Yesterday, I was trying to find a sweet potato cake recipe without sugar, because I assumed, since sweet potatoes are sweet, why is there need to add extra sugar, right? Wrong! I was so wrong, because almost every single recipe I found required at least one cup of sugar. See an example here.
The endless quest to find a healthy sugar substitute
It’s interesting that many of us including myself try so hard to find a sugar substitute like agave nectar or stevia plant that we call natural sweeteners, yet forget that sugar came from a plant as well. It’s as if the sugar’s unhealthy name makes us believe it was made from plastic or fell from some alienated universe to harm us! I remember at a young age, I loved eating sugar cane. They were like giant logs and you chew the middle and suck out the sweet taste. I often wonder, how is doing that differently to eating any other fruit in the world?
Why is sugar so unhealthy? I think if we eat it at its natural state, it’s probably the same as eating watermelon. But since we process the sugar, strip away all the nutrients, then use an excessive amount in all our desserts, that’s what really makes sugar unhealthy. So can we really say that natural sweeteners are so much healthier?
I love to believe that there’s a sweetener out there that won’t affect our health, but let me tell you: Even eating too much fruits can be bad for your teeth! That goes to show that sugar should be eaten in moderation, whether it’s natural or processed.
Our bodies are made to be able to take in a regulated, small amount of sugar. When have we ever had problems eating a small bowl of fruits each day? Even with my rotten, sensitive teeth, fruits like that has never affected me. However, when I start eating five packets of dried fruit without added sugar, then there’s a big problem. I immediately start getting sensitive teeth.
But cake is a once a year Special Treat!
People may argue that because cakes are a once a year treat for birthdays and other similar celebratory event, we can indulge ourselves.
In a way, the concept sounds almost funny when you think about it this way: So you become one year older just to treat yourself to something that makes you age faster?
Is there really a need to make this cake so fattening, when we can still indulge in a cake that’s much healthier?
Also, we should question ourselves why we celebrate holidays like Halloween letting our kids get a giant fill of candy. Why do we do that? It’s possible to enjoy days like this without trying to fatten ourselves with so much sugar and fat.
Honestly, is there a need to make our desserts so sweet?
I feel that what we really need to do is learn to live on less sugar. Not banning it altogether, but keep it as natural as possible (such as use food that’s naturally sweet rather than add sugar. If you can bake a cake with pumpkin or sweet potatoes, go for it! Use that instead of sugar. If you are baking a banana bread, adding a couple of bananas should be sweet enough, so there really isn’t any need to add an extra packets of sweeteners or a cup of sugar.
The problem is, people often add sugar when in fact, it tastes fine without it. So often, I’ve went to restaurants and the food just feels as if it’s saturated with sugar. It can even be too strong for me!
We can adapt easily without that much sugar. Though it may be strange or hard at first, but you may just find that a little bit of sweetness is enough, and that there’s no need for full fledged sugary treats when you can make it with far less sugar and still enjoy the sweet taste.
Check out my recipe for a sugar free delicious sweet potato dessert.
Click to read how to control a food addiction.