There are many reasons to avoid white table sugar, which is our enemy and is waging war on our health. White sugar is highly processed and refined and, therefore, has no nutritional value whatsoever and is a whopping 80 on the glycemic index--and, these are arguably its better features!! If you want to read more about the numerous negatives that come from refined sugar such as damage to organs, depletion of vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals, diabetes, hypoglycemia and more, then read what The Macrobiotic Guide has to say about the subject: http://www.macrobiotics.co.uk/sugar.htm. Pretty intense and enough to make anyone serious about their weight, health and well-being want to eliminate or dramatically curtail their consumption of refined sugar.
A big part of the problem is that many times we don't realize the massive amounts of sugar hidden in our foods. For example, let's consider a staple in the American diet--ketchup.
Did you know that when we add traditional ketchup to our plate, we are ingesting hidden sugars? High-fructose corn syrup (generally the second ingredient in Ketchup) and corn syrup (usually the forth ingredient) are detrimental to our health and are called "added sugars".
Types of "added sugars" include fructose (linked to heart disease because it raises triglycerides and cholesterol and is completely devoid of any nutrition), corn syrup (with a high glycemic index of 75 and very little nutritional value), high fructose corn syrup (with a glycemic index of 87 and believed by many health advocates to be, along with refined sugar, the biggest contributor to health ailments) and glucose (AKA dextrose) which holds the infamous distinction of a glycemic rating of 100! Believe it or not, the average American throws down 350-475 calories of added sugars a day! And that's in addition to the other sugars that they might know they are consuming.
"Sugar Free" the Right Way
Artificial and alcohol-based sweeteners have many negatives. We should avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame and all of the alcohol sugars such as maltitol and xylitol (sweeteners which always end in the letters "tol") because they are chemicals, not foods. Without going further into that subject here, please let me be clear on one point: You will never find refined sugar or artificial or alcohol-based sweeteners in any of the recipes in my cookbook, Delightfully Free. (I will cover what I do use to sweeten my recipes in my next post.)
Another point to be aware of is that some natural sweeteners can change as you cook or bake them, causing their glycemic index to rise. For instance, raw honey has a glycemic index of 30-40. But when honey is processed, it is heated to a high heat, causing its glycemic index to rise to 55-80. For this reason, in the few instances that I use raw honey in Delightfully Free, it is only in recipes that are not cooked or baked after the raw honey has been added.
Yes, the American diet needs some big changes when it comes to sugar. But, we're not your average Americans, are we? No, No. Because we know the secrets of stevia and coconut palm sugar, which are healthy, happy, natural, low glycemic sweeteners, we make baked goods and confections into amazingly delicious and surprisingly nutritious treats! So, please look for my next post which will cover the natural sweeteners in my cookbook.
Wishing you happy AND healthy eating,
About Delightfully Free: Delightfully Free is a gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free cookbook of 141 recipes. It includes delicious resources for autism, Celiac disease, diabetes, lactose intolerance, obesity and just plain healthy living. It contains 114 color photographs, 114 vegetarian or vegetarian compatible recipes, and 103 vegan or vegan compatible recipes.