Sugar and Other Sweeteners

This being the month of Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras, both coming up very soon, I thought I would deal with the issue of sugar and other sweeteners from which you can choose. Let me be the first to say that I am a sugar addict. Sugar is my drug of choice. I believe sugar, in all of it’s many forms, should be a controlled substance. Knowing this about myself, and being a responsible adult who knows better than to malnourish myself by living off of cookies, cake, ice cream and candy, I have tried to break my sugar addiction or decrease my sugar intake in various ways over the years.

A couple of years ago, I was talking to my father and step-mother about sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. I remember my step-mother saying to me, “They have come out and said that it sugar is sugar. It doesn’t matter if it’s sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.” Well, I didn’t believe it, but I hadn’t done my research to dispute that claim at the time. I have done my research now, and have found that sugar is not sugar if it is high-fructose corn syrup. The body processes the two very differently. With sugar, your pancreas releases insulin to process it. The more sugar you eat, the more insulin your pancreas has to produce. When you eat too much sugar, you may become insulin resistant or diabetic. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) doesn’t just get the pancreas and insulin involved. The fructose is processed through the liver. Over time, this can cause fatty liver. If you would like to read a more scientific explanation of this, please read the article here: http://drhyman.com/blog/2011/05/13/5-reasons-high-fructose-corn-syrup-will-kill-you/#close When it comes to the sugar is sugar argument, I do agree that cane sugar, coconut sugar, palm sugar, honey, molasses, and other such sweeteners are all processed alike in the body.

What about those artificial sweeteners? Back in the days before I knew any better, I can’t tell you how much Splenda I used. I used to buy it by the giant bagfuls at Sam’s. I thought it was better that I was putting two tablespoons of Splenda into a cup of coffee than two tablespoons of sugar. Let me ask you something. Have you noticed that the people who drink only diet sodas are not the skinniest people you know? Do you know why that is? Artificial sweeteners play a nasty trick on the body. The tongue tastes something sweet. The brain triggers the body to get ready for it, and then there is no real sugar. This starts a vicious cycle of craving. Your body wants that sugar that it was tricked out of and starts demanding it. If you would like to read a more scientific explanation of this, please go here: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/04/saccharin-aspartame-dangers.aspx

First, let me say that I buy organic cane sugar, organic molasses and organic honey. Being a native of Florida, I can remember hearing about how the cane sugar industry was destroying the Florida Everglades from the chemical runoff. I’m making a guess that organic sugar would be a better choice ecologically speaking. Molasses comes from sugar production, so ditto on that. Not to mention, I don’t want to eat toxic pesticides. Have you heard about the plight of the honeybee? If you haven’t, please go here: http://www.vanishingbees.com/ When you know about what is going on with honeybees, organic honey makes sense.

As I said at the beginning, Mardi Gras is coming up, in 10 days actually. I have wanted to make a King Cake for years, but haven’t. Since I have been on a bread-making spree lately, this is going to be the year! I need to research some recipes to decide how I am going to do it, but do it, I will! I went out yesterday and bought the purple, yellow and green colored sugars for it. No, the colored sugars aren’t organic. I don’t know where to find organic colored sugars. And the amount used is trivial. So what I am saying here, is that I am hoping to have a recipe for you next week so that you can make your own King Cake for Mardi Gras or any other time you feel like making it.

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