Why would I want to avoid sugar?
Intolerance or sensitivity to refined sugar is common, and it has been suggested that over a quarter of us are a little intolerant to this addictive substance that has no nutritional value other than to add calories.
To give a quick summary: sugar increases blood fat (triglyceride) levels; is packed with empty calories; encourages the growth of yeasts like those in candida albicans; it disturbs our blood sugar levels, which diabetics know all about; and it can effect a depletion of vitamins and minerals.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a serious life-long health condition that occurs when the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body can’t use it properly. If left untreated, high blood glucose levels can cause serious health complications.
There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. They’re different conditions, caused by different things, but they are both serious and need to be treated and managed properly.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that plays a very important role in our bodies. After we eat, we begin to digest carbohydrates, breaking them down into glucose.
The insulin released by the pancreas moves glucose into our cells, where it is used as fuel for energy. It may help to understand that insulin is often described as a key, which open the doors to the cells, allowing glucose to enter. If we do not have enough insulin in our bodies, the glucose will stay in our bloodstream and can be deadly the higher the levels.
Type 1 Diabetes-
If you think you have a problem then please contact your doctor or a medical professional and get help.
Q: What are low calorie sweeteners?
A: These are ingredients used to sweeten foods – they can be split into two categories: bulk sweeteners and intense sweeteners. Bulk sweeteners are used when the volume that sugar would have normally given to a food is required as well as sweetness. They contain 2kcal/g whereas sucrose (normal table sugar) contains 4kcal/g. Intense sweeteners are sweeteners that are so sweet that only very small amounts are required to give a sweet taste, meaning they have no appreciable energy value. They can be up to 7000 times sweeter than sucrose.
Q: How do I spot a sweetener on a food label?
A: Food labels need to say on the main face if they contain added sugars and/ or sweeteners. Sweeteners are additives and will be labelled as such in the ingredients list. This will be either as a sweetener with its name or as an E number.
Below is a list of common sweeteners with their corresponding E numbers:
Aspartame - E951
Acesulfame K - E950
Saccharin - E954
Sucralose - E955
Maltitol - E965
Isomalt - E953
Sorbitol - E420
Some people prefer "natural" sweeteners over refined ones. In most cases, they are less refined than white sugar and may contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Here are some varieties of "natural" sweeteners;
Barley malt is a thick, dark, slow-digesting sweetener made from sprouted barley. It has a malt-like flavour. Some say barley malt is to beer as grapes are to wine. It is ideally suited to brewing for many reasons: Malted barley has a high complement of enzymes for converting its starch supply into simple sugars; it also contains protein, which is needed for yeast nutrition. Another important element is its flavour. Pure malt extract, which is relatively expensive, is sometimes adulterated with corn syrup, which is cheap. Barley malt extract (available in powder and liquid forms) is also used medicinally as a bulking agent to promote bowel regularity.
Brown rice syrup
Brown rice syrup is a naturally processed sweetener, made from sprouted brown rice. It is thick and mild-flavoured.
Also known as levulose and fruit sugar, fructose is the sweetest of all the simple sugars (e.g., glucose, fructose, galactose). Fruits contain between 1 and 7% fructose, although some fruits have much higher amounts. Fructose makes up about 40% of the dry weight of honey. It is also available in crystalline form, but its sweetness rapidly declines when dissolved in water. Fruit juice concentrates Fruit juice concentrates are made by cooking down peach, pineapple, grape, and pear juices to produce a sweeter, more concentrated product. The product is then frozen to increase shelf life.
Honey is a sweet substance made from plant nectar (sucrose) by the honeybee. The source of the nectar determines the colour, flavour, and texture of honey. Alfalfa and clover honey are the most common types, but blackberry, heather, and acacia honeys are also popular. Honey is sold in liquid or crystallized form, and is available raw or pasteurized. Commercial honey is heated to 150 to 160°F (65.5 to 71°C) to prevent crystallization and yeast formation. "Organic" or "raw" honey has not been heat-treated. About 40% of the sugar in honey is fructose. Honey may contain Clostridium botulinum spores, the bacterium that causes botulism. Heat treatment is not sufficient to destroy C. botulinum spores, but the high sugar content of the honey prevents the spores from germinating, thus preventing the risk of deadly botulism. Normal adults are not at risk of botulism from eating honey; however, the gastrointestinal tracts of young infants (under one year of age) may promote spore germination. For this reason, infants under one year of age should not consume honey in any form.
Maple syrup is made from the boiled sap of sugar maple trees, primarily in the Northeastern United States and Canada. The taste and colour vary depending on the temperature at which the sap was boiled, and how long the sap was cooked. USDA Grade A maple syrup is the most popular grade for everyday use as a topping on pancakes, desserts, and other foods. It is usually made throughout most of the short syrup production season. Grade B syrup is generally made toward the end of the season, as the weather warms toward spring and the trees end their winter dormancy. USDA Grade B syrup is much darker and has a stronger flavour, which makes it more suitable for flavouring and cooking purposes. It is thought that this late season syrup contains more minerals.
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that can effectively replace sugar or other sweeteners. Nowadays, it is mainly extracted from corn, although originally it used to be made from birch tree pulp. sweetener, in fact even the human body produces a few grams of xylitol each day. Chemically, xylitol is a polyol and unlike most sweeteners it looks and tastes almost exactly like sugar (please note I said almost). However, you should note that it's not a calorie free sweetener but it has 40% less calories than sugar.
Xylitol and Dental Care
Some of you if you read food labels you might have noticed that some of the sugars that are supposed to improve dental health contain xylitol. This is not a coincidence. Xylitol can have a beneficial effect for dental health especially when compared to sugar. The two main reason are:
Xylitol has been approved by the FDA almost 45 years ago and there have never been reported any side effects other than a mild laxative effect. After all it's a natural substance that we produce ourselves and we even consume anyway by eating various fruits.
Xylitol and Dogs
Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that the consumption of xylitol can be dangerous for dogs.
Xylitol for Diabetics
One of the most important parts of diabetes management includes blood glucose management. Sugar and other carbohydrates cause a rapid elevation of blood glucose levels. Xylitol on the other hand, has a low glycaemic effect (it has a glycaemic index of 7) and doesn't require insulin for its metabolism. Because of this it is considered a good sugar alternative for diabetic patients.(from- http://hubpages.com/hub/Xylitol)