An Accredited Member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society, Julie Graduated with distinctions from S.A. College of Botanic Medicine and Natural Therapies Pty Ltd. Professional Qualifications include: Naturopathic Doctor, Herbal & Homoeopathic Practitioner: Diet and Nutritional Medicine: Remedial & Therapeutic... more
Do you sometimes struggle wanting to avoid sugar, yet feeling like something sweet? Want to avoid fats, gluten, and dairy?
Well here is a great recipe for you that includes the spices sumac and cinnamon to help balance sugar levels, and turmeric, your wonder anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory spice.
Honey and bananas add all the sweetness you need, olive oil adds healthy, good fats, and eggs add protein.
Did you also know that honey is a natural antibiotic and bananas contain potassium, B6 and B9, provide fiber and help in lowering blood pressure?
Here we have "Your Healthy Banana Cake"
- 3 large, very ripe bananas, mashed
- 2 eggs, beat these separately in a bowl
- 2 tablespoons of organic honey
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of almond flour
- 1/2 cup of quinoa flour
- 1/2 cup of coconut flour
- 2 teaspoons sumac
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Add the flour and spices into a bowl, mix together
- Then add beaten eggs, honey, olive oil, and mashed bananas. Mix together well. The consistency should be fine without any further liquid, however if yours is a little dry you can add some filtered water.
- Pour into a greased cake tin and cook in a moderate oven 350 degrees for 35 - 45 mins. Check with warmed skewer; if skewer comes out clean then your cake is cooked.
- Serve with a couple of spoons of organic vanilla yogurt, sprinkled with some cinnamon.
So what are the harmful effects of sugar?
But now there’s mounting evidence that high levels of sugar consumption can also have a negative effect on brain health — from cognitive function to psychological wellbeing.
While sugar is nothing to be too concerned about in small quantities, the majority of us are simply eating too much of it.
In this article I would like to help you to make sugar a minimal part of your day while bringing about an awareness of the dangers and health concerns that will come about if you don’t take charge of your sugar intake.
Of the many foods that we consume today, refined sugar is considered to be one of the most harmful. On its own, a little sugar is not bad for you – but you do need to consider how on average, Australians consume 53kg of sugar each year, which equates to be extremely harmful.
So do we need to totally eliminate sugar from our diets?
Well it definitely would not do us any harm to eliminate sugar from our diets.
But it may be difficult, especially when planning our everyday eating to consider members of the family and their individual tastes.
Sugar is under a variety of names such as glucose, fructose, honey, and corn syrup — It is found in 74 percent of packaged foods in our supermarkets.
The World Health Organization recommends that only 5 percent of daily caloric intake comes from sugar; the typical Australian diet is comprised of 13 percent+ daily calories coming from sugar.
Is there a safe quantity?
The safe quantity of refined sugar that we can consume per day without causing problems is 4 teaspoons. So just by eliminating processed foods this is a very major step in the right direction to reducing your refined sugar intake.
The dangerous sugar overload has come about from the increased consumption of processed foods (which are laced with sugar) this has led to an increase in dental bills each year, so the dental industry reaps huge profits from the programmed addiction of the public to sugar products, along with increased diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diminished brain function.
Of course sugar is not the only culprit, but because it has no nutritional value due to the refining process it depletes the body of essential vitamins and minerals it has been considered the most harmful. So today we have a nation that is addicted to sugar. In 1915, the national average of sugar consumption (per year) was around 30 to 40 kilos per person. Today the average person consumes his/her weight in sugar, plus over 40 kilos of other forms sugar in the way of syrups.
To add further dilemma to these facts, there are some people that use no sweets and some who use much less than the average figure, which means that there is a percentage of the population that consume a great deal more refined sugar than their body weight. The human body cannot tolerate this large amount of refined carbohydrates. The vital organs in the body are actually damaged by this gross intake of sugar.
I have always believed that, to make changes, it is important to understand why we are making these changes. So now we will ask, what is the problem with these refined sugars and why are they so harmful to our bodies?
Refined sugar contains no fiber, no minerals, no proteins, no fats, no enzymes, only empty calories as mentioned. So what happens when you eat a refined carbohydrate like sugar?
Your body must borrow vital nutrients from healthy cells to metabolize the incomplete food. Calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium are taken from various parts of the body to make use of the sugar, hence the beginnings of vitamin deficiencies. You might question, can you replace this with vitamin supplements?
The answer is NO, as these supplements will be robbed immediately, not even having a chance to become metabolized. For nutritional supplements to be effective they must be plant or vegetable based and in addition where necessary to a healthy eating regime.
Effects of sugar on your body
The effects of sugar on our calcium and how it depletes your calcium stores is that calcium is used to neutralize the effects of sugar. The bones become osteoporotic due to withdrawn calcium. Likewise, the teeth are affected and they lose their components until decay occurs and hastens their loss. As we have said, because refined sugar is void of all nutrients, it is responsible for the depletion of the body’s own ability to store and maintain adequate stores of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes needed for the body to function properly.
Direct effects on body and how over consumption of sugar brings about these health problems
If you continue to consume copious amounts of sugar, this will result in an over-acid condition whereby more minerals will be taken from deep tissue and vital organs in the body to correct the imbalance.
