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This month we look at ways food can harm or benefit the body, including artificial sweeteners (are they really any better than sugar?), diet and hyperactivity; the many wonders of a plant-based diet; and the goodness that comes with a handful of almonds.
Do Artificial Sweeteners Influence Blood Sugar?
Artificial sweeteners are among the most commonly used food additives worldwide and, thanks to their low calorie content, they are considered safe and beneficial. But are they really a healthy alternative to sugar?
It’s got to be better than sugar…right?
Years of research have taught us that a high intake of sugar is linked to a whole range of health woes, from tooth decay to diabetes. This is why artificial sweeteners such as Equal and Splenda have come about as an alternative sugar replacement designed to give you that sweet hit without raising blood glucose or increasing your waistline. But research published in the journal Nature casts some doubt on this idea! The findings suggest that artificial sweeteners, like saccharin, sucralose and aspartame, might be triggering a blood glucose response and contributing to the very conditions (diabetes and obesity) that they were designed to help.
While further evidence is required to pin-point the precise cause of this blood sugar response, it appears that artificial sweeteners may disrupt the microbiota (bacteria) living in your gut, impacting the blood sugar response and increasing the risk of diabetes. Though past studies have found no health risks with these products, others suggest links with obesity and even cancer. And this latest research adds a new and intriguing dimension to the debate of artificial sweeteners.
Low- or no-calorie sweeteners have also been linked to weight gain. This may be because the ultra sweet taste tricks your tastebuds into thinking you have eaten, which can boost appetite and create a desire for additional calories. A regular use of sweeteners could just be the very cause of your sweet tooth...
The two scientists involved in this new study, Segal and Elinav, insisted that their findings were preliminary and shouldn’t be taken as a recommendation to avoid artificial sweeteners. However, we would still recommend caution!
Artificial sweeteners have been associated with a number of adverse effects, including mood disorders, pain and preterm birth.
If you are looking to avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners, there are many wholefoods available which provide a source of phytonutrients and have a lower glycaemic index (GI) than ordinary sugar.
Top 4 healthy sweet alternatives:
- Dried fruit: figs or medjool dates are especially great if you’re looking for that sweet kick and it is all natural sugar from fruit! Try freezing your dates so they have a beautiful toffee mouth feel.
- Honey: an ancient sweetener with medicinal properties. Be sure to pick up a good quality honey to ensure phytonutrient benefits – think manuka, yellow box, iron bark or beechworthy.
- Maple syrup: produced from boiling the sap of sugar maple trees to concentrate it into viscous amber syrup with a uniquely sweet flavour. A pure maple syrup is best as it retains the most vitamins and minerals, including manganese, zinc, iron and calcium.
- Agave syrup: used by the Aztecs in Central America to treat wounds because of its antibacterial properties, agave syrup (or nectar) is produced from the sap of that Mexican cactus. It has a particularly low GI as it contains predominately fructose. While popular among raw foodies, this one can be pricey!
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.” - Irish Proverb
What’s Cooking? – Food as Medicine: Cooking for Your Best Health
Are your meals healing or harming you?
The latest research shows 80% of chronic diseases can be prevented.
A plant-based dietary pattern can help you better manage existing conditions, even reversing some! Your body has a remarkable capacity to heal itself, much faster and more effectively than previously thought.
Learn what’s possible and taste the delicious foods that can help with conditions ranging from asthma and MS to macular degeneration and depression.
Meet Sue Radd, the Founding Director of the Nutrition and Wellbeing Clinic and author of award winning book “Food as Medicine”. And ask her all your difficult nutrition questions!
When: Tuesday, 7th March 2017, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Where: Nutrition and Wellbeing Clinic, Castle Hill (Sydney)
Learn more about our cookshops
Enjoy a delicious four-course tasting meal, recipes and handouts!
Call NOW on (02) 9899 5208 to book your place. You won’t want to miss this one. Cookshops with Sue Radd fill fast!
Food Matters with Sue Radd – Healthy not Hyper Kids
Is food partly to blame for the epidemic of hyperactive and ADD kids? Experts suggest there are gains to be made from making some dietary changes.
Recipe – Peach & Passionfruit Shake
This shake is a great way to have a nutritious, phytonutrient-rich liquid breakfast when you are in a hurry. It’s also high in fibre to help keep you regular and a delicious way to enjoy the last of this season’s summer fruit!
Food InFocus – Almonds are Awesome and so Good for You!
Watch Sue Radd talk through the very many benefits a handful of almonds can provide, from heart health and brain health to weight loss and longevity.
Service Review – Youeni Foodstore
Location: 2/250 Old Northern Rd, Castle Hill NSW 2154 (near Dan Murphys)
Also newly opened location at 352 Bourke Street, Surry Hills, NSW
Ambience: This hidden gem has a wholefood, industrial kitchen vibe. Dining is available inside and out as well as prime window seating and upstairs tables with a view of the entire café. A hipster heaven!
Service: Staff are friendly, down-to-earth and always happy to have a chat. The service is quite prompt and adds to the relaxing dining atmosphere.
Youeni’s philosophy: “to enjoy and revel in all the good things that life has to offer. You know - the whole package”.
Food: The Youeni team provides wholesome food with a focus on raw and plant-based ingredients. Some highlights from their menu include the Life Extending Bowl (a bowl filled with a mix of chickpeas, roasted pumpkin, black beans and cauliflower with house made cashew relish and turmeric) as well as the Porridgy Porridgy Porridge (quinoa and oats cooked with a salted date sauce, topped with almonds and coconut).
A great feature of the menu is its flexibility. All items can be adjusted and there are add-ons available. The menu is also food-intolerance friendly. Many of their dishes are gluten-free and suitable for FODMAP diets.
Cost: approximately ranging from $4 - $30 (depending on your order).
Slightly more expensive than your typical café, however when considering the quality of ingredients, its good value for money.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
A fantastic little wholefood café that is convenient for locals of the Hills District. The coffee is beautiful and the dessert display at the counter is not to be missed! Take care not to overindulge in Youeni’s Vegan Muesli Cookies or Salted Caramel Chocolate Tarts as even healthier treats can be high in calories.