Some interesting things about stopping sugar, I now crave milk and yogurt. Also, because of increasing my milk intake and taking away the nutrient robbing sugar, my nails look better. They are really white. I keep getting a glimpse of them out of the corner of my eye and being surprised by it, lol.

Now on to my research paper, warning it is quite the read.

White Sugar
White Sugar by Andrew _ B, on Flickr

“The difference between sugar addiction and narcotic addiction is largely one of degree.” – William Dufty, Sugar Blues.

A sweet flavor is a signal to the body that there will be an abundance of easily-assimilated energy. With sugar the body has been tricked into feeling satisfied, when in fact, the sweetness is completely deficient in essential vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and enzymes which would normally be present. Here is a quote from an article titled “Why is sugar bad for you? What are the alternatives?” by Adam Stark

“High-glycemic foods (and few are higher than sugar) can wreak havoc with the body. Imagine, for example, a meal of pure refined white sugar. The sugar hits your stomach, and since there’s nothing for it to do there (the stomach primarily works on digesting protein, and breaking down chunks of food), it hits the small intestine in a matter of minutes. In the small intestine, it undergoes two very simple chemical reactions which turn it into glucose, then the glucose is absorbed straight into the bloodstream. Almost instantly, your blood glucose levels skyrocket.

When the body senses high blood glucose, its first reaction is to lower it. Simple enough, right? So the pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which lowers glucose by escorting it into the cells of the body. So some glucose goes to the muscle cells, to be used as energy. A lot of it goes to fat cells, to be stored as love handles. Some goes to the liver, where it is either stored or converted to fat and cholesterol.

When glucose levels get too high, the pancreas overreacts and produces too much insulin, bringing blood glucose levels lower than they should be. Low blood glucose can leave people feeling tired and grumpy, and craving the next sugary treat. And when they eat that treat, a vicious cycle ensues. Perhaps more importantly, low blood sugar is perceived by the body as a form of stress, just the same as stress out there in your world. And we all know how dangerous stress can be.

The problem can get a lot worse, too. After years of chronically high insulin levels, the cells of the body start to ignore insulin. And when insulin stops working, your blood sugar levels stay high. This is called Type 2 Diabetes. Chronically high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys. It won’t happen overnight of course. There’s nothing the matter with a really nice dessert now and again. But if you make sugar a major part of your diet long-term, it will happen.”

Because refined dietary sugars lack minerals and vitamins, they must draw upon the body’s micro-nutrient stores in order to be metabolized into the system. When these storehouses are depleted, metabolization of cholesterol and fatty acid is impeded, contributing to higher blood serum, triglycerides, cholesterol, promoting obesity due to higher fatty acid storage around organs and in sub-cutaneous tissue folds.The best thing you can do is limit your sugar intake. Then, look for sugars that are minimally refined and gives some sort of nutritional benefit. Remember in some recipes calling for white sugar you can substitute applesauce or mashed ripe banana and then adjusting the amount of liquid. They’ll add fiber and create a delicious, moist texture.

Here is a list of some of the sugars I looked into. It is not an all-inclusive list but does cover some of the most popular natural sweeteners.

Raw Honey

Bee Birth 4 - hello world!
Bee Birth 4 – hello world! by Max xx, on Flickr

Info: Honey should be raw and not heated over 117 degrees. It is packed with natural enzymes, phytonutrients, and minerals. It does not spoil and it’s a natural anti-biotic and anti-fungal. Try to find local honey because it contains trace amounts of the pollens in our area, building up your immunity to allergens in your local environment. Raw honey has the plant enzyme amylase which is concentrated in the pollen of flowers. It is effective in helping the pre-digestion of starchy foods. Try spreading raw honey on a piece of bread and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. The honey will immediately begin to break down the starches in the bread. It does sit higher on the glycemic index than white sugar.
Use: You want raw honey to stay raw to get the most nutrients out of it, do not use it in baked goods. Honey is great for porridge or toast. If you do use it in baked goods substitute ⅔ to ¾ cup for 1 cup white sugar. Reduce liquid by ¼ cup. Add ¼ teaspoon baking soda per cup of honey. Reduce oven 25 degrees Fahrenheit and adjust baking time. Remember raw honey should not be given to children younger than two to protect against infant botulism.

Maple Syrup

Where maple syrup comes from (0307)
Where maple syrup comes from (0307) by The D34n, on Flickr

Info: Maple syrup comes from the sap of the maple tree and boiling it down to a syrup and is minimally processed. Maple syrup does have a high glycemic index and is not recommended for diabetics. You always want to buy 100% pure organic maple syrup because some maple producers still use illegal formaldehyde pellets and other additives during processing. Also, get the darkest grade you can, grade B or C. Maple syrup is high in manganese, zinc, and potassium.
Use: Wonderful flavor in cream-based desserts and may be used in baked goods such as muffins and pancakes. Substitute ⅔ to ¼ cup maple for 1 cup white sugar. Reduce liquid in recipe by 3 tablespoons. Add ¼ teaspoon baking soda per cup of maple syrup.

Rapadura

Sugar cane
Sugar cane by sisterbeer, on Flickr

Info: It is the pure juice pressed from the sugar cane and evaporated at a low heat. It is the least refined cane sugar available. Per 100 g, rapadura contains up to 1,000 mg of potassium, 100 mg of magnesium, 110 mg of calcium, 100 mg of phosphorus, 1,200 IU of vitamin A and trace amounts of vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6 and niacin. Like other forms of sugar, rapadura contains only carbohydrates — mainly in the form of sucrose — and provides no fat or protein. As with white sugar, rapadura contains 15 calories per tablespoon.I found conflicting info on whether rapadura spiked blood sugar, some said yes, some said no. I did learn that the more sucrose in the sweetener, the more it raises your blood sugar. Even though rapadura has some Fructose and Glucose there is still quite a bit of Sucrose. So even though there are good for you nutrients in it that help your body assimilate it, large quantities should be avoided.
Use: Best used in cookies and cakes. It can be ground (in a blender or coffee grinder) to a fine powder. Thus it is a great replacement for powdered sugar. It can be used cup for cup as an alternative to sugar. Add ¼ teaspoon baking soda for every cup of rapadura.

