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High sugar intake has been linked to serious ailments and disease. When we refer to sugars we usually refer to a number of sweeteners. Some sweeteners are artificially processed with chemicals including white sugar and high fructose corn syrup. These are referred to as refined sugars. Other sweeteners are naturally extracted, with minimal or no chemicals, such as honey and maple syrup.
Serene Nature House recommends:
- Significant reduction in the intake of refined sugars (including zero-calorie sugars)
- Increased consumption of whole fruits, yoghurts and milk that contain natural sugars
- Substitution of refined sugars with small amounts of less processed sweeteners such as Honey, Stevia, Maple Syrup, Raw & Rapadura Sugar and Coconut Sugar
- The Science of Sugar
- Highly Processed Sugars to avoid
- Less Processed Sugars
- Recommended Intake of Sugar
The Science of Sugar
Sweeteners break down to two simple sugars in the body:
- Glucose is vital to life and is used by every cell in the body for energy
- Fructose can only be broken down by the liver
Recent Studies have linked increased fructose intake to:
- heart disease
- elevated blood pressure
- fatty liver disease
- insulin resistance which leads to obesity and type II diabetes
- leptin resistance
A bit of raw sugar in jams or chutneys or a bit of honey added to teas or toast in the morning is not the problem. The problem lies in the accumulation of added sugar in every other food item that should not contain added sugars. A fructose overload can so easily arise in the body when we are consuming large quantities of junk food such as packaged juices and soda drinks, processed chips and crackers, super sweet cereals, processed breads, dangerous confectionary, canned and take-away food.
Serene Nature House is proud to supply you with a range of essential products that are free from added sugars; including yoghurts, breads, milks, pasta sauces and energy bars.
Serene Nature House is only interested in evidenced-based nutrition claims. For this reason, we are very supportive of the work of Kris Gunnars, a young medical student, who shares our passion for objective science in nutrition. He has set up a helpful website called Authority Nutrition.
Serene Nature House recommends the significant reduction of the following sugars:
- Highly Processed Sugar Cane Products:
Refined white sugar is produced from sugar cane juice boiled at high temperatures. The boiling destroys the enzymes and many of the nutrients. It is then crystallised through evaporation and treated with chemicals such as preservatives and bleaching agents.
Molasses is what’s leftover from the sugar refining process. It’s everything that gets taken out when you refine sugar cane into white sugar. Non-organic molasses contains sulphur dioxide from the processing of sugar cane.
Brown sugar is simply refined white sugar with a bit of molasses added back into it.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (‘HFCS’):
HFCS is a highly processed, high calorie-providing sweetener, derived from corn, used to sweeten packaged foods and beverages, imported from the USA, such as Coca-Cola and other soda drinks.
HFCS is broken down to a free form of fructose in the body that is rapidly absorbed by the liver!
- Agave Syrup or Nectar:
Most Agave nectar is highly processed and it is derived from the Agave plants in Mexico.
While some agave nectar is less processed, it is a new product on our shelves that has been used traditionally to make alcoholic beverages, not everyday sweeteners!
Unfortunately, agave nectar is broken down to mostly fructose in the body.
- Fruit Juices & Concentrates:
When you remove the fibre from fruits, it becomes no more than concentrated sugars. In one bottle of freshly squeezed apple juice, you are eating up to five large apples, which is equivalent to 11.8 teaspoons of sugar! That is far too much sugar!
Packaged Fruit Juices, with extended shelf lives, are made by heating fruit juice to destroy bacteria. In the process, all enzymes and vitamins are destroyed. What is left is nothing more than concentrated refined sugars!
Bottled Fruit Juices, in the fridge aisle, have been laced with harmful preservatives such as potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate to eliminate the natural process of oxidation. The vitamins and nutrients in the juice are no longer active.
Serene Nature House does not supply packaged or bottled fruit juices. We recommend freshly squeezing our oranges (not apples) for immediate consumption. We also recommend that you use our Cold Tea Brewers to prepare delicious mixes of our Tea Tonics, dried fruits and fresh berries. We will be sharing Recipes soon!
