The only good thing to say about sugar is that it is ALWAYS sweet. The list of downsides, however, is unfortunatley a long one.
White refined sugar contains calories, yet NO nutrients, NO vitamins, NO minerals – just energy. Too much sugar in the diet affects your hormones and the brain, and increase the risk of becoming overweight and getting diseases. The body breaks down refined sugar rapidly, causing insulin (the hormone that allows you’re body to use sugar) and blood sugar levels to sky rocket – and because refined sugar is digested quickly, you won’t feel this ‘rush’ until after you’ve finished eating – no matter how many calories you consume.
For some, the sugar craving can become an addiction – almost as a drug. This is because sugar causes a release of dopamin (a chemical found in the brain that affects you’re emotions, movements, and sensation of pleasure and pain). An unnatural flood of dopamine, caused by a stimulant like sugar, results in the brain receptors becoming overwhelmed and means that they will eventually respond by producing LESS dopamine.
Sugar is found in a lot of our daily foods, from dairy to fresh fruit – and a little will not do you any harm. However, if you find yourself experiencing sugar cravings regularly or if you feel out of control around sweet foods, then its worth taking a closer look at your diet. Most importantly, look out for the added refined sugar in cake, candy, sodas, and processed foods.
However, most of us like a little sweet fix, so why not try out these great date and almond treats! They won’t have your sugar levels going crazy AND they have the added bonus of providing you with some healthy nutrients.
DATE AND ALMOND TREATS.
Dates, especially dried ones, are a lovely sweet and satisfying food, thanks to their NATURAL sugar and fibre content. The fibre moderates the speed at which the sugar is released, so dates make a good food for snacks and for eating both before and after exercise. Furthermore dates are highly nutritious, they are a great source of iron, useful for anyone who suffer from fatigue or anaemia, their beata- carotene levels help maintain healthy skin, and the potassium in dates help regulate blood pressure.
DATE AND ALMOND TREATS
75 g dried Medjool dates, stone removed
30 g dried figs
25 g raisins
20 g coconut flakes
20 g rolled oats
30 g raw almonds
2 to 3 tbsp cold water
raw cacao powder
Remove the stones from the dates and cut the dried fruits into smal pieces.
In a food processer combine dates, figs, raisins, coconut flakes, oats and almonds and pulse to combine, add the cold water and pulse again.
Shape the mixture into small balls and toss in the cacao powder.
Store the date and almond treats in an airtight container in the refrigerator.