Sweet prediction for 2013

It seems we may all have been hoodwinked.

We all understood that eating healthily would give us better lives.

But somehow we fixated on eliminating fats from our diet when we really needed to be giving some attention to the effects of sugar.

According to the Lovestrong health site:

Both carbohydrates and fats, though often cited as unhealthy dietary components, are macronutrients that play a vital role in maintaining your overall health. Added sugar, on the other hand, doesn’t provide much of a benefit to the body.

What does all this mean for 2013?

I think we can expect more sugar alternatives to come onto the market, so watch this space…
One such alternative already appearing is Sukrin – a natural sweetener developed in Norway from erytritol, a sugar alcohol fermented the from glucose found in pears, melons and mushrooms.
Most importantly: Sukrin has zero calroies and zero GI (ie. it doesn’t affect blood sugar – important for diabetics and dieters). And it can be used in baking too.
A delightful sugar alternative from Norway

Sukrin is in fact only 75% as sweet as sugar, it has not artificial sacharin taste and is totally safe for sonsumption. But what I really like about this product is the diversity of products available from Sukrin…

In addition to normal white Sukrin crystals, you can also get Sukrin + which is mixed with Stevia to give  a taste twice as sweet as sugar! (In other words you only have to use half as much.)
Also there is an icing sugar version called Sukrin Melis – very useful indeed… But,  my personal favourite is Sukrin Gold, wich is composed of several natural sweeteners to make a brown caramel flavoured sugar at less than 1 calorie per teaspoon. Perfect for coffee!

How would you define a Braw bar? Do you know what braw means?

My first thought when I picked up a Braw bar was, ‘What is it?’

Further inspection revealed it as a new fangled wholefood bar made with fruits and gluten free oats.

Braw Raw Food Bar

But why ‘Braw’?

Because the name Braw reflects the bar’s great originality, being an unusual word itself?

Or perhaps because it’s an all natural Raw snack bar Bursting with fruit and oats?

Or maybe, because the Braw bars are low GI, high in fibre and one of your five-a-day, they’re just the type of thing your need to keep you looking young and braw-ny?

Well, it turns out Braw bars are made in Scotland and braw is a Scots word for ‘very good’. It gets used to mean healthy, good looking and excellent, and the guys behind the Braw bars are a health conscious company with a mission to help people eat guilt free any time, anywhere.

So when you eat good, you look good and feel excellent. Hence ‘braw’.

Instead of eating sugar filled, processed treats, here’s something made with 100% natural ingredients, with slow-release energy and all the healthy enzymes of unheated food.

Enjoy them in strawberry flavour or blackcurrant, cocoa orange or apple and pear.

You won’t believe how good St Dalfour’s dessert sauces are

I don’t how to say this, but I think St Dalfour have totally hit my sweet spot.

St Dalfour deserve to be well known for the excellence they pour into all of the foods they make, taking the best in natural ingredients and making something special.

St Dalfour Strawberry Sauce
An amazing sauce made of real strawberries

This time they’ve conjured up some amazing organic dessert sauces. Because all those ingredients are the best, when they say Strawberry Sauce they mean it’s full of real strawberries (at least 50%) and the rest is simply grape juice – that’s it!

St Dalfour rightfully call these Gourmet Sauces. And the best news is there is an incredible tasting Chocolate Sauce and a tantalising Blueberry Sauce too. All the sauces are Low GI, there’s virtually no fat in there at all, meaning they’re good for the waist line and all are also gluten free.

You have got to taste these, they truly deserve an award.

Fancy some chocolate without the guilt?

 I couldn’t help it. I can resist everything except temptation.

Lord Darlington in Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windemere’s Fan

We all want chocolate now and again, and those who don’t like it normally don’t have to deal with the herculean task of resisting it.

Choxy luxury xylitol chocolate
Choxy luxury Xylitol chocolate

But if you’re diabetic or on a diet, that is the temptation which faces you.

Thankfully there’s Choxy Luxury Chocolate from Xylitol.

Xylitol is a Birch tree sugar just as good as regular sugar. It is a natural sweetener with many health benefits. It has a low GI, has 40% less calories than sugar and can be used by diabetics.

Fancy some coffee or mint chocolate, dark or orange? You don’t need to be tempted…

Is a calorie just a calorie? Info for dieters

Here’s some interesting news on the effect of different diets…

3 different diets were arranged which gave paticipants the same calorie intake but had varied results. The first was a low fat diet, the second a low carb diet and the third was a low glycaemic index diet.

(Glycaemic Index (GI)  could basically be described as how much sugar a food has in it, but more accurately refers to how slowly it releases energy into your body.)

