Friday, September 16, 2011

What's So Wrong With Sugar? - Part 3

A continued guest post from Regina. You can also read part 1 and part 2.

You may be feeling overwhelmed and thinking, “But how do I begin to change? It looks way to big!!” And if you are like me, even after learning all this information, I still love my layer cakes and cheesecakes and shoo fly pie, and when I go out to eat, the dessert menu is the first thing of interest…a big slice of Triple Chocolate Wave anyone?

I’m again reminded of how addicted we Americans have become to our sweets. Even though we know the harmfulness of consuming all this sugar, we still do it day after day! One of the best things you can do is, read, read, and read labels! Don’t expect food companies and stores to provide healthy snacks and food because it just won’t happen! Do research and arm yourself with information of what you are eating and feeding your children and how it will affect you. Just because something is labeled “all natural” or deemed as “healthy” don’t believe it. Check it out for yourself. For instance, a lot of granola cereals might have whole grains and nuts etc. but they usually are all loaded with sugar. (Although it is still a smarter and healthier choice than Lucky Charms, but why not make your own and control how much sugar is put in?!)

Start small, take one day at a time and the change won’t seem as impossible. Teach yourself and your children to enjoy one cookie instead of a handful, and drink water with a dash of fresh squeezed lemon instead of juices and soft drink. Learn to enjoy the natural sweetness of fruit as a dessert and take care of your sweet craving with a handful of ripe grapes or clementines. What is more appetizing to the eye than a tray of colorful fresh, ripe fruit! Try to cut out white breads, noodles, macaronis, etc. as our bodies convert these cheap carbohydrates into sugar. As you consume less sugar, your body will eventually adjust to the change, it will crave the sweetness less and less and one day you will realize you hadn't had a thought about that next bite of whoopie pie all day!

I can still hear you all complaining though, “ I still need something rich and gooey!” The good news is, we don’t have to go through life with no sweet indulgences as some natural sweeteners have been discovered. Stevia is a very popular herb whose leaves are very sweet and when in powder form can be used in place of sugar, even in baking, cooking, canning and sweetening drinks.

Stevia has zero calories and a glycemic index of 0 (meaning it will not make your body‘s blood sugar rise) Xylitol is another popular form of a naturally occurring sweetener found in vegetables and fruits and is produced commercially from plants and other hard wood trees. Xylitol has a low glycemic index rating of 8 and has the caloric gram of 2.4 versus table sugars 4 grams. Using fruit sugars and honey are still forms of sugar, but they are in the natural state which our bodies can then “recognize” and be able to digest easier. (Just don’t let that deceive you into thinking you can consume all you want!!)

Learn to use these natural sweeteners and practice making recipes without all the sugar it calls for. I have learned a lot of dessert recipes will turn out and be just as good by cutting out ½ cup or more of the sugar called.

And finally there is a time and season for everything and I'll be the first one to say that includes, eating sugar!  On your birthday, have a piece of cake with a little ice-cream, and it's not Thanksgiving with out a piece of pumpkin pie (made with natural sugar of course!)   I'm the first one to get a slice of pecan pie and my Mom's special coconut cake made from my great grandmothers recipe at Christmas!  And it isn't spring without enjoying a slice of fresh strawberry pie!  But why not save these special treats to keep them extra special, instead of including them in our daily food group?  Or if that is impossible, try to at least work it down to one small serving a day instead of three of four.

The Bible says we are to be good stewards of our bodies, that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost. Why would we fill our bodies with something that is so addicting, something that decays our bodies that God has breathed life into?  Why consume something that may make us sick and keeps us from having a good quality of life?  Why would we as mothers want to do this to our children?

May God help us to learn to use this yummy, sweet product in a proper way and balance, and enjoy the healthy bodies that He wants us to have.


  1. I was reading labels for syrups yesterday. $4.12 for a squat little bottle of pancake syrup made with "natural" sugar, not HFCS. Easy to see why the industry prefers to use HFCS.

  2. I like to make things from scratch so I can control the sugar. I don't use sugar subsitutes - just use sugar in moderation. Sweet breakfasts are a big culprit, I think, so we have savory breakfasts pretty often. And I don't add sugar to drinks - unsweetened mint tea is so refreshing!

  3. I'd love to learn more about stevia and xylitol and Rapadura. No one in the health food stores here has heard of Rapadura, but I think the Nourishing Traditions book talks about rapadura.

    So - how about a series on these other sweetners and how to cook and bake with them, etc.

    :) More work *L* :)

    Great series!

  4. Naptime Seamstress

    I love the idea of a series on natural sweeteners - except that I don't know much about them - so guess you'll have to write it!


  5. Thanks again for this series. I've learned some new things and have also been encouraged to continue watching our sugar intake. I appreciated too the emphasis on not totally avoiding sugar but being more moderate with it.

    I used to have a big sweet tooth (and I still love sweets!) but I've experienced what Regina talks about in that as I've slowly cut back on the sugar I consume I find I don't crave it nearly as much. And things that my husband once deemed as too sweet and I thought were just right I now see his way- and can only eat a little bit!

    I'd second the request for the series Naptime Seamstress mentioned. :)

  6. I believe Rapadura is evaporated cane juice crystals or similar. Sucanat is easier to find and pretty much the same. Both are coarse and don't seem to dissolve as much as regular sugar so for cookies and such, I'll grind them in my coffee grinder for a smoother texture.

    This was a great series and I'm really enjoying your blog, Gina. I grew up conservative Mennonite. I've bookmarked several recipes to try!


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