Soet Soos Suiker // Sweet Solutions

sugars

 

Soet Soos Suiker

(Scroll down for English version)

ʼn Toename in suiker-verwante siektes wêreldwyd het onlangs gelei tot ‘n groeiende bewustheid by die publiek oor die nadelige gevolge wat ʼn oormaat verfynde suiker op ons gesondheid en lewensverwagting kan hê. In 2014 is daar berig dat Suid-Afrika offisieel die vetste nasie in Afrika suid van die Sahara is, met ‘n geskatte 1 uit 4 mense wat oorgewig is of ly aan vetsug. Hartsiektes, kanker en Tipe 2-diabetes is alles siektes wat verbind word met ʼn hoë inname van suiker in die dieet. Volgens die Sentrum vir Siektebeheer en -Voorkoming, het vetsug onder kinders die afgelope 30jaar meer as verdubbel terwyl dit onder jong volwassenes meer as vier maal toegeneem het. Regerings- en gesondheidsowerhede is tot so ʼn mate bekommerd oor hierdie reuse toename in lewensbedreigende leefstylsiektes, dat sommige dit oorweeg en ander reeds begin het om ‘n nasionale ‘suikerbelasting’ te implementeer. Dit is soortgelyk aan ander ‘sonde-belastings’ soos dié wat gehef word op sigarette en alkohol en het ten doel om nie net die verbruik van suiker te beperk nie, maar om die publiek en veral die jeug op te voed oor die gevare wat oormatige suiker in die dieet inhou.

Die goeie nuus is dat daar wel ʼn verskeidenheid gesonde natuurlike versoeters beskikbaar is. Dit is dalk nie wenslik om te veel van enige iets – insluitend versoeters – te eet nie, maar ons palette is nou maar eenmaal lief vir soet smake. En aangesien daar nou alternatiewe beskikbaar is wat net so goed smaak, maar sonder die nadele van verfynde rietsuiker, is dit wel moontlik om soetigheid in te sluit by jou dieet sonder om in te boet op jou gesondheid.

Stevia is ʼn versoeter wat gemaak word van die steviaplant en is 200 keer soeter as suiker, maar sonder die kalorieë. Sommige mense beskou dit steeds as ʼn kunsmatige produk omdat dit hoogs verwerk is. (As jy bekommerd is oor die raffineringsproses, kan jy dit altyd oorweeg om ʼn steviaplantjie in jou kruietuin aan te hou en die blare dan gebruik om jou tee of drankies mee te versoet!)

Studies wat met suiwer stevia gedoen is, het bevind dat dit nie bloedsuikervlakke verhoog of bydra tot tandbederf nie. Daar is nog nie onomwonde bewys dat stevia moontlike voordele inhou vir insulienweerstandigheid of diabetes nie, maar die voorlopige uitslae van navorsing wat hieroor gedoen is lyk baie belowend. Een negatiewe aspek van stevia is dat sommige mense ʼn nasmaak ervaar wat moeilik kan wees om aan gewoond te raak.

In gebak kan mens stevia as ʼn plaasvervanger gebruik vir suiker, maar die hoeveelheid wat gebruik word sal baie minder wees, aangesien dit baie soeter is. Dit sal ook dan weer ʼn invloed hê op die volume van die beslag, wat sal beteken dat jy die suiker met ʼn ander bestanddeel moet aanvul. Stevia is beskikbaar as ʼn poeier, tablet en in vloeibare vorm. Omdat dit so gekonsentreerd is, kom mens baie ver met selfs ʼn klein bietjie.

Xylitol is ‘n natuurlike stof wat in vrugte en groente voorkom en ook vervaardig word deur ons liggame. Dit is omtrent ewe soet as suiker, maar bevat ʼn fraksie van die kalorieë, het ‘n lae glisemiese indeks en feitlik geen nasmaak nie. Dit verhoed boonop tandbederf en help om boonste lugweg-infeksies te voorkom.

Xylitol word geklassifiseer as ‘n suiker alkohol en kan vervaardig word uit baie verskillende plantprodukte, maar word hoofsaaklik verkry uit mieliestronke en die bas van bome. Oormatige gebruik van xylitol veroorsaak egter spysverteringsprobleme wat insluit abdominale ongemak of selfs diarree.

Xylitol lyk soos suiker en kan gebruik word soos suiker in gebak en ander disse. Alhoewel dit nie so soet is soos suiker nie, word die smaak en tekstuur van gebak nie geaffekteer soos met ander versoeters nie. Om ekstra soetheid te gee kan ‘n paar druppels vloeibare stevia bygevoeg word.

Erythritol is ook ‘n alkohol suiker, maar met selfs minder kalorieë as xylitol – 0,2 kalorieë in vergelyking met xylitol se nege per teelepel. Dit is nie so soet soos xylitol nie – sowat 20% minder soet as suiker – en het ‘n ‘skoon’ smaak in vergelyking met ander versoeters. As gevolg erythritol se unieke chemiese struktuur, word dit glad nie deur die liggaam geabsorbeer nie en beweeg onveranderd deur die spysverteringstelsel. Gevolglik veroorsaak dit nie winderigheid en krampe soos dikwels die geval is met ander alkohol suikers nie. Dit het ook geen effek op bloedsuiker- of insulienvlakke nie en het nie ʼn negatiewe uitwerking op trigliseried- of LDL cholesteroltellings nie, wat dit een van die gesondste beskikbare plaasvervangers vir suiker maak.