The low fat diet was found to increase the chance of the dieters developing diabetes or heart disease. Similarly, the low carb diet was found to increase the chance of diabetes. The low GI diet didnt produce such side effects.

Additionally, both the low carb and low GI diets increased metabolism, but people burnt less calories with the low fat diet. The results can be read in the Journal of the American Medical Asoociation.

So, what are low GI foods? Well the simple answer is go for the unprocessed brown foods and avoid the white stuff. But the figures might surprise you eg. crisps have a lower GI than baked potatoes! But we shouldn’t swap baked spuds for crisps because of their high fat content. What you are really looking for is a low Glycaemic Load (GL) – that’s the real number that tells you how the food will affect you. It’s best to get some advice from an individual who has studied the subject, but here is a list of high, medium and low GI foods.

Lizi's low GL granola
Lizi’s low GL granola

Granola is reputedly a low GL food, because it is made of slow energy releasing oats. However, you do need to be careful of what granola you buy as they often add oils and sugars to get the taste right.

One granola that aims to keep a low GL is Lizi’s granola, whose Mango & Macademia granola has a really low GL of 6g while her Passionfruit & Pistacho granola scores 7g. Such GI levels should fill you up and keep you going till lunchtime.

Introducing Lucy’s Oatmeal Cookies

Every so often you hear stories of mums who have set up businesses inspired by their love for their children.

Lucy’s Cookies are the latest star in this field. Dr. Lucy Gibney discovered her child had severe food allergies and began creating recipes they would enjoy. With the benefit of her medical knowledge she developed a delicious alternative cookie that can be enjoyed by almost anyone, with or without intolerances or allergies.

The cookies taste so good you wouldn’t believe they were made for a special diet. They are free from a number of allergens, including nuts, dairy, eggs, wheat, and gluten – that makes them perfect for vegans and kosher diets too.

Lucy's Gluten Free Cookies taste really good
Lucy’s Gluten Free Cookies taste really good

Available in a range of flavours the cookies are just what you’d expect from an American biscuit: crunchy, sweet, full of flavour and, thankfully, fairly light in the calorie department too.

You can choose from chocolate, chocolate chip, oatmeal, gingersnap, maple bliss, cinnamon and sugar cookies.

So what are they made of? The ingredients are a blend of gluten-free oats, garbanzo, potato starch, tapioca, sorghum and fava flours; plus other allergy friendly ingredients like soya milk.

It’s such a relief to find biscuits which not only taste as good as mainstream treats, but better.

You can find lots more gluten free foods at GoodnessDirect – just click on the link.

Are You Addicted To Sugar?

This article is written by nutritionist, Christine Bailey from Advance Nutrition Consultancy.

With Easter upon us you may be feeling a little overwhelmed by the mounds of chocolate, Easter eggs, sugary candy in our shops. But you don’t have to eat sweets and chocolate to still be addicted to sugar.  Sugar is everywhere in our foods – drinks, cereals, breads, pastries, yogurts, sauces, desserts – in fact most processed foods.

You don’t have to consume white sugar lumps to be addicted to sugar.  Refined carbohydrates such as breads, cereals, rice, potatoes, pasta, pastry goods, crackers etc all have a similar effect on our glucose levels and can result in unstable blood sugar, energy dips and cravings. Importantly it will also cause you to put on weight.

There is a vast amount of research indicating that sugar in the diet is detrimental to health.  Excess sugar consumption has been associated with conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, obesity and premature aging; and restricting sugar intake is recognised as crucial in preventing the development of such chronic diseases.

It is easy to become confused by the various sugars and sweeteners available. Not all sugars are created equal and just because something is termed ‘natural’ does not mean it is necessarily beneficial to our health.  Even healthier sugars and sweeteners should be limited and used sparingly.

One of the worst offenders is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which is 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose and is now present in many processed foods and drinks.

HFCS is absorbed so quickly that in high amounts the liver can become overwhelmed, leading to elevated blood levels of triglycerides, very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) – a risk factor for heart disease.

But don’t resort to artificial sweeteners – these such as  sucralose (Splenda), aspartame and saccharin, have been linked to a variety of health conditions, despite being low in calories.  They may even stimulate sugar cravings leading you to put on more weight.

The best approach is to focus on whole unprocessed foods including plenty of protein rich foods, nuts, seeds, vegetables and some fruit.  But if you are looking for a healthier sugar my favourites are xylitol, Sweet Freedom and pure stevia as well as using dried fruit and fresh fruit in recipes to provide sweetness.