As the body becomes deficient in nutrients that it has used to metabolize sugar, this will lead to further problems with it not being able to detox from poisonous residues. These wastes accumulate through the brain and nervous system, which speeds up cellular death. The bloodstream becomes overloaded with waste products and symptoms of carbonic poisoning result. Sugar causes a thickening and stickiness of the blood, therefore inhibiting the blood flow into the capillaries, limiting the supply of vital nutrients to our gums and teeth, leading to gum disease and teeth becoming weak.
Diabetes is a disease that we commonly associate with over consumption of sugar as well as a high fat diet. Diabetes is caused by the failure of the pancreas to produce adequate insulin when the blood sugar rises. A concentrated amount of sugar introduced into the system sends the body into shock from the rapid rise in the blood sugar level. The pancreas eventually wears out from overwork and hence we have type 2 or otherwise known as mature onset diabetes.
Hypoglycemia occurs when the pancreas overreacts to the large amount of sugar in the blood and releases too much insulin leaving one with the “tired” feeling as the blood sugar level becomes lower than it should be.
A recent article in the British Medical Journal, entitled The Sweet Road to Gallstones, reported that refined sugar may be one of the major dietary risk factors in gallstone disease. Gallstones are composed of fats and calcium. Sugar can upset all of the minerals, and one of the minerals, calcium, can become toxic or non-functioning, depositing itself anywhere in the body, including the gallbladder.
A very large percentage of our population have gallstones and for many it has resulted in surgery in removal of the gallbladder. The symptoms include incredible pain, bloating, belching, and intolerance to certain foods, especially fatty, deep fried foods as well as highly sweet sugary foods
How sugar affects your brain
The affect that sugar has on your brain is serious problem that is becoming more prevalent, bringing about mental health problems on various levels. Your brain is very sensitive and react to quick chemical changes within the body. As sugar is consumed, our cells are depleted of their B vitamin, which destroys them, and insulin production is inhibited. Low insulin production means a high sugar (glucose) level in the bloodstream, which can lead to a confused mental state or unsound mind, and has also been linked with juvenile criminal behavior. Dr. Alexander G. Schauss brings this solemn fact out in his book, Diet, Crime and Delinquency.
The direct effect of sugar on neurological processes
One of the keys to orderly brain function is glutamic acid, and this compound is found in many vegetables. When sugar is consumed, the bacteria in the intestines, which manufacture B vitamin complexes, begin to die. These bacteria normally thrive in a symbiotic relationship with the human body. When the B vitamin complex level declines, the glutamic acid (normally transformed into “go” “no-go” directive neural enzymes by the B vitamins) is not processed and sleepiness occurs, as well as a decreased ability for short-term memory function and numerical calculative abilities. The removal of B vitamins when foods are “processed” makes the situation even more tenuous are “sugarholics” and erratic emotional outbreaks often follow a sugar binge
Refined sugar vs. drugs
Let’s bear in mind, for most of us we understand the negative and additive effects of illegal drug use, prescribed medication, coffee and certain foods. So we would agree that sugar would be classed as a drug: It has negative and harmful effects on the body, both depleting it of nutrients for proper functioning, thus incurring damage to organs along the way. I believe it is safe to say that this is a highly dangerous and lethal drug.
Putting sugar into perspective
So now I have given some of the scary facts about the over consumption of refined sugar, so now what are you going to do, ignore, thinking "this won’t happen to me", or "gee I think this is an over exaggeration!"
Before you close your mind to making any changes or eliminating all the evidence that for all intent and purpose may just well be another health professional spinning you some kind of argument, I want you to firstly people watch and tell me how many people you see that are not overweight, who are eating burgers, chips, coke, iced coffee, pies, pasties, cream buns and the list can just keep going. All your frozen meals, packet or tinned meals, then of course there are the sauces we find so readily available to go with our favorite meats and vegetables. Then you tell me how active they are; are they dependent on the medical system now or maybe sometime in the future? How vibrant and healthy do you think they are?
So if you are still having any doubts as to the detriments of sugar (sucrose), try leaving it out of your diet for several weeks and see if it makes a difference! You may also notice you have acquired an addiction and experience some withdrawal symptoms. Studies show that “sugar” is just as habit-forming as any narcotic, and its use, misuse, and abuse is our nation’s number one disaster. It is no wonder when we consider all the products we consume daily which are loaded with sugar! The average healthy digestive system can digest and eliminate from two to four teaspoons of sugar daily, usually without noticeable problems, (that is if damage is not already present). 250ml Soft drink, Iced Coffee or Iced Chocolate or Cola contains 16-20 teaspoons of sugar, and that’s aside from the caffeine. It’s the sugar that gives you quick energy, but only for a brief time due to the rise of the blood sugar level. But the body quickly releases a rush of insulin, which rapidly lowers the blood sugar and causes a significant drop in energy and endurance. It is easy to see why our health is in serious trouble if we continue to consume food and drinks in this way.
So it is far more than eliminating that teaspoon of sugar from your tea or coffee. I would prefer you to stay having your teaspoon of sugar in your tea or coffee and eliminating all pastries, cakes, packet foods and soda or milk drinks. Have a diet of 80% fresh food that is cooked and prepared by you.