Refined sugars, including not only white and brown, but also even raw organic sugars, go through a process which isolates and extracts the sugar component from a whole food, creating an imbalance. This can cause our blood sugar levels to fluctuate, which can lead to many potential harmful side effects.
Regularly choosing a variety of whole and minimally-processed foods daily assures we receive the necessary nutrients to help our bodies maintain balance. Whole foods containing complex natural sugars (fruits and vegetables) are properly balanced so that our bodies are able to break down and utilize all of the components properly.
Products made with grain flours can also cause fluctuations in our blood sugar levels because they act like simple sugars in our body. It’s best to limit or eliminate products containing grain flours as well.
Avoid all artificial sweeteners; the more natural something is, the better the body is able to metabolize and utilize the components.
Raw honey (especially locally produced) is the best alternative, followed by maple syrup, which is minimally processed. To substitute, typically use about half of the sugar amount. So if the recipe calls for one cup of sugar, use half cup maple syrup or honey.
One or two of the dry ingredients may need to be increased, or one or two of the other wet ingredients may need to be reduced to compensate. Depending on the recipe, sometimes Medjool dates, mashed banana or apple sauce can be used in place of sugar, sometimes even beets or sweet potatoes can be used.
Rebecca Mullins is North Bay-based registered holistic nutritionist.
Click on the links below for gluten-free recipes.