Sweetness is a thing that is enjoyed and loved by a lot of people. A slice of cake can feel heavenly when it melts in your mouth, so could the traditional Gulab-Jamun dipped in sugar syrup. While you drool over the imagination of the two, let us burst the heavenly bubble by making you realize that these foods are loaded with sugar which is not the best thing for your body.
Sugar is not the total bad-guy. It, of course, is an integral part of the human diet, but it is obligatory to understand that it should be consumed in a very controlled portion. While your tongue might ask for that tall glass of cola, your body does not need the 10-teaspoon added sugar in it.
Why Is Processed Sugar Bad
The white crystalline ingredient very commonly available in our kitchens can be a reason for a dozen issues if consumed excessively. From your morning breakfast cereal to your evening cup of coffee. Everything is injected with a dose of sugar for the sake of sweetness. 10% a day is the safer limit of processed sugar for a person. But why so? Why is the lingering taste of sugar considered bad for our body? Let’s get to know.
1. Makes You Gain Weight
Excessive sugar can cause weight gain; we all know that. But how does it contribute to human-obesity? So, here is the reason. Sugary foods and drinks are high in fructose, which induces hunger and makes you eat more. Also, it will hinder the production of leptin that signals our body to stop eating.
2. Bad for Heart
Sugar is bad for the heart. It is known to increase the risk of heart diseases. Higher sugar consumption leads to obesity, inflammation, higher blood sugar and blood pressure. Thus aiding to negative effects on the heart. Sugar also contributes to creating path-blocking particles in our arteries. That creates a higher risk of clogging and deposition.
3. Increases Acne
Acne is a common problem in both men and women. Whereas, for some people, the problem becomes havoc. Excessive sugar could be a reason for such an issue. Sugary foods quickly increase the production of oils in our oil-glands which plays a big role in acne in our body.
4. Accelerates Skin Aging Process
Nobody is a fan of ageing, wrinkles and loose skin. Although, it eventually will happen to everyone. However, the poor choice of food can make it tougher. Sugar can be the devil to damage the collagen and elasticity in your skin.
Less collagen leads to saggy and wrinkled skin. Higher sugar and carb diet can make you age sooner than expected. This must-have created an appropriate picture in front of you about the negative facts that come along excess sugar consumption. What to do then? We have the ultimate list for healthiest natural sweeteners. Let’s begin.
Healthier Alternatives to Processed Sugar
Well, many people do understand the possible effects of excess sugar. Therefore, the next famous alternate is to switch to artificial sweeteners. The packed industrialized sweeteners, that allegedly cut the calories in your desserts and drinks.
For a quick introduction, these sweeteners are not at all the healthiest options when it comes to giving-up the processed or added sugar. You might be cutting the calories when adding your regular artificial sweetener, but there are a few recent studies that suggest that these sugar-free sweeteners can increase your appetite. Side-effects of artificial sweeteners have also been linked to cancer. So, do you think that this “free” is worth it?
Clearing the clouds of interrogation, here are a few safest sources of 'all-natural' sweetness.
Very obvious and predictable option, honey. Honey is known for its natural sweetness, vitamins and antioxidants. It is sweet and can be a perfect alternative to the sugar in your tea, coffee or sweet dishes.
Eating honey will also help in strengthening your immune system and boosting antioxidants in our blood.
Add honey to your oatmeal breakfast for that good amount sweetness to your taste-buds.
Jaggery is another natural sweetener, traditionally used for foods in India. Just like the white-sugar, it is also made from cane, but less refined and crystalized comparatively. It is rich in fibre, Vitamin-C and minerals. Jaggery or Gur is the favourite comfort food for many Indians, and we all love the taste of it in creamy Kheer.
It provides accounted for sweetness in a chemical-free and safer way.
3. Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is the sugar extracted from the coconut palm sap. It is less processed, rich in fibre, iron, zinc and potassium. It is also known to be rich in inulin, which is supposed to be good for gut-health and easy glucose absorption. You can easily replace your regular processed sugar with coconut sugar for a much nutritious sweetness.
4. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees. Native to Canada, maple syrup again is much nutritious than processed sugar. It hasn't been consumed in India traditionally, but with the changes in diets, people now do prefer this alternate with their morning cereals or pancakes and other baked goods or sweets as well.
Maple syrup provides manganese, zinc, calcium and potassium plus the required sweetness.
Dates are a naturally sweet fruit that can be used to add safer sweetness in foods. They are wonderful for gut, blood and skin. They can be used as an energetic ingredient in your foods, minus the harm of processed sweetness. You can use date syrup, date paste or simply just use chopped date while baking a cake.
Sweetness can easily be termed as the necessary evil. We know it's bad but cannot stop munching over our favourite desserts. Luckily, we can switch to the comparatively safer choice of natural sweeteners. But, do not forget that excess of everything can be bad. Regulate your sugar intake even if it is coming from a natural source. Although, it’s never too bad to occasionally indulge in the pool of naturally sweet foods.
OMKITCHEN uses natural sugar like honey, coconut sugar and Jaggery in all its sweets/deserts making it safer, healthier and tastier.