolate may improve brain function. (And who doesn’t want a more functional brain?)
Due to the high amount of antioxidants in dark chocolate, some consider it to be a superfood.
By now, you’re probably contemplating chowing down a whole lot of chocolate, but there are many other ways to eat chocolate than in squares. For example, you can try these delicious bliss balls.
Going Organic – eating honest food
Your guide to spotting organic and “honest” food – food that is what it is, and not what it pretends to be. In my everyday life, I set high standards for the quality of my food, and knowing what I put in my body. I always aim to eat organic, because I prefer knowing where my food is from, and ingredients like pesticides, dyestuff and artificial sweeteners don’t belong in my body. A good trick to eating honest food, is to avoid food where you can’t pronounce one or more of the ingredients.
In addition to my wishes to my own health and body, I treasure nature and what it can give us humans in the form of nourishment, vitamins, minerals and of course life in general. To help nature thrive on, I choose organic because just like my body, nature is better off without pesticides and other artificial stuff.
Going organic is an independent choice, and I’m not going to tell you exactly how or if you should do it. I believe in eating organic as being the healthiest choice for my body, but I can’t tell you that I live a 100% organic life, because like others I also eat take-away, and sometimes the products I’m looking for aren’t being sold in organic, and I’ll have to opt for non-organic. All in all, I aim to eat as close to 100% organic as possible.