Soos met xylitol, kan erythritol in gebak en ander disse gebruik word en kan ekstra stevia bygevoeg word om ʼn soeter smaak te gee. Dit affekteer nie die tekstuur van kos nie, maar los wel ʼn bietjie stadiger op as suiker.

Kokosneut-suiker, heuning en melasse

Kokosneutprodukte is deesdae baie gewild en kokosneut-suiker het ook onlangs hul verskyning op winkelrakke begin maak. In vergelyking met wit verfynde tafelsuiker, bevat klappersuiker klein hoeveelhede minerale en spoorelemente, asook inulien, ‘n tipe onoplosbare vesel wat voordelig is vir die spysverteringstelsel en bloedsuikervlakke. Die persentasie fruktose in kokosneutsuiker is ook laer as in gewone suiker en dit het ‘n laer glisemiese indeks, wat beteken dat dit ʼn effe beter opsie is vir mense wat ly aan insulien weerstandigheid. In die breë gesien is kokosneutsuiker, soos heuning en melasse, dalk gesonder as gewone wit suiker omdat dit klein hoeveelhede voedingstowwe bevat, maar dit moet steeds baie spaarsamig gebruik word en is nie veilig vir diabete nie.

 

Sweet Solutions

 

The rise in sugar related illnesses worldwide has led to a growing consciousness about the negative impact of sugar on health and mortality levels. In 2014, South Africa was reported to be the fattest nation in Sub Saharan Africa, with an estimated 1 out of 4 people deemed obese. Heart disease, Cancer and Type 2 diabetes are all common diseases linked with the high consumption of sugar. According to the Centre for Disease control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years, which have alarmed governments and health authorities to such an extent that some are considering and others have already implemented a sugar tax. Similar to other “sin” taxes such as those levied on cigarettes and alcohol, the proposed taxation of sugar aims to not only curb sugar consumption, but to use funding in the education of the public and especially the youth on the dangers of eating sugar.

The good news is that healthy natural sweeteners do exist. While it is not recommend that you eat any sweetener in high amounts, the sweet taste is a natural part of our diets and having alternatives available which taste as good but without the drawbacks of refined cane sugar is a wonderful way to improve your health and manage weight problems and diabetes.

Stevia is a calorie-free extract from the stevia plant that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. But even though it is derived from a plant, some consider it artificial because it is still highly refined. (If you are concerned about the refining process, consider growing a stevia plant in your garden and using the leaves to sweeten your tea or drinks.)

In tests, pure stevia extract has been found to have no effect on blood glucose levels and it does not contribute to tooth decay either. Studies that have attempted to show that stevia can improve insulin sensitivity and benefit diabetes have not been conclusive to date but do show some promise. On the down side, some people note an aftertaste with stevia that might take some getting used to.

It can replace sugar in baking, but the amount of stevia you use will be different from sugar as it is much sweeter but doesn’t have the bulk. You will have to make up for lost ingredient volume by adjusting your recipe with other bulking ingredients.

Stevia is available in powder, tablet and liquid form. As it is so concentrated, a little really does go a long way.

Xylitol is a natural substance found in fruits and vegetables and is also naturally produced in our bodies. Taste-wise, it is almost as sweet as sugar, but it has 40 percent fewer calories, a low glycemic index and practically no aftertaste. As an added bonus, it also prevents tooth decay and helps to fight upper respiratory infections.

Xylitol is classified as a sugar alcohol and can be made from many different things, but it is primarily extracted from corncobs and the bark of hardwoods. If consumed in excessive quantities, it may for this reason cause gastro-intestinal discomfort or diarrhoea.

Xylitol looks like sugar and can be used like sugar in baking. Although it is not as sweet as sugar, it does not affect the taste or texture of baked goods like other sweeteners. For extra sweetness, a few drops of stevia liquid can be added to the batter.

Erythritol is also a sugar alcohol, but has the calorie advantage over xylitol—0.2 calories compared with xylitol’s nine calories per teaspoon. It is not as sweet as xylitol – only 20% less sweet than sugar and has a ‘clean’ taste compared to other sweeteners. Due to its unique chemical structure, it passes through the digestive system unchanged and does not cause some of the digestive issues associated with other sugar alcohols. When healthy people are given erythritol, there is no change in their blood sugar or insulin levels. There is also no effect on cholesterol or triglycerides, making it one of the healthiest sugar replacements available.

As with xylitol, erythritol can be used like sugar in baking with extra stevia added to increase sweetness where desired. It does not affect the texture or taste of products, although it is a bit slower to dissolve than sugar.

Coconut sugar, honey and molasses

With all things coconut becoming popular lately, coconut sugar has also become more readily available. Compared to white refined table sugar, coconut sugar does contain small amounts of minerals and trace element, as well as inulin, a type of insoluble fibre which is beneficial to digestive health. It reportedly also contains less fructose than normal table sugar and has a lower glycemic index, meaning it does not affect blood sugar levels as radically as regular sugar. Overall, coconut sugar, like honey and molasses, contain some trace nutrients which make them a slightly healthier alternative to table sugar but should still be used sparingly.