- Artificial Sweeteners:
Artificial sweeteners like aspartame are simply dangerous. These toxic alternatives that deliver no or low calories have been linked to cancer, brain disorders, neurological problems and aches and pains. Artificial sweeteners must not be consumed and are found predominantly in diet sodas and chewing gums.
Popular brands in Australia include; Equal, Nutrasweet, Splenda and Sweet’N Low.
- Sugar Alcohols like Xylitol and Erythritol:
Sugar Alcohols are promoted as natural but are processed using a multi-step hydrogenation chemical reaction.
Sugar alcohols are not completely absorbed by the body and for this reason they can lead to adverse physical symptoms like abdominal gas and diarrhoea.
Some sugar alcohols like Xylitol have been linked to the prevention of tooth decay. Their use may be better suited for toothpastes than in larger quantities in packaged baking products.
Serene Nature House recommends eating whole fruits that are rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants and contain natural sugars!
We also recommend the consumption of unsweetened milks and yoghurts that contain proteins, vitamins and minerals and natural sugars!
In substitution of refined sugars, Serene Nature House recommends the following less processed sweeteners:
- Less Processed Sugar Cane Products:
Organic Demerara sugar, Turbinado & Raw Sugar, are organically grown without synthetic chemicals and are less refined than white sugar in that they don’t go through the final step of adding preservatives and bleaching agents. However, they are all boiled and dehydrated into crystals.
Rapadura Sugar is the pure juice extracted from the sugar cane (using a press), which is then evaporated over low heats then ground to produce a grainy sugar, retaining the molasses and nutrients. Serene Nature House is proud to provide you Organic Times Rapadura Sugar.
While honey does have high levels of fructose and glucose, its powerful antiseptic and antibacterial properties means it is the perfect sugar fix.
The key is to consume honey that is cold extracted. This means that the honey is not treated in any way including heating it, pasteurising it and adding additives to it and it is locally sourced.
Serene Nature House is proud to supply the amazing range of honey from Bee Sustainable.
- Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees. Maple Syrup is made through a natural process. While it contains lots of sugars, it also contains some useful minerals and anti-oxidants.
Serene Nature House is proud to supply Spiral Maple Syrup!
- Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is made form the sap of the coconut plant. It is produced through a natural process and contains minerals, polyphenols, inulin and anti-oxidants.
Serene Nature House is proud to supply Niulife Coconut Sugar!
Stevia is a plant, Stevia rebaudiana, native to Paraguay. The plant has been used as a sweetener for centuries by the Guaraní people of this region and has no calories.
The original stevia extract should present a grass-like green colour. Many food processors have created liquid extracts and bleached the powder to make it white.
Serene Nature House is proud to supply the original organic stevia leaf extract!
- Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup is a processed sweetener derived from brown rice that is broken down to mostly glucose in the body.
While excess fructose is converted to fatty acids, a glucose hit creates rapid spikes in the blood sugar levels leading to sudden hunger and cravings.
While we do not recommend the daily consumption of brown rice syrup, a small amount added to sweeten crackers and energy bars is acceptable.
- My heartfelt conclusion for adults, youngsters and in between:
Serene Nature House supports the following recommendations for daily intake of added sugars (not including fruits, yoghurts and milk):
Cut back to 6 teaspoons of added sugars per day
Cut back to 9 teaspoons of added sugars per day
Cut back to 4 teaspoons of added sugars per day
For Children aged 4-8:
Cut back to 3 teaspoons of added sugars per day
For Pre-teen and Teenage Girls:
Cut back to 5-6 teaspoons of added sugars per day
For Pre-teen and Teenage Boys:
Cut back to 5-8 teaspoons of added sugars per day
The Nutrition Facts Panel for most products tells you how many grams of added sugar are in each serving. Multiply the grams by 4 to get the calories from sugar and divide the grams by 4 to get teaspoons of sugar.