How Sweet is Your Sugar…try a Healthy Option – Palm Sugar
Life without Sugar is really hard to imagine. The irresistible black forest cake you love to indulge in, a decadent Ras malai and the scrumptious ice creams without sugar! Many relate sweet food as mood booster and an anti depressant. Ever tried gifting a spicy bun to your loved one on your date instead of the sweet chocolate bar…
But wait, not all that is sweet is good for you. Hectic lifestyle and following the food pattern which has become obsolete in modern days is calling in for many lifestyle disorders. Consumption of high-sugar food, refined cereals and trans fats is very common.
Sugar: A major form of carbohydrates, is one of the main health hazards and needs to be moderated for better health. Sugar is also called as ‘empty calories’ as it is devoid of minerals, vitamins, fibers and other important nutrients.
Sugar is present in food in the forms of lactose, sucrose and fructose. Sucrose is the table sugar we use in our daily consumption. Fructose is mainly found in fruits, and lactose in the milk or dairy products. Sugar is made from sugar cane, beet root, palm etc.
Harmful effects of sugar;
- Simple sugar found in many food products or the table sugar creates a rapid rise in the blood glucose levels. This falls down rapidly after some time.
- This sudden decline and rise in blood sugar levels is what creates the mood swings or sugar blues.
- Tooth decay the most common health hazard of sugar creates other problems related to stress on the pancreas leading to diabetes.
- Sugar raises insulin which damages the arteries and leads to many cardiovascular diseases.
- Weight gain is another heath hazard of sugar. Asthma. cancer, increased free radicals, anti aging and low immunity levels are a few more drawbacks of too much sugar in our food.
Some Natural Sweeteners
1. Stevia; It is made with stevia leaves and is supposed to be the best sugar substitute.
2. Agave Nectar; It is made with the bulbous roots of Agave plant and is used as a natural sugar substitute.
3. Jaggery; It is the unrefined sugar obtained from sugar cane, and has more nutrition than the white sugar. Jaggery is found in many colors ranging from light yellow to ark brown depending upon the sugar cane and the processing involved in making it.
Jaggery is a better substitute than the white sugar compared to the many nutrients present in it, but still is high in simple carbohydrates.
4. Palm sugar; It comes from the sap of the date palm or sugar palm tree, which is boiled and crystallized. The end product looks pale yellow or light brown color and has many nutrients in it. Rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals palm sugar tastes much better than the other natural sweeteners. Though not a calorie free sweetener it has to be included carefully in your diet.
Prudent uses of Palm sugar;
- Palm sugar is a great additional to the baking products; it gives a distinct flavor and color to the baked goodies.
- Since Palm sugar dissolves easily in hot beverages, try adding a spoon to your milk or tea and see the change.
- Palm sugar gives almost caramelized taste to the food, mix in your yogurt/curd, smoothies or sweets and feels the difference.
- Keep frosting the cakes for special occasions. As the amount of sugar required in frosting or icing is always more than the actual sugar used in baking the cake!
- Parents are a major influencing factor when it comes to developing good food habits in their children. Start reducing sugar in daily diet and see the children follow us soon.
Keep a watch on your sugar intake or better switch to some of the above sugar substitutes and stay healthy!
Note; These are my views on sugar and about how I consume it in my diet, you are welcome to differ. Consult your physician regarding the use of sugar & sugar substitutes. Do share your treasure of information about the topic in the comment section below.