Stevia

Drying Stevia
Drying Stevia by hardworkinghippy, on Flickr

Info: Stevia is a sweet herb native to South America and is more than ten times sweeter than most sweeteners. Stevia has no calories. There are different forms of stevia such as; dried, concentrate, tea, tablet form and liquid. Stevia is not actually a sugar (something that turns into glucose in the body) so it does not raise insulin levels.
Use: Since stevia will not add bulk to baked goods, it is better used in salad dressings, smoothies, whipped cream and pie crusts.

Date Sugar

Dates, anyone?
Dates, anyone? by jemasmith, on Flickr

Info: Date sugar is whole dates that have been dried and then ground up. Different varieties of dates have different flavors. Dates contain vitamin A1, B1, B2, B3, B5, and C and more than 20 different amino acids including folic acid. They are easy to digest and a great source of fiber. You can buy dried dates and soak them in warm water. Then blend the dates with some of the water to make a paste. High tryptophan content makes it a good sweetener for hyperactive children. The amino acid has a calming effect but once again it is disputed.Here is a quote from an article titled “Natural Control of ADD & ADHD” by Billie J. Sahley, Ph.D., CNC

“Some of the major symptoms of neurotransmitter deficiencies are ADD, ADHD, brain fog, mood swings, increased stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, and aggression. Stress plays a major role in the depletion of neurotransmitters. Inhibitory neurotransmitters are the keys to behavior, emotions, and pain. Inhibitory amino acids include tryptophan, taurine, GABA, and glycine.”

Use: Excellent in porridge, smoothies, baked goods, and sauces. Substitute 1 cup for cup white sugar. Add hot water to dissolve date sugar before using in batters.

Unsulfured Blackstrap Molasses

As Slow As Molasses
As Slow As Molasses by technicool, on Flickr

Info: It is the final by-product of the sugar refining process, and contains all the nutrients that have been boiled away multiple times from the raw sugar cane. It contains iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, chromium, as well as the trace minerals manganese and copper. It is also high in B-vitamins.
Use: Even though it is not as sweet as sugar it is still 90-plus percent sugar, so not substitute more than half the sugar in recipe with molasses. Good in yogurt.

Coconut Sugar

Azúcar de palma
Azúcar de palma by Noema Pérez, on Flickr

Info: Coconut sugar is made from the sap of coconut flower buds. It is minimally processed and high in potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron and is a natural source of the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and C.
Use: It comes in cakes or paddles, so it isn’t always easy to work with. Great in baking and can be used 1 for 1 in recipes.

Malted Grain Syrups

mmm, barley malt
mmm, barley malt by chickeninthewoods, on Flickr

Info: Sprouted grains are dried then ground up. Then they are heated with water to form malt syrup. The resulting syrup is 65% maltose sugar, a disaccharide composed of two glucose molecules (Sucrose is a disaccharide, composed of glucose and fructose) the real value is in the fact that they contain no fructose, which in large amounts is far more harmful than glucose. For barley malt syrup – Make sure you buy 100% barley malt, and not barley/corn malt syrup.
Use: Best used in combination with other sweeteners. Wonderful in spice cakes, gingerbread, and baked beans. Substitute 1-1/3 cups barley malt for 1 cup white sugar. Reduce liquid in recipe by ¼ cup. Add ¼ teaspoon baking soda per cup barley malt. For Brown rice syrup – Baked goods made with rice syrup tend to be hard or very crisp. Use in cookies, crisps, granola, pies and puddings. Combine with another sweetener such as maple of cakes. Substitute 1-1/3 cups for 1 cup white sugar. Reduce liquid ¼ cup per cup rice syrup. Add ¼ teaspoon baking soda per 1 cup rice syrup.

In conclusion, the sugars I will start using are; raw honey, maple syrup, dates, bananas, applesauce, and rapadura. I need to find someone local that sells raw honey. I know that they sell honey at the farmers market but am not sure if it is raw. Also, I need to look into finding dates. My local store did not have any organic ones :( It was funny I went to the store to find rapadura and they had every other sugar mentioned in the above list except for it, so frustrating.

One of the hardest parts to eating better is finding good local organic food when you have a toddler in tow. I tried going to the local food co-op the other day with him and it was such a bad idea. The rows were so close together that wingnut just kept grabbing everything he could. For instance, they had a bulk maple container in his reach and wingnut started turning the spout, boy was I happy when I realized it was empty. Could you imagine the mess it would have made?

Where I found the bulk of my information.:
http://www.processedfreeamerica.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=405:the-truth-about-evaporated-cane-juice&catid=37:health-news&Itemid=72

http://www.livestrong.com/article/367101-nutrition-in-rapadura/

http://www.healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/sugar.htm

http://www.debrasnaturalgourmet.com/Adams_Archives/sugar.html

http://www.naturalfoodlist.com/?p=4046

http://www.rawbayarea.com/how-sweet-is-that/

http://www.freedomyou.com/recipes/natural%20sweeteners.htm

http://www.naturodoc.com/library/nutrition/natsweets_use.htm

http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/guides/tips_sweeteners.html

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