So we left off with: sugar is destroying our nations health but people love the taste of sweetings thing, and really we sometimes need a little kick of energy. However, artificial sugar replacements can be equally dangerous to your mind and body. Aspartame and Saccharin are two of the most well known low calorie, artificial sweeteners available and both have been endlessly linked to a variety of health complications, from cancer to behavioral changes. None of this has been proven conclusively or forcefully enough to have either removed from sale, however regardless of questions of safety, artificial sweeteners provide absolutely no nutritional value. In all ways but calorically, sugar is still preferable over artificial sweeteners. The body recognizes sugar through a long period of evolution and at least knows how to deal with it by modifying insulin outputs, the same cannot be said of how our insides cope with artificial sweeteners.
The intention of this post is not be depressing though, I love sweet things and the good news is that there are some healthy ways to satisfy those cravings! In short: naturally occurring fruit based sugars, and honey. First bear with my through some of the scientific support for this suggestion and then i'll share some of my favorite healthy but satisfyingly sweet recipes!
Honey has been identified as a positive replacement for refined sugars in our diet, as a naturally occurring source of antioxidants. It also contains a variety of vitamins and minerals and combines some simple sugars with more complex varieties. This leads honey to have a far lower glycemic index than sugar, meaning that it provides the body with a more stable and long lasting type of fuel. On a variety of tests, aging rats fed honey showed far decreased symptoms of anxiety than sugar or sugar-free fed rats, demonstrating that honey could not only be preferable to sugar but also better than no sweetening whatsoever. Rats on the honey diet also performed best on tests of spatial memory, with those on sugar diets performing the worst. It has been suggested that one of the reasons for this could be that the antioxidant properties of honey are at odds with the oxidative stress response that occurs with the consumption of refined sugars.
Fruit is often dismissed as being full of sugar and therefore unhealthy but it is also packed with vitamins, minerals, water, fiber and other nutrients. The same studies demonstrating the benefits of honey also suggest that only added fructose, not natural fructose, are associated with lower scores on memory tests and anxiety. Instead they argued that natural fructose, found in fruits and vegetables, contributes nutrients that protect against cognitive decline rather than exacerbating it. It has been argued that the organic compounds found in many fruits may be the key to staving off cognitive aging in the elderly. These are essentially pigments and appear in either red, purple or blue, therefore the fruits of these colors such as berries, are postulated to provide the greatest benefits. Supporting this, studies show that elderly rats fed blueberries on a daily basis showed memory improvements, as did those consuming strawberries.
Other naturally found sweeteners to consider include agave nectar, date syrup or sugar and maple syrup, although no research on their effects on cognitive function currently exists.
Fudge Brownie Bites
You will need: dates, almonds, walnuts, cocoa, vanilla extract, water
For all the jam lovers out there, a version requiring only blackberries, honey, apples and lemon juice.
No Bake Peanut Butter Bars
You need will need: peanuts, flour, honey, coconut oil, peanut butter and coconut milk
A sweet treat for the morning bursting with natural sweetness!
12 Strawberry Recipes to Satisfy your Sweet Tooth
Mmm the lemonade and chocolate covered strawberries are my favorite.
Five Frozen Popsicle Recipes
Since it's still boiling hot outside, plenty of time to try out all of these yummy popsicle recipes!