On the occasion of the Cancer Research UK on the detoxification from sugar in the month of February, I created a related Facebook group Sugar-free Challenge, Αποτοξίνωση από την ζάχαρη for us to join in the effort! Also, whoever to make a donation can enter my page here —> Donation.The money goes automatically to the organization.
The reality about Sugar and the Sweeteners
Is sugar a dangerous drug that must be controlled and regulated by the government? Paul van der Velpen, the head of the Health Service in Amsterdam, the capital city of the Dutch state where the sale of cannabis is legal, wants to see sugar under state control and regulation. Just like alcohol and tobacco, sugar is actually a drug. As a result, sugar consumption is, in fact, an addiction pattern. It is equally difficult to get rid of the urge to sweeten, as with smoking. So diets work only temporarily. In addition, it is very harmful to health as it causes disorders in cell function, increases the level of platelets and causes hyperactivity syndrome and lack of attention to children. In addition is responsible for the obesity. (Source Ιatropedia).
To find more in how sugar affects our body please read this article —> How does much sugar affect your body.
The story behind the sugar
Sugar cane, which originated in Southeast Asia, was cultivated 10,000 years ago. Later it found her way west to India, where she has a long history of processing and consumption in the form of confectionery and semi-refined sugar we find today. The Arab merchants took sugar cane to the west, where it became the dominant sweetener in many Muslim sweets. Sugar was not known in Europe until the medieval age and was considered a medicine and spice because of its rare availability. In 1493, Columbus brought sugar cane to the Caribbean. From this point, it began to be misinterpreted globally.
Caribbean islands and coastal areas of Brazil had a big variety of Mills. Since the sugar cane and sugar processing work has been so hard and intense for work, Europeans took over the local work. A majority of Europeans lost their lives and slaves from West Africa replaced them. This was the beginning of the triangle of trade around the Atlantic Ocean – work was acquired in Africa, cultivation and basic processing took place in America, final processing and consumption in Europe. This business cycle continued until the 19th century.
The historical link between sugar and slavery – and chocolate is also continuing – shockingly until today. There are reports of cane and cocoa workers, especially children, who work for hours or for no pay, live in terrible conditions and are physically and emotionally abused. This is in stark contrast to the pleasures we enjoy every day. (Source Rouxbe )
The role of Sugar
In addition to providing the obvious taste and sweetening function, sugar plays other vital roles in the pastry kitchen. It affects the texture and color of baked goods. When cooked products are exposed to heat, brown sugar develops so deep taste and color. Without sugar, cooked products would taste gentle, their texture would be dense and dry and their color would be very soft.
“The Glycemic Index (GI) of foods is a number (on a scale of 0-100) that classifies different foods according to how fast they raise blood glucose. Sweeteners of the low glycemic index are good not only for health but can also reduce body weight. (Source: Healthy Living).
