More and more you read about the perils of eating too much white sugar. And if you read the ingredients on food items at the grocery store, you’ll be amazed at the number of grams of sugar in most things you eat. I don’t know about you, but white sugar has been a staple in my diet for most of my life. And I will be the first to admit that I was never a nutritional expert. But the more I learn about cooking, the more I’ve become aware of things that were never part of my consciousness before. So, why all of a sudden, is white sugar so bad for you (or at least it seems all of a sudden)? This got me thinking and so I did a little research. Is white sugar really bad? I looked at various articles and over and over saw the same message as the one below:
“Most foods containing sugar, especially refined white sugar, have very little nutritional value and are often referred to as “empty” calories. Beyond this, insulin is also secreted in proportion to the amount of sugar consumed. Since insulin is the hormone that instructs the body to store energy as fat, it’s a nemesis if it becomes too high. Repeatedly eating sugar throughout the day eventually leads to chronically high insulin and ultimately to insulin resistance.”
And that is why so many Americans develop Type II Diabetes as they get older. White sugar is probably not the only cause, but after pounding it for years and years I’m certain it makes a substantial contribution. And yet white sugar, or granulated sugar as it is widely known, has its purpose. Apart from being used as a sweetening agent, white sugar has other essential functions:
- It delays the coagulation of the proteins in eggs
- Promotes aeration and colour in baked products
- Lowers the freezing point in ice cream preparation
- Increases the shelf life of cakes
Plus, let’s face it, sugar just makes things taste so darn good. What would sugar cookies be without white sugar? What would chocolate cake be without white sugar? What would ice-cream be without white sugar? Sounds like a no-win situation here. But maybe, not.
Now I am not a proponent of getting rid of white sugar altogether. It would be interesting to see what my Christmas cookie baking tradition would be without it. And there’s nothing that tops having something sweet with your morning coffee. But I’ve learned over time that moderation in all things is the best way to maximize good health. So, with that in mind, how do you manage to be more moderate with your intake of white sugar and still feel like you’re eating something enjoyable? Are there sensible ways of diminishing the amount of white sugar you eat so that you don’t become insulin resistant?
I went on a mission and forayed onto Pinterest in search of a recipe for something that I usually make that can be made with no white sugar and still be as good as if it were. I stumbled on a recipe for banana bread that uses sugar free applesauce and honey instead of white sugar. Ah yes, banana bread, so good with a cup of coffee in the morning. I decided to begin my journey into baking without white sugar by making banana bread.
To my surprise it actually turned out quite good. Here in high altitude most food cooked in the oven takes longer than what is prescribed in the recipe. But for some reason baking is different. I alway have to be careful when I’m baking and baking times seem to vary from recipe to recipe. What I usually do now is to start looking at a baked items, specifically cakes and breads, about 5-10 minutes before the time written in the recipe. Cookies generally take the allotted time although sometimes that changes too. Needless to say, cooking or baking at high altitude is always an adventure and usually requires two to three tries before a new recipe is perfected. The recipe below is as was printed online. I baked my bread for only 55 minutes and it came out ok, but I think even baking it for 50 minutes would work and make the bread a little moister. That being said, the taste was great. I learned a lesson today. You can make things that taste good without the demon white sugar. Enjoy the recipe! (from 8 weeks to a better you recipes)
Healthy Banana Bread
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 sugar free apple sauce
- 3/4 cup honey
- 2 eggs beaten
- 3 mashed overripe bananas
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together applesauce and honey. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
- Bake in preheated over for 60-65 minutes (use your judgment here) until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.