If you’re considering low calorie baking, it’s worth remembering xylitol

Just a reminder about xylitol, in case you didn’t know.

It’s a natural sweetener, taken from birch trees, found in fruits and even our own bodies. And it’s almost ½ the calories of sugar.

xylitol
40% less calories than sugar

New sweeteners are coming on to the market constantly, but xylitol has been around for some time and has nothing artificial about it – in fact it can be used in cooking in the same way as sugar and is suitable for diabetics.

As a brand of xylitol, Total Sweet is a sugar alternative, that looks, feels and tastes just like sugarand has a GI value of just 7.

For an example of the kind of recipes you can use xylitol with, jams, mirangues and pastries for example, check the Total Sweet website.

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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.
sukrin
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!

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…

Healthy pizza – is it possible?

Healthy pizza is finally here
Healthy pizza is finally here!

If you are living, breathing member of the human race…

You are also likely to love pizza.

But, if you are a conscientious type of person, you may also be concerned all that white flour dough, oil and cheese  which can’t be so good for you.

So Whole Creations have gone and made the whole thing healthy for you.

If you want a full, delicious tasting pizza here it is. It comes with a nutritious thin wholemeal base made from 100% wholegrain and lots of vegetables on top to count towards your five a day – at least 2 or 3 on every pizza.

It’s low GI (the best way of losing weight) and makes a good source of protein with just the right amount of cheese. Best of all, it’s vegetarian and the taste is unique.

Choose from Roasted Vegetable, Cherry Tomato and Mozzarella, Mixed Pepper and Goats Cheese or Spinach, Ricotta and Tomato.

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.

A new popular low GI sugar: Coconut Palm Sugar (aka Jaggery)

An ancient form of sugar is gaining new popularity partly because of its low GI status.

Coconut Palm Sugar (sometimes just called palm sugar) has a GI level of just 35. Such a low glycemic value means that it is beneficial to diabetics and people watching their weight alike. It is also low in fructose, even though it is taken from the sap of a coconut tree.

Coconut palm sugar: A healthier form of sugar
Coconut palm sugar: A healthier form of sugar

The taste is described as a mild butterscotch or caramel flavour. It can be used in the same proportion as sugar in cooking and it has a low melt temperature and a high burn temperature which makes it a useful ingredient. It doesn’t turn food brown when cooking either.

Biona’s Organic  Coconut Sugar offers a rich supply of mineral salts, B vitamins and amino acids but is completely natural, not filtered, processed or bleached. It is considered to have health benefits among some cultures and is known by many names including gula kelapa, jaggery or gur.