In general, sweeteners fall into four categories:
It is dark brown in color but varies in shapes. Its texture is coarse and has a strong molasses taste. Sweet medium level. The best-known brands are Sucanat and Rapunzel in North America, North America and Rapadzura Rapunzel in the UK and Europe. Glycemic index: 40-50
Brown sugar comes from the unbleached sugar cane molasses and when the sugar is not faded with animal bone. This gives the pale blonde to the darker blonde color. It has a thin or very fine crystal size. It is closest to the taste of white sugar and has a high level of sweetness. Many times they add colors to white sugar and sell it as brown. You better chose organic as often you can. Glycemic index: 60-65
Fructose or fruit sugar comes from sugar, raisins, and starch after processing. It is a simple ketone monosaccharide that is linked to glucose to form the disaccharide, sucrose. It is the worst of the sweeteners as it is responsible for many diseases and it’s better to avoid it. Glycemic index: 100
Today xylitol is mainly derived from Genetically Modified Organisms and it causes problems in the intestines. Glycemic index: 20-30
Stevia comes from the stevia leaf and is 30 times sweeter than sugar. Many consider this the most concentrated sweetener by volume. It has a slightly green or white powder, depending on the treatment. It has a special flavor that some people find unpleasant. Glycemic Index: 0
A less common sweetener that grows in popularity, coconut sugar comes from citrus juice from coconut palm sugar. It is usually harvested on small farms. Coconut sugar is a light brown color with a coarse-grained consistency and is good for melting it in the blender before using it in desserts. It tastes similar to light brown sugar with spices and has a medium level of sweetness. Glycemic index: 35
Liquids and Syrups
It comes from Genetically Modified Organisms and is the worst of nutritional value. If you notice many products contain this syrup because it is a very economical ingredient. Glycemic index: 60-80
Agave comes from the same juicy plant from which we get tequila. Oh yes!! It is a sweet, viscous but delicate syrup. It has a light color, which can be darker. The darkest, the rawest, the better. The light agave is mild in flavor, while the dark has a stronger flavor. Its sweetness level is high. Glycemic Index: 11-19
This very popular sweetener is made by boiling grape maple juice in a syrup and is available in a number of grades. It takes about 150 kilos of maple to make 3.5 kilos of syrup. Blonde to dark brown color, it has a delicate and sticky consistency and a sweet, light and distinct taste. It has a medium level of sweetness. Glycemic index: 54
A by-product of the refining of sugar cane, sugar beet, and grape. It has a very dark brown color with thick and sticky texture. It has a characteristic strong flavor with some bitterness and a low level of sweetness. Glycemic Index: 55
Sugar-derived starch from brown rice starch is a traditional Asian sweetener and is a popular sweetener in the macrobiotic diet. It has a golden flavor with a very dense and sticky texture. It has a taste similar to caramel and a mild sweetness level. Glycemic index: 25
It comes from the Indian coconut fruit. Medium brown in color, but you can find it even lighter or darker. Thicker than maple syrup or agave, it has a characteristic flavor that some find pleasing, but the taste varies depending on the brand. The sweetness level is low. Glycemic index: 35
We understand that using or not honey is a controversial question inside and outside the Vegan community. Vegans do not eat animal products and by definition, honey is an animal by-product. Here, it focuses on the exploitation of bees in the production of honey. The process of extracting honey from hives is a violent activity in bees. In fact, they die in the mass production of honey. The largest beekeeping companies are involved in what some would call harsh cultivation practices – bee smoking, honeybee shake etc.
From personal experience, as my father is Bee-keeper, I can confirm all of the above.
Honey also includes sugar in its ingredients in addition to amino acids and antimicrobials. In order bees to survive during winter, owners feed them sugar. Even those who claim that their honey is homemade and organic, the feed their bees sugar. Glycemic index: 50
Juices & Concentrates:
Fresh fruit juices, carrot juice, coconut water, fruit syrups. Fruit juices and fruit do not raise sugar level as many believe and are considered excellent for detoxification.
Whole Food Sweeteners:
Berries, raisins, apricots, figs, pineapples, mangoes and more are great ways to add natural sweetness to a dish. Do not forget the dates! My first contact with Dates was during my work in Qatar. There you can find that a variety of dates be at very cheap prices (4-5 euros/kilo). Please make sure that dates are sugar-free. They are moderate in sweetness and have many nutrients.
Fruit pastes are from dried fruits in water, often flavored with seasonings or citrus, then mixed into a paste. Usually made from dried apricots, dill, figs, mango or raisins, fruit pastes are essential ingredients for a herbal diet.
The ideal for detoxification and for better results would be to consume only natural fruits. But in the beginning, it’s quite difficult…You can consume stevia, agave, molasses and maple syrup (max 1 teaspoon/day).
Whoever wants to join the sugar – free February, join the Sugar-free Challenge group, with lots of tips, recipes, instructions etc. You can start any day you want, we already started dynamically on February 1st.
We can be free from Sugar Addiction!