Friday, August 1, 2014

A Spoonful of Sugar

So sang Mary Poppins in 1964. Little would movie goers realise that 50 years later that song would’ve been the ‘kiss of movie-death’ to any film suspected of promoting public obesity. It would’ve been shunned and picketed with pitchforks and flaming torches.

Fast forward to 2014 where sugar-anything is fast becoming the replacement evil for the anti-smoking brigade.

It was predicted to be a food trend earlier this year and so it has become. Well, an anti-food trend to be precise. But how far is too far in removing sugar from eating choices?

Carrots have sugar, so do potatoes, pumpkin and…..onions. It’s not the sugar, it’s the type of sugar that needs to be dealt with.

This blog is by no means a complete nutritional assessment of sugar, so with that in mind, please read on and sees what you think of my opinion.

For the most part, I am for reducing refined sugar where ever possible from my family’s diet and I know many others are, too.

Taking sugar away from tea and coffee is simple – unless you take sugar in your tea and coffee. Suggestion #1, reduce it little by little until it is gone or a mere suggestion of sweet. Suggestion #2, replace with coconut sugar either gradually or at once, whatever makes you panic less. Coconut sugar has a pleasant light caramel flavour and is loaded with minerals. It is a better GI choice than refined sugar.

No need to say anything about fizzy drinks. The media are saying it all at the moment. So here’s a replacement: half juice and half sparkling mineral water (or soda stream or soda water). Not sugar free but that’s not what I’m trying to do. I’m aiming to lessen not eliminate.

Yes, I know it’s hard to get your child to swap over but here’s my mother-of-five-children advice: aim to reduce their intake not ban it. Choose your battles carefully. I would rather my teen chose ‘real’ coke than the diet versions because I know he ‘ain’t gonna’ ask for water at a party or youth dinner.

I rather like sparkling water by itself but it is an acquired taste.

Harder to eliminate, possibly because of disguise and subterfuge, is the sugar in processed food. Tomato sauce, soup, sauces, dressings and other savoury items that might surprise a shopper, because the same food cooked at home either has none or if so, minimal.

Biscuits, cakes, ice cream and confectionery – obvious sugar laden products. What about yoghurt? That’s good for you, right? Not so fast. Read the ingredient label. Ditto juice choices – when I checked recently, most had sugar added as well as the fruit. Never mind that some have flavouring….in fruit juice?

You can replace white sugar with coconut sugar in baking. Some recipes can swap out sugar for honey.

Agave syrup, coconut nectar and maple syrup are all liquid sweeteners. Yacon syrup is hideously expensive but if you’re a diabetic it could be a god-send and worth every penny.

Agave Syrup

Many raw recipes use dates as the sweetener. Stevia and xylitol make regular appearances. I saw stevia in a new tomato sauce last week, illustrating the power of consumer demand.



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